In re: International Joint Ventures

So this week is a busy one as I am taking a one week long class on international joint ventures. This is the second one credit, one week long course I’ve signed up for (I mentioned last semester Int’l M&A) the classes are part of a series that OSU Law started this year called the distinguished practioner in residence (see the website for the courses and teachers). I think that this has been a great idea (dare I say one that I wouldn’t expect our school to offer?). The classes give an opportunity here from practioners, who aren’t law professors, which can bring a different perspective and also the subject matter, given that it is only one week, is very narrow and specific, which I enjoy. An additional perk is that these professors seem to bring along some interesting folks ontop of their own interesting stories. Today we had a French attorney come into class and helped teach us about French corporate entitites and their usage in international joint ventures. The only downside of taking the class is that I was at school today for a little over twelve hours, but I guess thats what you get for going into law. So lets hope that the series can continue.

While I should be getting to work on some reading tommorow, I turned on the TV (oops) and I came across a show on kitchen gadgets, which is unfortunatly keeping my attention, so hopefully I can turn it off and get reading my tax assignment for tommorow!


In re: Today on the docket

Today the Supreme Court is going to be hearing an important case regarding campaign financing in Vermont (also today is the Anna Nicole Smith probate case). Vermont spent a lot of time researching, debating and passing election laws that greatly restrict campaign donations (to $400) as well as spending limits for campaigns (governor was $300,000, other positions are less) (see Vermont Guide to Campaign Finance Law).

Anyway, there are a number of arguments against such laws, including the First Ammendment issue. I haven’t really had time to wrap my head around this, but generally ignoring any first amendment issues (suprisingly easy for me to do sometimes..) I am a huge proponent of such election reforms, in the UK they recieve their paltry election income from the government, and everyone is thus leveled and free from the US special interests.

The other issue is that our government must spend a lot of time fund raising. Of course, do we want to be providing fringe candidates with government money and giving them a soapbox? Well, free speech? who knows what would happen, but I like the Vermont laws generally, and as the NPR report this morning mentioned, in deciding on the limits Vermonters actually felt the $400 was a pretty high amount (a few weeks of grocerys they said), and we should also remember this is Vermont, not California, so running an election and getting your ‘free speech’ really doesn’t cost that much. So while I want to read up more on the issue, I feel that I’ll be firmly on the side of Vermont, although it seems likely that the court won’t be.

See article in Burlington Free Press , also check out the Election Law @ Mortiz site, posts on this subject.

In re: Blogging for credit?

Yup, interesting really I thought. There is a 3L here at OSU Law who is doing an independent study/research in which his ‘product’ is his blog (3L Epiphany, not sure exactly what that name means). It seems like he is just starting it this semester, so it will be interesting to see what comes from this. He has made some claims to how revolutionary this is, and it might be, but I personally am not sure if it really such a big leap forward. Either way, it seems that he has been putting up a lot of content, more then I can keep up with. He also seems pretty interested in the locations of people who visit his site, which is interesting in how quickly one can get their ideas out there as if he published in paper no one would be reading it likely, so it definatly shows the power for someone to get their thoughts out there. His blog is pretty different from mine, as you can guess no one would give me credit for this hodge-podge, but his isn’t really a personal blog, although he has put some info on him, about his sickness etc. which made me wonder where the line should be drawn, should a purly academic blog acknowledge the life of the author? Clearly law review articles don’t, but its interesting sometimes to know such things.

Also on the subject of blogging you may remember I mentioned that my IP & Internet class has a blog (Ip & Internet blog), where we have been posting, and I am not sure yet what to think of the results. In many ways its been good (although i don’t like the font of it) but I guess it hasn’t had as many ‘intense’ discussions as one might have hoped. Now that we are working on paper presentations people have posted their topics and it has proved a good way to put feedback and questions. I guess my only complaint would be that the framework is limited in some ways and that if we could use more sophisticated setup that allowed for say a different layout might increase its ease of reading. (having random posts in between paper topics can be a bit confusing or at least annoying)

In re: A Freshman at Yale

“I could have ended up in Guantánamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale.”

This comes from a great story called “The Freshman” that I recommend in this mornings NY Times magazine about a former Taliban member who is now at Yale. It is interesting for a number of reasons, one was just hearing about the life of someone working for the Taliban in Afghanistan and how he got wrapped up in that and having to travel the world working for them defending some of their practices. The other part that is fascinating is hearing the story of how he ended up as a freshman at Yale.

(See the story in NYTimes Magazine here)

In re: South of the border

So just another food update from a few days ago when I made goat cheese and cheddar quesadilla. Originally they were looking a tad plain so I started making some pico de gallo, just using simply a diced tomato, some diced onion, some lime zest and lime juice and diced jalapeño with the seeds removed as I wasn’t in the mood for hot, and some diced parsley, and some grey salt and some pepper. The taste was clean and simple and went perfectly with the quesadilla.

In re: Downfall

So I might have been out of the loop again, but I hadn’t heard of the movie Der Untergang (Downfall) til recently, a 3 hour long ‘epic’ of sorts about the events leading to end of Hitler’s Nazi regime in his Berlin bunker. The movie (in German) is quite good, although certain scenes can be fairly disturbing as one can suspect (such as the murder of Goebbels children by their mother). The movie is based on two books that concern the same subject and are written based off of accounts by one of Hitler’s secretaries who was in the Bunker up until his suicide. Also the movie begins and ends with a clip from an interview with her as an old woman (she died a few years ago).
Anyway, one of the reasons I found the movie compelling was to try and learn how people were able to follow Hitler until the very end, even when they were facing imminent defeat. This, as well as seeing an amazing portrayl of Hitler, a man who is epitomized as the ultimate evil and some would likely criticize anything that made him out to be human. Trust me that seeing him petting his dog doesn’t make one forget the millions he killed, not to mention the portrayl of his contempt at the German people for failing him and allowing civilians to keep on dying even when defeat was certain. So while it is long, and the German might put some off, I’d recommend it.

In re: Hardcore Homeless

I first heard about this last week on NPR (listen to story here) on an interview with New Yorker author Malcolm Gladwell. The story he had just written and was discussing concerned what could be described as the hardcore homeless, those who are chronically often for years living in shelters, aggressively panhandling and abusing alcohol and drugs and very often disabled or mentally ill. The interesting part is that this is actually a small percentage of the homeless, as most homeless folks are only so for a few days. However, these chronically homeless, while only a small percentage of the homeless population, apparently they cost society quite a lot.

Culhane estimates that in New York at least sixty-two million dollars was being spent annually to shelter just those twenty-five hundred hard-core homeless.

Further and even more expensive are the routine emergency room visits that occur as these homeless are often found so drunk that they have hit their heads and require emergency surgery or pneumonia from the cold. To top it off though, after an expensive hospital stay that may cost well over $50,000 they are back on the streets again, only to have the whole cycle repeat. The argument that is put forth is that it isn’t that we aren’t spending money on these folks on the streets already, but we are spending too much. Instead of the craziness that is going on right now, we could spend much less by giving them free apartments, case workers and keeping track of them. In fact trial runs have had phenomenal success, and while the working mom with three kids might ask why we aren’t giving her free apartments, we can at least argue that we are saving money by doing this, freeing up money for programs that may help her. So I recommend checking out the New Yorker “Million Dollar Murray” an article by Gladwell. (see here)