Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka gets a job and passes the bar exam


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lowering The Standards

Articles like this make my blood boil.

Thanks to vigorous recruiting and pressure from corporate clients, black lawyers are well represented now among new associates at the nation’s most prestigious law firms. But they remain far less likely to stay at the firms or to make partner than their white counterparts.

A recent study says grades help explain the gap. To ensure diversity among new associates, the study found, elite law firms hire minority lawyers with, on average, much lower grades than white ones. That may, the study says, set them up to fail....

...The new study proposes an explanation. It found that the pool of black lawyers with excellent law-school grades is so small that firms must relax their standards if they are to have new associates who resemble the pool of new lawyers.

Professor Sander found that very few blacks graduated from top-30 law schools with high grades....

...The story for black students appears to be different. Black students, who make up 1 to 2 percent of students with high grades (meaning a grade point average in the top half of the class) make up 8 percent of corporate law firm hires, Professor Sander found. “Blacks are far more likely to be working at large firms than are other new lawyers with similar credentials,” he said.

So basically law firms are hiring underqualified candidates all in the name of "diversity". God I hope hospitals aren't doing the same thing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Serious Joke, Part II

James Taranto has been collecting and publishing responses to Charlie Rangel's denigration of the military by military members and their families. See here, and here. They all refute his main assumption that people only join the military because they have no other career options.

Here are two of my favorite so far:

I am an Army sergeant who just returned from Iraq this past week. I myself enlisted within weeks of 9/11 and shipped out within days of graduating from the University of Texas four long years ago. In the time since, I've served in the infantry in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and spent many a patrol or mountain climb alongside some of the greatest men our country has to offer. Better men, I may add, than any of the ones I spent my carefree college years with. And in many ways, smarter too.

Charlie Rangel may think us too stupid to shine his shoes, but he wouldn't last five minutes in our chosen profession, physically or intellectually.

I am a former Navy pediatrician. I went to medical school on a Navy scholarship and was on active duty for five years. I served stateside during Gulf War I. I did my internship and residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was taught by many very fine doctors, all active duty. I was stationed at three different Navy hospitals and met hundreds and hundreds of military personnel, most of them enlisted.

All I can say is: Mr. Rangel, you're an idiot.

Romney And Mormonism

I don't normally read Slate, but this is an important read for Romney supporters like me out there. John Dickerson writes that Romney should start talking about his religion, and real soon. He's got to get the metaphorical 600 pound gorilla out of the way if he's got a shot at securing the GOP nomination.

I initially didn't think his religion would cause problems, but turns out, Americans aren't exactly the greatest fans of Mormons. But Dickerson cites a Rasmussen poll that shows that 43 percent of respondents and 51 percent of evangelicals wouldn't vote for a Mormon candidate. That's pretty rough stuff, and Romney has his work cut out for him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Many Shots Are Too Much? (Part II)

In an editorial today, the NY Times, like everyone else, is focusing on the number of shot fired. They write: "One [police officer] emptied his gun, a 9mm semiautomatic, reloaded and emptied it again, accounting for 31 rounds." Of course they fail to mention that you can fire 31 shots in a matter of seconds.

They also note that "Police rules mandate that an officer pause after firing three rounds to assess the situation. If the shooters had followed procedures, they might have seen there was no threat before it was too late." I've never heard of that regulation before, but even if it's true, I'm not sure why it's relevant. All it takes is one shot to the head or chest and you're a deadman. 3 unjustified shots are 3 too many, and there is no limit on the number of shots in a justified shooting. You keep shooting until the threat has been neutralized.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How Many Shots Are Too Much?

I'm extremely puzzled as to the reaction by citizens and officials to Saturday's groom shooting.
Everyone seems to be focused on the number of shots fired. I'm not sure that this is at all relevant. What if only one shot was fired and the guy was killed? Would it be any less of a tragedy? OTOH, if it turns out that the shooting was justified, who cares how many shots were fired? It only takes a few seconds to empty a 9mm semi-automatic, and a second or two reload. Multiply that by 5 officers, and in 20 seconds you a can easily have 50 shots fired.

So I really don't understand it when Bloomberg says "I can tell you that it is to me unacceptable or inexplicable how you can have 50-odd shots fired...", I can't take him seriously. My guess is he's just trying to placate Sharpton, and seems to be doing a decent job doing it.

Unless Sharpton or anyone else has proof that the cops deliberately were targeting the guy, let's all shut-up and wait for the investigation. Calling for Police Commissioner Kelley to step down is just stupid.

A Serious Joke

Looks like Charlie Rangel does an even better impersonation of John Kerry than John Kerry.

"If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq," Mr. Rangel, a Democrat representing Manhattan and Queens, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"If there's anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment," the congressman said.

Hat tip- BOTW

Quote Of The Day

"Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else's resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property."

-Milton Friedman

The Minimum Wage

Gary Becker and Richard Posner rip apart the the minimum wage. Nice.

Money quotes:

Becker: A recent petition by over 600 economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates in Economics, advocated a phased-in rise in the federal minimum wage to a much higher $7.25 per hour from the present $5.15 per hour. This petition received much attention, and the number of economists signing is impressive (and depressing). Still, the American Economic Association has over 20,000 members, and I suspect that a clear majority of these members would have refused to sign that petition if they had been asked. They believe, as I do, that the negative effects of a higher minimum wage would outweigh any positive effects. That is one reason I would surmise why only a fraction of the 35 living economists who received the Nobel Prize signed on to the petition--I believe all were asked to sign.

Posner: Although working full time at $5.15 an hour yields an annual income (slightly more than $10,000) barely above the poverty line, most minimum-wage workers are part time, and for the majority of them their minimum-wage employment supplements an income derived from other sources. Examples of such workers are retirees living on social security or private pensions who want to
get out of the house part of the day and earn some pin money, stay-at-home spouses who want to supplement their full-time spouse's earnings, teenagers working after school, and other students. An increase in the minimum wage--depending critically of course on how great the increase is--will provide a windfall to some minimum-wage workers, many of whom are not poor, and disemploy some others, also not poor. The effect on wage equality is likely to be slight, but consumer prices will be higher (which may reduce overall equality) and the efficiency with which goods and services are produced by low-wage workers will be reduced.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Shidduch Story

What’s wrong with this story?

The phone rings, and the mother of a daughter in shidduchim answers. A shadchan on the other end of the line tells the mother that a certain bachur is interested in going out her daughter, but he wanted to know a bit more information.

“So what does your daughter do”?

“She’s an elementary school teacher in Bais Yaakov”.

Silence at the other end of the line.

The shadchan then asks, “Well, then how does she plan on supporting someone for 5-10 years on a teacher’s salary?

The mother is puzzled. “I’m sorry?”

“Well she’s not an
OT, PT, or ST, so what’s the plan?

Mother is on the defensive. “I’m sorry, but that she always wanted to do, she always wanted to be a teacher.”

“But how does she plan to support someone for 5-10 years?

“Well we’re willing to help out, but no one is signing up for a 10 year commitment!”

The shadchan then proceeds to explain that her own daughter has 4 kids under the age of 5, works all day as an OT/PT/ST to support her husband, and was miserable doing it, but this is what all the girls are signing up for. The shadchan then says that she did it as well, though admitting that it was a relief when her husband finally started working part-time, so that she no longer had to be the sole breadwinner in the family.

Long pause.

Mother finally says, “So you want me to sign my daughter up for this? Why?“

The shadchan replies, “This is what everyone is doing”

Mother has enough and says “Can I call you back?”

The ironic part of the story is that if this wonderful bochur who wants to be supported for 5-10 years was even frumer, then he would have been glad to hear that the girl was a teacher, and not, chas v’shalom, a OT/PT/ST. (Which would mean that his prospective bride to be would have been college and university educated). It seems that the ulta-ultra frum “learning boys” don’t want to be supported by their wives, but rather by their fathers-in-laws. Ess pas nisht (it’s not appropriate) for a frum girl to get a secular education.

The sad part of the story is that you have a shadchan admitting that the kollel lifestyle makes wives completly misererable. She seen it in herself and her own daughter. Yet she's more than willing to help spread the the misery to others, as if being being miserable in your marriage is a laudable goal.

Jews And Thanksgiving, Yet Again

Once again I offer the simplest, most practical reason as to why many Jews don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

Like I said last year, it's not because of religious issues, it's because Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday. And who on earth wants to sit down and eat a giant Thanksgiving turkey dinner, when less than 24 hours later, you're going to be sitting down and eating the Friday night Shabbos meal, which in many Jewish homes is even larger than your typical Thanksgiving feast?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DovBear Ranks The Presidents? Hah!

DovBear is a decent guy. Sure I argue with him about pretty much anything he writes, but when it comes to political issues, reasonable minds may differ.

But after reading what he wrote yesterday, I’m starting to question his ability to think rationally. After writing that Clinton should be ranked in the top 10, maybe even in the top 5 of American Presidents he then followed up that comment with his actual rankings of the top 10 and bottom 5. Here they are and try not to laugh:

My top 10



My bottom 5 are
his father

Clinton is #6, and Reagan doesn’t even make the top 10? Both Bush 41 and 43 are in the bottom five? Ignore for the moment that it is impossible to rank a sitting President. Bush 43 will ultimately be judged on how Iraq turns out, and there are years left before we can pass final judgment on it. But Bush 41 is the 4th worst President ever? Please. He sure wasn’t a great President, but ranking among the worst ever pretty much confirms that you are a partisan hack wholly incapable of reasonable thought and analysis. DovBear ranking Clinton at #6 only further strengthens my point. Clinton was an ok President, and a great politician. But we’re ranking Presidents, not politicians.

And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete with a little appeal to authority. C-SPAN did the rankings with some historians based on numerous different factors. Reagan was ranked 11, Bush 41 was ranked 20 and Clinton was ranked 21. That makes a lot more sense than DovBear’s laughable attempt to deify Clinton.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stupid Comment Of The Day

DovBear on Bill Clinton:

Ok, how about greatest president ever? He's certainly top 10, and maybe top 5. W, on the other hand is the worst aside for his father, Harding and Buchanan.

In fact this might qualify for stupidest comment of the year on the J-Blogs, and there have been plenty. More on this tomorrow.

Funniest Search Term

Every so often a search result that is so weird links to my blog. I'm still scratching my head over this one. What on earth was this guy searching for?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

R' Slifkin...

...on why intelligent Design is not worth a bucket of warm spit.

Money quote:

Evolution is simply a description of a biological process by which the complexities of the animal and plant kingdoms came about. It is no more necessarily godless than physics, which explains how the complexities of planets and their motion came about, or political history, which explains how the State of Israel came about.

Milton Friedman On The Welfare State

Someone over at Volokh Conspiracy provided this link to an incredible interview of Milton Friedman. If you've got some time to spare, watch it. It's amazing.

As I was watching the interview, I was marveling at the tone of the interview. No yelling, no insults, just good intellectual discussion. Why can't we have stuff like this anymore?


For The Good Of The Party Or The Good Of The Nation?

As a Republican, I'd love for John "Withdraw To Okinawa" Murtha to be named majority leader. But as an American, I know we'll be much better off with Steny Hoyer.

I hope Hoyer wins.


Hoyer wins, sanity prevails.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Funny Law School Story Of The Day

In class today, the professor was discussing notice provisions in an LLC operating agreement. Then he related a humorous incident- he was representing a partnership that was formed eons ago. A situation arose where notice had to be given ASAP. Problem was, according to partnership agreement, notice could be given via three methods: Registered mail, teletype, or telegram.

Registered mail was too slow, teletype machines haven't been used in decades, and Western Union finally stopped its telegram service last year. After some searching, he finally found some small business in Florida that still sends telegrams. But he still sent and e-mail notifying the partners that the telegram was coming.

At this point a student raises his hand and asks- "I don't want to sound stupid but, what's a telegram"?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Big Surprise

The 9th Circuit is reversed, yet again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The End Of The Matter; All Has Been Heard...

...“All told, the Republicans deserved the electoral drubbing they received. Democrats will now have to prove they deserved the majority that GOP failure has handed them.”

- Wall Street Journal Editorial

Election 2006 Recap

Here are my final thoughts on Tuesday's election:

  1. Ouch
  2. Ouch
  3. Ouch
  4. Ouch
  5. Ouch
  6. Ouch
  7. Ouch
  8. Ouch
  9. Ouch
  10. Ouch

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Something To Savor...

James Taranto points out that yesterday wasn't a total wipeout...

Here's one result we can gloat about: The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative passed overwhelmingly, 58% to 42% by the latest count. The MCRI bans "affirmative action"--that is, discrimination on the basis of race and sex--in public higher education and government contracting. Victory in Michigan is especially sweet, since it was in a case involving the University of Michigan that the U.S. Supreme Court said some discrimination is acceptable, at least until 2028, as long as the university isn't too honest about it. Anyway, just to be cruel, we'll quote from the DiversityInc report:

Michigan voted to ban affirmative action, 58 percent to 42 percent, with the majority of votes coming from white male conservatives, based on exit polls. Both men and women of color strongly opposed the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), but lacking representation in the electorate diluted the power of their

You've got to love that turgid, self-pitying prose: "lacking representation in the electorate diluted the power of their votes." That's the same thing that happened to Republicans all across the country. It's called democracy, baby.

South Dakota Abortion Ban Fails

NARAL is hailing this defeat as a victory and a validation of Roe
Here's a quota from NARAL- "This is a wake-up call to lawmakers in other states that America's pro-choice majority will not allow an assault on Roe v. Wade to go unanswered."
A few points.
  1. This wasn't about Roe per se, this was about South Dakota's desire to prohibit abortions.  But the law was too restrictive, so it was shot down.  Democracy works.

  2. If there's a pro-choice majority in this country, why do we even need Roe?  Ignore the fact that Roe is a legal travesty.  Focus on policy.  Roe fans say that we need it to protect against the tyranny of the majority.  But if pro-choicers are in the majority, who exactly are we protecting? 

  3. South Dakota showed us what would happen if Roe is ever repealed.  People from both sides debated the merits, and then the voters decided.  Democracy works. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


CNN has already projected Ben Cardin the winner in Maryland, yet Michael Steele is leading 51% to 47% with 45% precincts reporting.

This is why I don't look at polls or projections. Only the raw numbers mean anything.


OK...looking at the county by county numbers, it's clear that Cardin is doing much better than Steele in most of the most populous counties. That probably explains the early prediction.

Just In Case...

The NY Times is already preparing for the possibility that that the Dems don’t take the House and Senate.  

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I Never Believe Polls

Based on the most current polls, the Democrats are almost surely going to take control of the House, and have a decent shot at the Senate as well.

I'm not going to make any predictions how I think it will play out in the hand, but if the Dems to take the House, I'm not going to sit shiva. But if they take the Senate, ouch.

But I don't trust polls, and I wouldn't be completely shocked if the GOP manages to hang on to the House.

The problem with polls is that what people say and what they do are often quite different. As long as polls are administered by human beings, people's answers are going to be affected by that. Often people will give the answer that they think the pollster wants to hear.

The classic, oft-cited example is the 1989 New York mayoral election between Rudy Giuliani (white) and David Dinkens (black). Before the election, polls showed Dinkens trashing Guiliani, but in the end Dinkens won by only a couple of points. In the book Freakonomics, Steven Levitt writes that people told pollsters that they were going to vote for Dinkins because they wanted to appear to be more color-blind that they actually are.

Another example Levitt gives is David Duke's Senate run in 1990. Duke did significantly better in the election than in the earlier polls. Who is going to admit to a pollster that they are going to vote for a KKK Grand Wizard?

I believe the same is true today. It's cool to bash Republicans. They're on the defensive. It seems like the politically correct thing to say to a pollster is that you're going to vote for the Democrats. But when no one is looking, and no one knows, plenty of people who said they would vote one way will actually vote other way.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chasidim Gone Wild, Part III

Why can't Charedim in Israel ever protest peacefully? I really don't understand it. Yes, I know they don't like having a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. So make a Kiddush Hashem and just march and protest without throwing stones or lighting garbage cans on fire.

Do You Know What The Israeli And Palestinian Peoples Actually Want?

So asks a flyer posted on a bulletin board in school today. The flyer was for on-campus event hosted by OneVoice, an Israeli-Palestinian group that I had not heard of until today. From a brief glance at their website, it's not a group I'm running to join.

But back to the question asked by the flyer. How exactly do you know what a nation's people want?

One of the most reliable ways to look at how a nation votes.

In the last Israeli elections the party that got the most votes was committed to withdrawing from the vast majority of the West Bank.

In the last Palestinian elections, the party that got the most votes was committed to the destruction of Israel.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Not Funny, Not Funny At All, Senator Kerry

I'm going to give the benefit of doubt to Kerry and believe him that when he said "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You get stuck in Iraq", what he really meant to say was I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

What he said was a horrible insult to all U.S. military personel. What he wanted to say was a horrible insult to the President. Not nearly as bad as insulting everyone in the military, but pretty bad nontheless. Not exactly a joke becoming of a Senator, no matter how much you dislike the man.