FENNO: The morning after

BY

“Hey Fenno, it’s Jonas.”

Fenno looked at his clock alarm.

“Jonas, Christ, it’s like 3:30 a.m.,” Fenno said.

“Yeah, sorry, we had gallon-of-milk-and-a-hogshead-of-cheese-night at the Inn,” Jonas explained. “Holy dairy product overload.”

“Sure, I can understand that,” Fenno lied. “What do you want?”

“Hey, you were at Ames tonight, right?” Jonas asked.

“Yeah. Why?” Fenno answered.

“Do you think you could interview the Gunther team for The RECORD?”

“Oh, I don’t know Jonas,” Fenno replied.

“C’mon. It doesn’t have to be that long. Just a thousand words,” Jonas implored.

“All right. Fine. Last favor.”

“Last favor,” Jonas agreed.

Fenno woke to the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post” playing on his alarm. He was exhausted. Why can’t I be deaf? Fenno said to God. God smiled mischievously and walked out to get coffee and a newspaper.

Ever the faithful columnist, Fenno showered, dressed, and headed to campus to interview the team. Fenno tried to recall how things had developed. Let’s see, he thought….

First, Kelly Smith read something from a piece of paper. Then Rick Coe walked in and made some incredibly loud remarks. A bunch of Law Review kids talked to two old white men and a black lady in bathrobes for a little over an hour. Rick picked up his loud remarks where he’d left off from before. The bathrobed visitors walked away. People applauded the Law Review kids for talking. More Law Review kids came up to the talking Law Review kids. They talked. Kelly came back to the microphone and said something that made everyone sit down. Rick made yet more incredibly loud remarks. These loud remarks made the bathrobe clique come back. They sat down and congratulated themselves for coming. Something, something, and Greg Lipper won Ames.

That’s what you get for believing that intramural football really means anything, Fenno thought. What’s next: Men aren’t really from Mars and women aren’t really from Venus? Fenno made a note to give God a good talking to when they met for drinks at Westside Lounge that night.

Fenno figured that maybe if that’s all that had happened in the Ames Competition, it wasn’t much worth doing the interview. But he knew he at least owed the teams the courtesy of telling them so in person. He knocked on the door of Gannett House. The door creaked open slowly and ominously. Bert Huang stood in the hallway. “Come in, Fenno,” Bert said. “We’ve been expecting you.” He began to cackle softly.

Fenno interrupted Bert before the latter could throw his head back to cackle any louder. “Hi, Bert. Thanks. Um, I’m not really doing the Halloween or monster-movie theme anymore.”

“Oh.” A look of disappointment flashed across Bert’s face and as quickly disappeared. “Well, come in anyway.” Fenno entered and followed him up the stairs.

Fenno ascended to the second floor where he encountered the Gunther team still whoopin’ and hollerin’. They were wet from spraying white grape juice all over each other. From the look of things, Fenno could tell that there had been many pats on the butt throughout the course of the night. The butt-patting had started during the obligatory “good game, good game,” low-fiving session between the teams at the end of the Competition. Butt-patting can quickly get out of hand. This was another reason to skip the interview.

Fenno cleared his throat: “Congratulations, you guys. I just wanted to let you know that because I was at the Competition last night, it won’t be necessary to do any lengthy wrap-up here. So if Erin Bernstein, the staff photographer, could just take a picture of a file cabinet real quick, the story should be all wrapped up. Don’t want to take any time away from your celebrating.” (Erin found her subject. “I want to take a picture of the file cabinet from the side, with the third drawer open.” She raised her camera. “No, closed.” “What’s the caption?” asked Fenno. “Does it matter?” Erin answered.)

Josh Solomon spoke up for the team: “Thanks, Fenno, we appreciate that.” Or maybe Josh didn’t speak for all of them after all, as halfway down the stairs, Fenno felt a hand on his elbow. It was Louis Tompros. Norina Edelman stood next to him. “Fenno, you don’t have the whole story,” Louis started, speaking quickly and in hushed tones. “Our Ames case, Morales v. Gallows, was just the byproduct of a much larger project, two years in the making.” Fenno became a little more interested. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll write that in for you.” Fenno turned back around to go.

“No, no, no, you don’t understand,” Norina sputtered. “The Ames competition was just an outgrowth of our initial conception of a language called ‘Amesish.’ It’s spoken by people called Amesh.”

“You mean ‘Amish,’” Fenno corrected her. “With the buggies.”

“No ‘Amesh,’” Norina returned.

“Is this conversation spoken or written?” Fenno asked.

“It’s of no importance,” Louis cut in. “To continue, we developed a whole language, which grew into a system of social connections; a constitution, government, political parties, a revenue-collection system; public primary and secondary schools; a state university system complete with honor codes, rules for tenure, financial aid, public grants; banking regulations; building codes; antidiscrimination laws. This housing case was inevitable. Ames is real.” Louis’s eyes lit up with a greenish glint. “Oh, and, and, you should read the follow-up we wrote for those interested in learning even more about the land of Ames: the Amesmarillion.”

“Of course, then you’ll want to read Unfinished Briefs,” Norina added. “It explains how the Amesh first came to Ames, but were thwarted by the Dark Lord and —”

“I get it, I get it,” Fenno said. “I’ll work that in. Thanks. I think I should leave now.”

Fleeing Gannett House, Fenno ran into the Austin basement en route to his locker. There at the iMacs was Gloves Girl and Bald Austin Basement Study Guy. They were wearing gloves and hairlessly studying in an awkwardly public location (HSAPL), respectively. They didn’t notice Fenno.

“I’m not too worried about finals,” Gloves Girl was saying. “I’m part Vulcan.”

“Really?” answered Bald Austin Basement Study Guy. “So am I.”

“That is optimal for exam preparation, to be Vulcan,” said Gloves Girl.

“I’m also part Romulan,” Study Guy added. Gloves Girl seemed to be intrigued by that.

“That might be suboptimal,” she said. “Who do you think would win in a fight between Worf and Commander Riker?”

“I’m not sure. That’s a really good question,” Study Guy replied, furrowing his brow meaningfully.

“Why do you study down here?” Gloves Girl asked.

“It gives me a sense of knowing that I’m studying while being seen studying by others, who clearly must appreciate the fact that it’s me, here, studying,” was Study Guy’s answer. Fenno moved on.

That night, Fenno crawled into bed and promptly slipped into a coma when —

“Hey Fenno, it’s Jonas.”

Fenno looked at his clock alarm.

“Jonas, it’s four in the morning,” Fenno said.

“Yeah, sorry, we had g
allon-of-milk-and-a-hogshead-of-cheese night at the Inn,” Jonas explained. “Holy dairy product overload.”

“I thought that was last night.”

“It’s every night.”

“Fine, what is it?” Fenno demanded.

“Listen, I just had this crazy idea I wanted to run by you.”

“Okay.” Fenno prepared to fall back asleep.

“I wanted to see if maybe you could write ‘Fenno’ next semester,” said Jonas. “The person who’s doing it now might not be able to do it next semester. Something about third-year pro bono requirement.”

“Jonas, there is no third-year pro bono requirement.”

“Then why do all the 3Ls keep offering to water my plants, do my laundry, walk my girlfriend home from school, and smiling at me and wishing me good luck?” Jonas asked.

“Because they’re bored to death, Jonas. They’re probably smiling at the person behind you. Maybe they’re just surprised to see you awake during the day, and wishing you luck curing your vampire kick. As for the girlfriend thing, you’ll just have to figure that one out on your own.” Fenno began counting to 100 to try to fall back to sleep.

“Well what to do you think about writing ‘Fenno’?” Jonas asked again. “I mean it makes perfect sense: You’re Fenno, and no one would ever think that Fenno was writing ‘Fenno.’ It would be too obvious. It’s brilliant.”

“Don’t you think that would be a little weird?” Fenno answered. “I mean, not just for The RECORD, but like, for my sanity.” Fenno tensed up a bit as he imagined the walls of his room closing in on him like an existential trash compactor.

“Jonas, I’m not Luke Skywalker or Chewbacca,” Fenno blurted.

“What?” Jonas rejoined.

“Sorry, I was starting to drift off,” Fenno said.

“Well?”

“Jonas, first of all, this conversation is really creepy. You’re starting to worry me. Fenno is not a real person. Second —”

“I know, I know, I just thought. . . Wait. Who is this?”

Fenno hung up.

The phone rang again.

“What?” Fenno yelled.

“Well, could you at least write the ‘Letters from Berkeley’ column?”

“That makes no sense.” Fenno hung up again, fell asleep, did not dream.

RECORD Editorial: HLS needs harassment policy alternatives

BY

One week after the Harvard Business School administration threatened its student newspaper editor with sanctions over a “deeply hurtful” comment in a cartoon, the Law School is confronted with its own free speech conundrum.

The mission of the recently-formed Committee on Healthy Diversity is to improve the racial climate on campus and promote more positive interaction. So far, the Committee has taken some admirable steps, including the Diversity Festival and the “Difficult Conversations” workshops.

Criticism of the “Difficult Conversations” workshops, in national papers such as The Wall Street Journal, is wrongheaded. The workshops are not radical thought reprogramming, nor is their mission worthless. While critics say that the Law School should expect its students to speak and interact like adults, last year’s racial incidents clearly indicate that some students here need help.

However, the Committee’s proposed “racial harassment policy” will not further its mission. Such policies, historically, have been grossly ineffective, instead spurring inappropriate and disturbing prosecutions such as the infamous “water buffalo” incident at the University of Pennsylvania. Here at HLS, the result might be no different. As Dean Robert Clark himself has asked, is a harassment code worth that risk?

Prof. Martha Field argues that although the type of speech the code might prohibit could not be limited by the government, HLS should take steps to restrict speech that might be offensive and hurtful, especially if part of a larger pattern of harassment. Yet it seems that a professional school which, by its nature, trains its graduates to perform primarily outside of academia would not want to impose false constructs and standards that do not exist in “the real world.”

The BLSA leadership argues that the harassment policy is not a “speech code,” but instead a method of preventing larger patterns of discrimination. But what does the policy really prevent? If physical threats are at issue, ample rules are in place to deal with them. Even Field’s contemplated example – of a student following around another student shouting racial epithets – would run up against current regulations. An additional harassment policy, one which lacked the physical/action component of the sexual harassment guidelines, could only serve to restrict offensive types of speech, and would likely be infeasible as well.

While we deplore the behavior of the students involved in last spring’s controversy, freedom entails both the freedom to outrage and to be outraged. The mission of the Law School, rather than silencing disturbing or inappropriate speech, should be to subject that speech to light of truth. Truth is arrived at through discourse, through debate and through reason. Mechanical rules restricting speech cannot change the irrational and hurtful beliefs behind it.

The problem with community standards codes was made clear by the recent controversy at the Business School. There, a fuzzy rule designed to promote a “mutual respect” was used to silence a student newspaper. Thus far, proponents of a harassment policy at HLS have been unable to articulate any clear guidelines for delineating between harassment and speech – the same problem the Business School code has.

It seems unthinkable that HLS students would want to live under a harassment code regime that could punish them for even mild criticism of the administration. It is even more inconceivable that one of the groups advocating such a code has also been one of the administration’s most outspoken critics, going so far as to hold public demonstrations on the Law School campus.

Harvard Law School is already a rarified atmosphere, insulated from many of the troubles of the real world. Racial discrimination and bigotry are pernicious evils felt here and elsewhere. They will not be eradicated by keeping them in the dark. What Harvard Law School can do to fight racial harassment is to do what it does best: foster an environment open to the widest range of perspectives possible, where all speech – even inappropriate or offensive – can be heard.

Israel and Palestine: A narrative response

BY DAVID PEYMAN

In last week’s RECORD, Donovan Rinker-Morris ignorantly reinforces the stereotype that Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip “intimidate and beat people.” Morris also equates Jews in the West Bank with White settlers who occupied Native American land. Perhaps after reading-up on his history, Rinker-Morris will realize that Jews lived in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza since at least the second century C.E., , before they were massacred and expelled by Palestinians in the pogroms of the 1840s, the Arab massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron in 1929, the Arab revolt of 1936-39, the Jewish massacres during the Holocaust (under the direction of the Palestinian leader and Hitler collaborator Haj Amin Al-Husseini), and the expulsion and extermination of the Jews from the West Bank and Gaza by invading Arab armies in 1948-1949.

If children returning to the homes of parents who were massacred and expelled are “settlers,” then that term should be glorified. As to Rinker-Morris’ contention that “settlers” intimidate and beat, perhaps this narrative by “settler” Moshe Saperstein will illuminate the reality of who the real murderers are and what the “settlers” deal with on a daily basis:

I had been hearing reports of attacks around the country. I had planned to drive to Ashkelon to do some shopping the following day, but the reports, combined with a bad case of cabin fever, put me on my high horse. I started declaiming on the “Zionist imperative” of getting in the car and going for a ride. Thus do the stupid get into trouble.

I got into the car, lit a cigar, turned the music up, and set off. My headlights picked up a car that seemed to have stopped at the side of the road. I thought this unusual, as no one stops on this road unless they are forced to. I slowed up as I approached the vehicle, intending to help.

Just as I drew abreast of it, I was hit by a burst from an AK-47. The shooter must have been hiding in dark on the other side of the road. Two bullets hit me in the hand and one in the leg.

My car rolled for a few yards and stopped. I looked at what remained of my hand. My palm had been blown away.

Unbeknownst to me, an army jeep with an officer and a driver was a few hundred yards behind. They raced to the scene, pulled up behind me and came out of their vehicle. They ran towards me. One of them said, “We’ll protect you.” There was a burst of gunfire and they both fell alongside my car. The shooter then appeared from the darkness.

He was wearing a Palestinian Police uniform. He walked up to the two soldiers laying on the ground. He paused to look at me. We stared at each other. He turned from me and proceeded to shoot each of the downed soldiers in the head.

He turned back to me. He was standing in front of my car, caught in my headlights. He held a hand grenade in one hand and his AK-47 in the other. With an elegance and nonchalance that would do credit to Saladin and his other forbearers, he flipped the hand grenade at me. It hit the roof of the car directly above my head, made a dull noise and rolled off the back of the car without exploding. He raised the AK-47 and aimed at me. Filled with fury and frustration, I pressed my good foot on the gas pedal. The car shot forward at him.

He was surprised but agile, and was able to move fast enough so that I did not get him dead center. I had merely given him a glancing blow, which knocked him off balance. He bounced off the guard rail, picked himself up and calmly walked to the side of the car. I suspect that I had succeeded in really pissing him off because what he should have done was to go back into the darkness and wait for his next victim. Instead, he stood in the roadway, exposed, determined to finish me off. He raised the AK-47 again.

He was apparently so intent on me that he hadn’t heard other jeeps driving up. A soldier had opened fire and wounded him. Another grenade he was carrying exploded on him, finishing him off. The soldier who wounded him was injured by the explosion. I am amazed that I, who was even closer than the soldier had been, received no further injury.

Four soldiers, in full battle dress, crouched near my car to protect me. Except for the excruciating pain in my leg, all I felt was embarrassment that these children were putting themselves on the line for me.

It wasn’t until a day or two later than I learned that the car at the side of the road contained the body of a beautiful 30-year-old mother of two.

Letters: Abortion, Stem Cells, and the GOP

BY

Students argue for abortion refunds

As usual, we found Greg Lipper’s column both witty and thought-provoking (“Choose HLS, get mail-in rebate!” The RECORD, Nov. 14). We heartily agree with his call for increased charitable giving to the poor, and with his assessment of the abortion debate as implicating “core value judgments” that admit of no easy resolution.

However, we believe he does his side of that debate a disservice by suggesting that abortion is a positive gift or blessing to many fetuses, especially those who would be born into poverty and sorrow (“a suffering infant… just might have benefited” from being aborted). The abortion issue is difficult and divisive because it requires a balancing of competing incommensurable goods: the autonomy of a woman faced with a wrenching moral decision on one hand, and the intrinsic value of a new, unique, developing human organism on the other. By suggesting that the latter value is generally the more fundamental, we have no intention of denigrating or devaluing the former.

Greg’s suggestion that the being and life of young children in poverty is not intrinsically valuable, but is a positive evil to themselves and to others, strikes us as unnecessarily radical – analogous to the equally unconscionable argument that a woman’s freedom and dignity should be accorded no weight in abortion policy.

Like freedom and dignity, life is a fundamental value. The continued being and life of an infant, even one suffering in poverty, participates in the same goodness and beauty, the same freedom and dignity, as the lives of other human beings. We agree with Greg that poverty burdens this goodness and dignity, but we disagree that even the most extreme poverty can ever extinguish it.

Every group is free to petition the University to refund mandatory fees used for purposes it finds morally objectionable. One reason the Society for Law, Life and Religion’s petition has succeeded is that so many members of the University community share a deep discomfort with mandatory fee subsidies for elective abortions – as indicated by the increasingly enthusiastic responses to the abortion opt-out program every year.

– John Sauer, 2L

Terrific Tapas

BY ERIC CZEPYHA

Cambridge could use a little fun, don’t you agree? Enter Cuchi Cuchi. The restaurant is fun from beginning to end — its name is fun to say, its ambiance screams “fun,” its drinks are fun to sample, and its entrees are fun to share. Given that, in my humble opinion, maximizing your “fun quotient” (to steal a term from Professor Randall Kennedy) should be the ultimate goal of any first date, I particularly implore the dating-scene folks to keep this place in mind.

Cuchi Cuchi’s setting can be described as something akin to a 1940s garage sale for the well-to-do — sounds odd, but somehow the owners have managed to pull it off. Antique chandeliers of all varieties hang in the dining room, while splendid stained glass windows light the equally colorful selection of liquors behind Cuchi Cuchi’s forty-foot bar.

Speaking of the bar, despite its emphasis on fun, Cuchi Cuchi takes its cocktails very seriously. The cocktail menu is divided into “Signature Cocktails” (all $9), “Vintage Cocktails” (all $9) and “Bottoms Up” (original Cuchi shots, all $6). The vintage list consists of a handful of the old standbys (sidecar, rob roy, mai tai, etc.). The list is also educational (for those of you who just can’t get enough education), adding a little blurb of history next to each drink (For instance, did you know that the gimlet originated in the British Navy when troops combined rations of gin and lemon to curtail scurvy? Think about that the next time you order one of those).

The signature list is reason alone to drop by this place on a Saturday night (or on a Monday through Sunday night if you’re a 3L). All signatures are made with fresh herbs and fruit. That’s right: If, for example, you order the sour apple martini, the bartender literally stands in front of you and crushes green apples and ice into a big glass. This freshness combined with a touch of creativity makes for a wonderfully tasty drink menu.

My dinner companion (who proceeded to drink me under the table) and I made it our job to sample as many signatures as possible. The winner in the frozen drink category would have to be the “Getting Layered,” a tropical sensation of Brazilian rum and mango puree. If you are looking for a twist on the classic julep, try the “Cuchi Julep” — Toru Orange vodka blended with lime, mint leaves and orange slices. For the sweet tooth, I suggest the “Dirty Little Secret,” a successful blend of Godiva White Chocolate liqueur and Stoli Vanilla vodka. Cuchi Cuchi also has six variations on the standard martini, each using a different fresh fruit, the most curious (and yet pleasant) of which is the strawberry basil martini.

Much like its décor, Cuchi Cuchi’s entrees are boldly eclectic. The menu consists of a respectable selection of “international” tapas. Restaurants that endeavor to present a selection of foods from a variety of cultures are always taking a chance at screwing up royally (e.g., Lexington, Kentucky’s International Buffet 2000 — a complete nightmare). Nevertheless, Cuchi Cuchi holds its own. Making our way around the globe, my companion and I sampled six different tapas (the number our waiter suggested, which seemed to be just enough to fill us up). Some of the more notable items included the mussels Thessalonica (a satisfying bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels bathed in a roasted red pepper and white wine sauce, $8), the Norwegian grilled salmon with red and white horseradish sauce (I’ve had better salmon, but the interaction of the red and white sauces was interesting, $8), the Brazilian pork braised in bacon and served with crimson lentil salad ($8), and the peculiar and yet delicious tuna carpaccio and salmon tartare (resting atop a colorful blend of couscous, banana and watermelon, $8).

Leaving (a little) room for dessert, I took a stab at the cornucopia pizzelle cone filled w/ fresh fruit, fruit kissel and whipped cream ($7), which proves a tangy treat for those who don’t get their fill of fresh fruit off of the martini menu. More rewarding were the homemade truffles ($7.50), consisting of champagne, orange, jasmine and rich dark chocolate varieties. I managed to wash all of this down with a “Bottoms Up” shot of “Mènage a Trois,” a smooth and creamy combination of Stoli Vanilla vodka, crème de cacao and Godiva Dark Chocolate.

Whether you are in the mood for a few drinks that are a cut above the typical Cambridge concoctions, need a place to celebrate someone’s birthday, or are looking to show your date a fun time, give Cuchi Cuchi a shot. Besides, where else in Cambridge can you experience a “Brazilian Wax,” “Menage a Trois,” and a “Dirty Little Secret” under thirty dollars?


 

Getting there:

Cuchi Cuchi

795 Main Street

617.864.2929

www.cuchicuchi.cc

5:30PM-11PM (Bar until 12:30)

Advocates for Education revived

BY CLINTON DICK

Brooke Abola (L) and Brooke Richie (R).

Only a few years ago, Harvard Law School students interested in educational issues in the law had almost nowhere to go. No specific outreach program provided students with an opportunity to work in related educational community activities, and few classes were dedicated to law and education. But when 2L Brooke Richie (who did a joint degree at the Kennedy School) and 3L Brooke Abola arrived in 2000, the problem started to be solved.

“I got here and realized there were no outreach programs that combined education, law and policy,” Richie commented. “Over the course of our 1L year, [Abola] and I started to talk about forming a group that could dedicate itself to education issues, bring interested people together, and work to get classes that focus on education, law and policy.”

The result of their vision was a restructured and revitalized Advocates for Education, a then-defunct group which now boasts 60 members. The group’s primary mission is to become a nucleus of education and law information, especially as it relates to internships, speaker events and community outreach programs.

“Many people feel like when they get here, because they don’t have a channel to pursue educational issues, they may have to put those interests on hold,” Richie observed. “We want to provide students with the resources so they feel like they have options,” she stated.

Additionally, both students said they hope to use the organization to provide legal services to educational institutions. Among the current possibilities is a clinical program that would allow students to serve as educational advocates in administrative hearings.

Members of Advocates for Education also put together an annual symposium on educational issues. Last year’s seminar, “Children on the Fringes,” examined how the traditional functions of education were inadequate for the needs of homeless and foster children, as well as those in juvenile detention. Participants in the symposium discussed how traditional educators, since they assume that children have both a home and at least one parent, construct a system whereby students can best function only when those criteria are met.

Participants also looked at how children in juvenile detention are oftentimes placed in holding while the Department of Youth Services (DYS) waits for beds to become available.

“While they are either in holding or in DYS,” Abola said, “these children do not get an equivalent educational experience.”

This year’s symposium, which is tentatively scheduled for April, will focus on the “No Child Left Behind” legislation signed by President Bush last January. “We aim to focus on the way the legislation fails to deal with children with special needs, as well as the reasonableness of teacher qualifications,” Richie said.

Although both students stressed that Advocates for Education is a non-partisan group, it does have an interest in providing information on educational issues during elections. This year’s critical issue was Proposition 2, a ballot initiative in Massachusetts designed to immerse non-native speakers of English in English-only programs.

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the issue, not take a stand either way,” Abola said. However, Abola added that based on her teaching experience in Oakland, CA, after a similar proposition was passed, little changed because parents had the choice to opt out of the program.

Both students also praised the work of Prof. Martha Minow, who is serving as faculty advisor for the organization.

“I have great hopes that the group will simultaneously help to meet a real need among elementary and secondary school students for advocacy and a real chance for law students to gain experience and even potentially meet the pro bono requirement,” Minow said of the group.

A different kind of choice

BY LEA SEVCIK

Why does real choice so often annoy pro-choicers? It is always interesting to witness the reactions on campus to the Society for Law, Life and Religion’s annual rebate program of health service fees that fund elective abortions. The Harkbox drive usually sparks a series of angry editorials and offensive emails, and last year even motivated some students to steal the completed rebate forms.

This year, the irritation has surfaced in last week’s opinion column by Greg Lipper, who expends several hundred words mocking the rebate program and the intentions of those who organize it.

Lipper’s first attack is easily refuted. He argues that pro-lifers are hypocritical because, if they were really concerned with saving lives, they would drop out of school and use their tuition money for “feeding starving orphans.” The rebate campaign, he maintains, is thus a dishonest attempt at ‘feel-good’ social activism by students who have actually embraced selfish materialism along with everyone else. Indeed, Lipper seems to take pride in his tolerance of unethical “resource allocation” as a courageous recognition of “life’s complexities.”

Lipper’s objection could be applied to almost any social action at HLS. By his logic, if the students at HL Central really cared about poor families, they would not limit themselves to a Thanksgiving turkey drive but would drop out of school and donate their tuition money to Boston’s struggling families. The absurdity of is readily apparent.

While one way of helping the poor is certainly to sell all belongings and work in a shelter, there are many other ways to pursue social justice. One of these is to become a lawyer, judge or politician who can exert influence on the future shape of our society. This is surely the hope of many of the participants in SLLR’s rebate program, who remain convinced that their voices matter, and who are dedicated enough to certain values and ideals that they take the time to engage even in a symbolic expression of their beliefs to the administration.

Yet Lipper also raises a serious question on which reasonable people can disagree. Should students be able to opt out of funding decisions made by the administration? After all, such a policy could lead to an untenable “cafeteria” tuition plan where nit-picky individual choices could paralyze effective governance.

The issue reminds me of cases where students have claimed a First Amendment right to prevent their public school tuition payments from funding student groups with which they disagree. Two years ago, the Supreme Court held in Board of Regents v. Southworth that a public university may in fact use mandatory student fees to fund such groups, as long as the funds are disbursed in a viewpoint neutral manner — that is, if the university funds all groups that comply with certain objective criteria.

If public schools can use our funds to support causes we dislike, then private schools can certainly do so. As a private institution, Harvard has no obligation to be viewpoint neutral in funding student groups or health services, and it could refuse to give SLLR participants their tiny symbolic refund of health service fees. Yale did exactly that last year, when it extended prescription coverage to the “abortion pill” RU-846, and refused a refund to Yale students for the portion of their mandatory health service fees used to cover the drug.

I am sympathetic to the “parade of horrors” argument that if we allow a refund for abortion funding, then we will have to allow a refund for every quirky belief. However, I disagree. Abortion funding is unlike most other issues on which students may have diverse opinions, because few other practices so immediately involve students in what they may believe to be outright, cold murder.

What other issue could cause the astonishing range of negative emotions that some people seem to experience at receiving one sheet of paper in their Harkboxes which they can simply throw away? Abortion is an issue that many people prefer not to think about, and their comfortable escapism is momentarily pierced when they see the word “abortion” next to the picture of a cute baby. For some students, the paper is also surely the reminder of a very unfortunate and painful personal choice.

Thus, Lipper would doubtless be happier if the university refused to even acknowledge through a refund program that abortion may be considered an unparalleled horror by some of his classmates. Yet I for one am glad to belong to a university that does not require me violate my most deeply held moral beliefs.

Lipper’s column may be found at:
http://www.hlrecord.org/news/322842.html

Letters from Berkeley: The final analysis

BY COLLEEN CHEN

As I near the end of my semester at Boalt, I thought it would be a good time to evaluate my experiences here as compared to life at HLS. I’ve been asked quite often by professors and fellow students if I like it better at Boalt or HLS, and what the differences are. My response has generally been positive towards my current situation, although that doesn’t say a lot considering I tend to validate the choices I make.

What I really like about Boalt: The classes are tiny, and the professors are incredibly accessible and friendly with the students. These two factors create intimate, warm and very interactive classes, where people talk because they are passionate and engaged.

I don’t encounter very much of the near-frightening brilliance of many HLS students, but then again, I also don’t encounter a lot of the emotional and other hangups, or the weird competitiveness, that often comes with that sort of brilliance. I have also encountered a lot less apathy at Boalt — at least a couple of my classes are full of activists embroiled in political situations. There are also a lot more women at Boalt, which really changes the communication dynamic in the classroom, and there are a lot more people who’ve taken time off before going to law school. Both of these have been refreshing to me, as a woman and as a person who has taken time off. I’ve also gotten a lot of permission to explore some very unconventional paper topics in my classes, and in presentations no one’s even batted an eyelid when I’ve shared my views — instead they have been met with enthusiasm and genuine interest.

I have experienced a lighter workload at Boalt, and much more blackletter law as opposed to the “thinking like a lawyer” kind of training HLS offers. One of my professors last week was talking about Harvard students failing the bar because “other schools teach answers, Harvard only teaches questions.” This dynamic could be seen as a benefit or a disadvantage, depending on what one individually wants from a legal education. I’ve enjoyed it as a change — it’s allowed me to live an active life outside of school, which I think is good training for my post-law-school career (which I don’t want to dominate my life either).

Weather? Berkeley wins hands down. Food? Much easier to eat healthy here, and the eats are cheaper and of a bigger variety. Drink of choice for law students? Here, everyone brings water bottles to class. At HLS, everyone has a big Starbucks coffee. San Fran versus Boston? What can I say except — Massholes!

On the other side, there are things to dislike about Boalt, too. The major thing that’s been glaringly evident is that this law school is much poorer than Harvard. There are fewer fancy dinners and freebies from firms. The career services office is nothing like what HLS provides in terms of resources and sheer coddling. The swimming pools here have restricted hours and at least five people per lane at any given time; at the gym, I have to wait a half-hour to an hour to use the elliptical machine. The rooms at Boalt are old, dirty, ugly, smelly and have limited electrical outlets, which results in students having to bring in power strips to share available outlets. The chairs are incredibly uncomfortable and often broken, making me realize how little I appreciated the plush seating at HLS. I won’t get started about the bathrooms, and the library here is such an eyesore compared to Langdell, I haven’t even gone in yet.

The professors at Harvard have a star quality to them that makes it worthwhile to take their classes even if they’re too busy to have lunch with you. At HLS, nearly every professor I’ve had a class with has blown me away with the sheer brilliance of their minds and the charisma of their presentation. The hierarchy and elitism and the intimidation game perpetuated by the atmosphere at HLS is worth learning from. And of course, there are some pretty awesome students at HLS too.

I found being in Cambridge and at Harvard incredibly intellectually stimulating and fast-paced, but rather emotionally cold. That context allowed me to really focus on some things I wanted to do and learn in those two years. Here, I cry a lot more, I have more trouble thinking, but this space allows me to focus on some other issues I want to work on. Yes, it’s all so perfectly synchronicitous!

My short answer to the question about whether I like Boalt better than Harvard is that I don’t know or really care. I’m glad to be where I am and in this context, and that seems to be enough.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street

BY ALLISON WHITE

“You’ve been screwed. You’ve been bludgeoned, skewered, crushed, mutilated by the stock market. …. You think the stock market must have been rigged. And you’re right.”

To hear that these days is hardly original. But hearing it from a man who’s dedicated to getting you back into the market, to beat the hell out of the market — that’s original. Of course, if you’re a regular listener or reader of James Cramer (HLS ’84), you know better than to be surprised.

Cramer — who claims to have spent his HLS years ignoring class and rehabbing the portfolios of Profs. Fried and Nesson, among others — is a busy man. Besides writing books, he is the centerpiece of TheStreet.com, hosts a daily radio show and co-hosts a nightly CNBC news analysis hour. He returned to HLS Tuesday to discuss his memoir, “Confessions of a Street Addict”; but while that book is retrospective, his current tome, “You Got Screwed! – Why Wall Street Tanked and How You Can Prosper”, offers prospective advice for the investing classes.

Just over 100 pages, the book barely matches up to a Duncan Kennedy vehicle – but what it lacks in size it makes up in accessibility and fire-branded enthusiasm. Still enraged at the actions of Jack Grubman and the rest of Wall Street’s johnny-con-latelys, Cramer spends three-quarters of the book reviewing what went wrong – the familiar litany of “Investment banks hungry for deal work forced analysts to trump up the stocks of prospective clients, whose execs played shady with the books, thanks to the aid of ‘auditors’ who did more consulting than auditing, all under the nose of boards of directors that were too distracted/ignorant/complicit/corrupt to blow the whistle.”

Still, Cramer’s treatment of history comprises an efficient summary for investors who aren’t black-fingered Wall Street Journal readers or manic-depressive CNBC addicts.

The core of “Screwed,” though, is Cramer’s advice to those re-entering the market. His overarching commandment is get diversified. Cramer, who dedicates every Wednesday’s radio show to a game show style call-in, “Am I Diversified?”, repeats this mantra for the benefit of those who sank all of their 401(k)s into the stock of their employers — and watched as collapse eviscerated net income and nest egg alike.

He also reviews the fundamentals of financial literacy. Eschewing “buy-and-hold,” he endorses what he calls “buy-and-homework”: Invest in value companies but never get complacent. He highlights the importance of dividends and the role of cash and bonds in the well-diversified portfolio. All very characteristic of Cramer’s playbook – as essential to rookies as it is familiar to his regular audience.

A second, equally-compelling take on investing is former SEC chief Arthur Levitt’s “Take On The Street.” Levitt offers the perspective of a long-time regulator in lengthy reviews of his attempted Wall Street reforms throughout the 1990s (much of which was stifled, allegedly, by GOP congressmen (and a few Dems) in the pocket of Big Finance). Levitt spends more much time detailing the inner workings of Wall Street exchanges, tracking a trade from the mouth of the investor, through the broker, into The Market — to highlight for the reader the importance of timing (and the compounding effect of fees and “rebate” kickbacks) in choosing investment vehicles. Like Cramer, he also cites the importance of diversification, and — HLSers! — the necessity of starting early — in your twenties, if possible. He finishes his book with an appendix of letters from congressmen who stifled his SEC reform efforts, and a letter from Enron CEO Ken Lay touting the company’s relationship with Arthur Andersen.

Levitt’s book reads like the memoir of a regulator (particularly, a Clinton regulator) — there are few problems that cannot be regulated away. As one who demanded increased “board independence,” his obsession shines through in his description of the ideal Board of Directors, enumerating quality proxies such as independence, overcommittment, compensation and perks, but never… competence per se.

That, to a large extent, is the failing of much of Levitt’s reform plans. In a time marked by audit malfeasance, it’s easy to focus on audit-related reforms — but costs of independence cannot be ignored. “Insiders” on the board may be less valuable at audit time, but they are valuable in the regular operations of the board of directors — namely, directing the company.

Finally, the lengthy indictments of corporate wrongdoers on the part of Levitt and, to a lesser extent, Cramer, hide an equally-important indictment: that of willfully ignorant investors. After their manic investing in vacant tech stocks, filling 401(k)s with employer stock, and taking for gospel the recommendations of clearly conflicted analysts, it’s hard to feel sympathy for those who bought into the scheme with such lucre-lust or astounding ignorance. Some investors did indeed get screwed – they deserve Cramer and Levitt’s advice. But countless others — those that screwed themselves with all of the vigor of Grubman et al. —need to take a long look in the mirror before pointing the finger elsewhere.

Two hours to a new perspective

BY ALEX GORDON

Throughout the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, each side has succeeded in casting the other in the worst possible light. Pro-Palestinian groups show Israel as a cruel occupying power that randomly attacks innocent civilians who merely want to live on their own land. Israel portrays Palestinians as rock-throwing, hate-mongering terrorists, whose sole ambition is to stomp out every last vestige of the State of Israel. The mutual achievement of successfully bashing the other side has only deepened the rift between the two groups. Neither side should take much satisfaction in this dubious achievement.

A conspicuously absent aspect, at least for me, was the alternative view of Palestinian people. No rational person could honestly believe that every Palestinian is a terrorist, or evil in some way. It is simply impossible that an entire people could be completely devoid of goodness, much the same way that it is impossible that an entire people could be completely untouched by evil. Still, I had never been presented with the “good” side o f the Palestinians, although logically I knew it was there. The primacy and saliency of terrorist attacks had succeeded in pushing the desire to find this view far to the back of my mind.Last week, while returning from writing my open memo — an assignment that actually is utterly riddled with evil — I noticed an advertisement for a film at the Kennedy School of Government entitled A Wedding in Ramallah.

It seemed that I had finally come across an opportunity to see that “other view” of Palestinians which previously had so eluded me. After seeing the film on Tuesday, I walked away with one of the more rewarding two viewing hours I’d had in recent memory.The most striking feature of the film was its human element. Within the first ten minutes, nearly every preconception I held regarding Palestinians came under visual attack. Watching the family members interact and engage in hilarious dialogue, I found it difficult to associate them with the terrorists of whom I so often read. The true irony of the Arafat-led “resistance” efforts is that it obscures the image of Palestinians as people. Every bomb that goes off in a crowded square, every family that is murdered by terrorists further diminishes the desire to look beyond the terrorists and see the Palestinian people as a whole.

Unquestionably, the reverse is true for the Israelis. The effort to demonize each group has yielded precisely what was sought, and at great expense. The conflict in the Middle East shows no signs of ending any time soon. Hatred is deeply entrenched, and while there are “good sides” in both groups, terror, retaliation and fear dominate the landscape. Despite the pain and suffering, I would hope that ultimately, the ugliness of violence would one day bow to the beauty that each group, Palestinian and Israeli, has to offer.

At HLS, I can point to nothing that has been done to help push back the ugliness. Instead of using its prestige to make a positive difference, Harvard’s main contribution to the conflict has been the preposterous and hate-ridden petition for divestiture. Supporters of this petition do nothing to help the people they claim to support. Casting Israel as evil only further entrenches Israeli supporters, who are quick to cast Palestinians in the same way. To engage in this activity is only to pointlessly retread old ground.

A Wedding in Ramallah gives more hope for possible grounds for peace, does more to demonstrate the presence of goodness in Palestinian people in two hours than divestment or any other mudslinging activity could hope to achieve in a lifetime.

1L Experience: Giving thanks for break

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

For many 1Ls, Thanksgiving break next week may be the first time to see families since starting law school. One of the most common questions my family asks me about law school is, “So, what exactly are you learning?” (The other most common questions I’m asked by my family include, “Are you eating enough vegetables?” “Have you met a nice Jewish girl yet?” and “Have you figured out a way for me to get out of that felony murder charge?” (My uncle Elmer. He’s got some problems.)

Usually, I just respond to the question about what I’m learning by dropping some big complicated words I’ve heard in some of my classes. For example: “I’m learning a lot, Grandma. I now know that given the precedent set in the landmark case of promissory estoppel v. appellate restitution, the jurisdiction of the exclusionary rule is an intentional infliction of emotional distress. But only if the action is brought in a federal district court in reliance on the expectancy nudum pactum de novo res judicata assumpsit.” That usually shuts people up pretty quickly.

I’ve recently begun to wonder, however, if I am in fact learning anything useful, or at least anything useful for Thanksgiving conversation. I’ve already thought of a few good lines I’ll hopefully be able to use at the dinner table. When my little cousin throws up on the floor, I can exclaim that he was simply performing a restitution remedy and disgorging the benefit the festive meal had conferred upon him. Or, when my aunt throws out the burnt sweet potatoes, I can gently warn her that even under the Fourth Amendment, her trash can be searched without a warrant, and the whole world will know she can’t cook.

But more seriously, I wonder if there’s anything substantive I’ve picked up in 11 weeks of law school. And when I really think about it, I realize that there is quite a bit I’ve learned. I’ve learned that highlighters don’t last very long. I’ve learned that getting called on in class isn’t as scary as it first seemed. I’ve learned that you can always read more carefully. And, I’ve learned that for every argument on one side of a policy issue, there are four counter-arguments, two counter-counter-arguments, and one random side that can be categorized in the world of ancient Greek mythology.

I’ve also noticed law school has started to make me think differently. I now send e-mails with numbered bullet-points: “ The movie was (1) a dramatic masterpiece, (2) with stirring performances by (a) the pretty blond girl, (b) the overly-precocious child, and (c) the giraffe, but (3) I was distracted by the German subtitles.”

Furthermore, I’ve started to recognize the opinions of certain Supreme Court justices: “The rhetorical flourishes in the first section makes me think it’s Justice Jackson, but the wavering between federal and state common law smells a lot like Justice Ginsburg.” And, the most dangerous knowledge of all, I’ve begun to actually recognize the names of law firms: “White and Blue. Yes, I know them very well. They specialize in international export law, yes? And the esteemed firm of Chance, Luck and Happenstance. 3600-hour-a-year billing requirement. Excellent firm.”

My family thinks it’s pretty cool that I’m at law school. Frankly, so do I. I think it’s pretty cool that last week in Civil Procedure, we had to read page 1000 of our casebook. “Let’s turn to page one thousand and four” is something I never thought I’d hear anyone say. I think it’s pretty cool that three months ago I would have said that UCC was some fringe cable network (the United Cheese Channel? Urban Cinema Channel? The (always-exciting) University Choir Channel?), and now I know that it stands for the Unenforceable Contract Channel and, without looking, I know that UCC 2-205 refers to “firm offers.” (But please don’t ask me what a firm offer is!)

Valuable knowledge? Maybe not. But enough to impress my relatives at the Thanksgiving table. I’ll be sure to tell my grandmother that I’m eating lots of vegetables (well, lots of one vegetable, anyway — it always seems to be squash week at the Hark). And if you’re that nice Jewish girl I’m looking for, send me an e-mail — I’ll be sure not to introduce you to Uncle Elmer.

ReDo: Lipper column of November 14

BY MRE@POST.HARVARD.EDU

In his column of November 14, Greg Lipper casually remarked that for every photo of a dismembered fetus, there’s another photo of a suffering baby who should have been aborted. Accepting for sake of argument his claim to know whether a person’s life is worth living, I’ll point out that Mr. Lipper overlooks a key distinction between life and death: life is fleeting, death is forever. The harm done to the aborted fetus can’t be undone, she is dead and can be alive no more. But the putative cause of the suffering baby’s pain – that she’s wasn’t killed and is still not dead – can be remedied. If it’s really better that the baby not live, that can be arranged. No reason to fret.

Of course, I don’t believe anyone knows which lives aren’t worth living. And while we all react differently to seeing a victimized or despondent child, regretting a child’s existence is brutal. Instead, our response should be to remove them from abusive homes, relieve them of physical pain, surround them with love, and celebrate their priceless, inherent beauty.

Matt Evans, ’01

Lipper column of November 14

BY MRE@POST.HARVARD.EDU

In his column of November 14, Greg Lipper casually remarked that for every photo of a dismembered fetus, there’s another photo of a suffering baby who should have been aborted. Accepting for sake of argument his claim to know whether a person’s life is worth living, I’ll point out that Mr. Lipper overlooks a key distinction between life and death: life is fleeting, death is forever. The harm done to the aborted fetus can’t be undone, she is dead and can be alive no more. But the putative cause of the suffering baby’s pain – that she’s wasn’t killed and is still not dead – can be remedied. If it’s really better that the baby not live, that can be arranged. No reason to fret.

Of course, I don’t believe anyone knows which lives aren’t worth living. We all react differently to seeing a victimized or despondent child, but regretting the child’s existence is brutal. Instead, our response should be to remove them from abusive homes, relieve them of physical pain, surround them with love, and celebrate their priceless, inherent beauty.

Matt Evans, ’01

Gunther Team wins Ames Competition

BY HUGO TORRES

Inside the Ames Courtroom,
Greg Lipper (L) and
Mark Freeman (R)
prepare for oral argument.
The White Team moments before the Ames Finals began.

Proving wrong all who said otherwise, 3L Greg Lipper and the Gerald Gunther Memorial Team took home the team award for “Best Overall” in the Ninety-First Annual Harvard Law School Ames Moot Court Competition, arguing before a panel of three judges that included Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. The Gunther team also took home the award for “Best Oralist,” given to Mark Freeman. Opposing counsel, the Byron White Memorial Team, took home the award for “Best Brief.”

“It was a tie,” said Justice Breyer right before announcing the results and explaining how difficult it was to choose between the two teams. Joining Breyer as associate justices were the Honorable Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Ann Williams of the Seventh Circuit.

“First rate,” O’Scannlain said after the justices announced the award winners.

Indeed, the evening presented an exhibition pitting two of Harvard’s finest groups of students in a case that revolved around discrimination and First Amendment issues. The White Team consisted of 3Ls Carlos Lazatin, Jeffrey Lerner, Rita Lin, Mary Catherine Martin, Nathaniel Reinsma and Matthew Stephenson. The White team argued on behalf of Plaintiff-Petitioner Christina Morales, a landlord who refused to rent to unmarried couples on the grounds that such cohabitation violated her religious principles.

Meanwhile, the Gunther Team, representing the respondents, consisted of Norina Edelman, Mark Freeman, Beth Harrison, Joshua Solomon, Louis Tompros and the sometimes-derided but never underestimated Lipper. The Gunther team argued on behalf of the State of Ames Commission for Human Rights, which is charged with ensuring that no discrimination occurs in regards to housing.

The oralists for the White Team were Stephenson and Lin, with Freeman and Lipper representing the Gunther Team. Each team presented itself firmly, responding with poise to questions posed by the judges and engaging in sophisticated rhetoric and legal argumentation that was applauded after the competition was over.

At one point Freeman defended the respondent’s motion to dismiss by posing the question, “Why would we ask this court to wade into the swamp of hybrid constitutional rights?”

The teams debated two central questions: Whether petitioner Morales even had standing to bring the claim, and whether an unconstitutional burden was placed on Morales’s rights to free exercise and free speech.

For their part, the justices were relentless in challenging each team to clarify its arguments and consider the ramifications of what they were saying. When the White Team began arguing based on precedent, Breyer pointed out that, “not all of our precedents are perfect,” and challenged the team to explain why the case stood on its own merits. During the Gunther Team’s time to make arguments, Breyer challenged their desire to dismiss the case, suggesting they consider the impact of their argument. “You want to force her to face jail to challenge the statute,” Breyer noted, leading the Gunther Team to clarify under what circumstances they believed such a case should hold up.

“I just thought it was a fabulous display from four talented Harvard students,” said 1L Mark Barrera. “It made me proud to be a Harvard Law student.” Barrera went on to mention that the fine performances of the oralists inspired him to aim to be a better oralist himself: “Makes me want to try harder every time a professor calls on me in class.”

This year’s Ames format differed little from previous years, with the competition mirroring the appellate process to give students a taste of the appellate experience. Each team had to compose briefs and argue before judges through quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, argued in the fall and spring respectively. Winning the competition entailed a cash prize, as well as being immortalized in Harvard Law lore as Ames Competition winners.

The evening was not all serious arguments, however. At one point, Breyer posed a hypothetical which he began to answer himself, then, recognizing he was giving the answer, paused and turned towards oralist Matt Stephenson, saying, “Well, you respond.”

At another point, Stephenson was asked a question by Williams. Stephenson, who had just ended his presentation, pointed out, “Your honor, I see my time is up,” to which Judge Williams, making sure her question was not evaded so easily, replied, “Oh no, you may answer.”

Meanwhile, as arguments over constitutional issues went on inside the Ames courtroom, a more festive atmosphere pervaded the rest of Austin Hall, as students filled up the overflow areas to watch the competition on screens in the Austin classrooms. The beer, laughter and heckling that filled the Austin classrooms stood in sharp contrast to the more subdued and reverent atmosphere inside the Ames Courtroom.

Despite not being physically present in the courtroom, those in the overflow rooms were treated to scenes that were missed by most in the courtroom, such as when the camera panned to a professor sleeping through the arguments.

One-L Franz Cheng, who was watching the proceedings in the overflow area, found it to be an enjoyable vantage point. “We had a good time. It was a casual and surprisingly non-drunken atmosphere.”

One-L Lee Rowland, a fellow student watching the proceedings in the overflow area, agreed with Franz’s assertions if not his conclusion. “There wasn’t nearly enough heckling or drinking.”