Fenno: Interview season

BY

Things couldn’t get much worse for the underdog, thought Fenno. Fenno reflected with horror that Harvard Law students choosing names for intramural sports teams forgo the opportunity to adopt cool mascots like “Law Dawgz,” “Section I Warriors,” and the as-yet-unused “Nerds on Film” to mock a certain RECORD “Opinion” regular and predict his defeat in the Ames Moot Court finals. Last week’s edition showed that relegating Fenno to the back page rendered him a Cassandra, leaving Mr. “Washington-bound Mickey” to ignore the negative lesson Cliff Ginn learned two weeks ago about what students don’t want to read in their free time. Instead, our unwitting Iphigenia forged ahead with yet another case comment masquerading as an editorial. Sure, there were some pretty hip references to The Lion King and Bush v. Gore along the way, but c’mon, even Chief Justice Rehnquist knows the Supremes are a ’60s girl group, not a court.

Reading such pedantry disguised as flights of dreamscape made Fenno’s spine tingle with flashbacks from Single White Female. A violently asthmatic wheeze outside his window interrupted Fenno’s chilling musings over the Law School rag. He looked down onto Mass. Ave. A white dwarf with an Afro was standing on the sidewalk, chanting the words of and holding a sign that read, “I’m So Smart and I’m So Funny. I’ll Tell Volokh If You Take My Milk Money.” He was wearing the same color bathrobe and slippers as Fenno. Fenno opened the window and leaned out to get a closer look.

“I’ll trade you a rookie Justice Breyer for a 1990 First Circuit David Souter!” called a voice over Fenno’s head. Fenno looked up to see Jared Kramer holding a shoebox two floors above. But before the terry-cloth hobbit on the street could say “You’re on, sucker!” he winced miserably and grabbed his knee just as the mild popping report of an air gun pierced the sound of traffic. Fenno followed the wounded gnome’s frizzy hair as it bobbed across the street. Someone was guffawing out of a window to Fenno’s right.

“Gee whiz, Lowell. You ruined a perfectly good exchange of associate justice cards. You owe me a Happy Meal!” Jared shouted down. “You probably don’t even have a permit for that BB gun.”

“Nerds!” bellowed Plotkin, beating a chest covered by a white t-shirt several sizes too small. Finding his neck caught between the window and ledge, he repeated this witty rebuttal to Jared’s complaint until Nikki came with a screwdriver to remove the window frame. Again.

Beginning to feel like a guest in a twisted version of Hollywood Squares, Fenno shook his head and closed the window against the October wind. It was time to get ready for his afternoon on-campus interviews. He looked in the mirror as he tied a red tie. “Harvard Law is corporate greed. Greed is good.”

Fenno had been preparing over the weekend by listening to Adam White’s Personal Interview Inspirations, available on tape through Lexis Law Publishing. “I am a corporate warrior. In spite of the glaring lack of opportunity to take Mergers & Acquisitions of Quasi-Multinational Real Estate Investment Trusts, I will still smite the poor and step on the throats of the disenfranchised. They will cry out to Alexa Shabecoff as I drink their blood. But all in vain.” Fenno popped in his fangs, put on his suit jacket, and marched out the door. That James guy in my Bankruptcy class, the one without a last name, he sure would be proud, Fenno thought.

“On-campus interviews” apparently means “off-campus interviews,” particularly when it starts to pour. Fenno wasn’t feeling so all-powerful when he arrived at the Charles half an hour later looking like a drowned rat with dress shoes shrink-wrapped to his feet. He shuffled to the elevator. Up on the ninth floor, Fenno squished by a reception area. John Doulamis was inside drinking mineral water and chatting with some recruiting people. Fenno popped his head in the door. “John, are you interviewing with Dewey Ballantine today?” Fenno asked.

“No. Not really,” John answered. “Actually, I don’t have any interviews today at all. But I came down anyway so I wouldn’t lose the schmooze vibe before flyout week.” He lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper: “I think I’m in the zone.”

Fenno arrived at the door of his interview. He knocked, heard an invitation to enter, and walked in. He blacked out.

When he came to, Fenno could hardly breathe. The air was thick, and he couldn’t see very well out of one eye. He was in a strange room with furniture that smelled too new, sitting across from a woman he’d never seen before. His one good eye told him she was dressed like Geraldine Ferraro. He had a cramp in his leg, and he was pretty sure something in his nose was not coloring entirely inside the lines. Beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. The woman in the vice presidential candidate’s outfit looked at a piece of paper she held in front of her and began speaking German. Fenno didn’t speak German, but he remembered claiming to somewhere, maybe even in writing. He nodded, smiled, and grunted agreeably. The woman slid a piece of graph paper across the table. On it was an intricately drawn maze. At the start arrow was a stick figure in a dunce cap. At the finish was a drawing of a treasure chest with €7B written across it. Geraldine took out the stopwatch from Chariots of Fire: “Starten zu!” she barked.

Twenty-five minutes later, Fenno emerged back onto the hallway. His ego had broken ribs, and he was still uncomfortably damp. Should’ve known better than to think I could ride out the poor job market in the Austrian business consulting industry, he thought. Why anyone would ever need differential calculus to “fertilize seeds of innovation within a stagnating managerial lateral hierarchy” was beyond him. And who’d ever heard of a number 1.67 pencil anyway?

Fenno was snapped out of this pathetic reverie by a vaguely familiar voice. He looked up to see Dean Sauer leaning casually against the wall. “Hey Fenno,” Dean repeated. “You interviewing at Kraus, Flugelhorn und Schtumper too?”

“I tried to,” Fenno replied. Dean was clutching something tightly in his hand. “Whatcha got there?” Fenno asked.

“Oh, this? Just two number 1.67 pencils. The OCS interview site said we should bring them. I ordered mine online from a Norwegian specialty pencil store last month.”

Fenno felt like he might be sick. “Hey, cheer up, Fenno. Here, take this. It’ll make you feel better.” Dean took Fenno’s wrist and placed something in his hand. Fenno looked down. It was a limited edition 1L Greg Lipper card, with complete statistics broken down by Socratic cold calls, volunteered answers, and Spontaneous Outbursts Nobody Needed to Hear (SONNH). Fenno felt much better indeed.

Fancy! Beantown’s finest restaurants

BY JUSTIN OSOFSKY

The Harvest during the day.
Photo by Ezra Rosser/RECORD
Perfection at The Rialto.
Photo by Ezra Rosser/RECORD

Until 1970, women could not enter the dining room of the venerable New England dining institution, Locke Ober. Today, a woman (Lydia Shire, one of Boston’s hottest celebrity chefs) runs the restaurant.

Shire’s takeover of Locke Ober exemplifies the changing nature of fine dining in Boston. It is still possible to experience wonderful renditions of Lobster Thermidor and Boston Cream Pie. But today the top restaurants of Cambridge and Boston are more likely to depart from classic New England fare, and instead showcase the influences of cultures that span the globe. When celebration is in the air, a wide array of spectacular dining options (often at spectacular prices) are readily available. While by no means a comprehensive list, the following restaurants offer some of the best opportunities to sample “new” New England cooking, and experience this evolution for yourself.

Three wonderful — and very different — dining options are in the immediate vicinity of Harvard Law School. Situated on the second floor of the Charles Hotel, Rialto offers some of the finest food in Cambridge. Chef Jody Adams, a past recipient of the prestigious James Beard Best Chef (Northeast) award, creates dishes that reveal their Spanish, French and Italian roots. Signature items include the Provencal-inspired soup de poissons, a slow roasted Long Island duck served with braised escarole and fingerling potatoes, and hot chocolate cream with bruleed bananas and cinnamon ice cream.

Across the street from North Hall, Chef Paul O’Connell masterfully melds French and Cuban influences to create unique creations at Chez Henri. While locals may pass many an evening eating his masterpiece Cubano sandwich and sipping mojitos at the bar, the restaurant’s dining room menu offers many excellent options. The steak frites, topped with a foie gras-cognac cream sauce, and the seared tuna accompanied by a shrimp tamale are standouts.

Tucked away in an alley between Brattle and Mt. Auburn streets, Harvest feels a bit more “clubby” than other Harvard Square options. Seafood lovers will delight in a seared Alaskan halibut accompanied by a pan roast of lobster, ramps, and tarragon while carnivores can choose between steak, rack of lamb, pheasant, veal, or Cornish game hen. Harvest is also famed for its Sunday brunch, including the griddled Maine lobster salad sandwich.

But fine dining in Cambridge is not limited to Harvard Square. Salts, a 45-seat Central Square establishment, is one of Cambridge’s hidden gems. Chef Steve Rosen’s menu is influenced by Eastern European traditions and changes seasonally. On a recent visit, a mixed greens salad topped with a warm walnut and goat cheese crepe was delicious. But the meat entrees are the true stars of Salts: The mixed grill of Neiman Ranch beef includes succulent short ribs and tender slices of filet, and the lamb loin, gently smoked in a tea base, is a unique treatment that highlights Rosen’s talents.

Next to the Kendall Square Cinema, the Blue Room feels casual but offers fantastic food in a funky setting. Sushi lovers will adore the No. 1 Tuna. This thick cut of ahi tuna, quickly seared on the outside, is certainly one of the best in the city. Cheese lovers will appreciate the “One Perfect Cheese” appetizer/dessert (a selection from the famed Formaggio’s cheese shop that changes nightly). The Blue Room also may offer the best brunch in the city. A multitude of creative dishes are served buffet style (with food constantly freshened by the busy line chefs). A recent brunch included chilled octopus salad, a flank steak with a spicy rub, avocado quesadillas, pancakes topped with sautéed bananas, and kahlua cheesecake. However, if you want bloody marys or mimosas, arrive for the afternoon seating (for the Blue Room is not exempt from Massachusetts’ stringent blue laws).

For many, L’Espalier and Aujourd’hui are the twin pillars of the Boston restaurant scene. Located in a three-story townhouse just steps from the Prudential Center, L’Espalier offers a brilliant fusion of French and New England cuisines. For a true splurge, try Chef Frank McClelland’s ever-changing degustation menu. Drawing on local ingredients, a representative tasting menu includes an artichoke and asparagus broth with a warm salad of Maine crabmeat, the sautéed liver of a spring lamb, dayboat halibut with a sunflower seed crust, filet served with gnocchi and sweetbreads, a cheese course and dessert selection (including a delectable molten centered chocolate lava cake).

It is hard to top Aujourd’hui, the restaurant of the Four Seasons. With window views overlooking the Public Garden, Aujourd’hui’s dining room simply exudes elegant sophistication. From tuna tartare with oscetra cavior to seared foie gras with beef short ribs to roasted lobster with crabmeat wontons to rack of venison with wheat berry pilaf, the food is exquisite. For the more budget conscious, the Bristol lounge downstairs offers up arguably the best cheeseburgers and martinis in Boston.

Several other restaurants in this part of the city deserve mention. Near Beacon Hill, Chef Barbara Lynch was the 2002 James Beard award recipient of the Best Chef (Northeast). Her No. 9 Park dishes out excellent fare steps from the State House. The menu changes seasonally, but past standout items include the steamed black bass with a truffle emulsion, a butter poached lobster, the crispy duck with a blood orange glaze, and the double rib lamb chop with white asparagus.

Another top restaurant, Radius, resides in the heart of Boston’s financial district, near South Station. True to the name, the dining room is a chic semicircle. Chef Michael Schlow’s specialties include escargot with potato gnocchi, New Zealand venison with chestnuts, and loin of pork with a truffle butter sauce.

Two wonderful downtown destinations are located in hotels. Appetizers at the Federalist, situated in the 15 Beacon hotel, include oyster tartare and carmalized sea scallops. Standout entrees include roasted black sea bass with porcini risotto fritters and pan seared tenderloin with a Dungeness crab stuffed mushroom. You can enjoy a self-described “esoteric cheese presentation,” or skip straight to desserts including a vanilla bean crème brulee. In the Meridien hotel, Julien offers some of the finest classic French cuisine in the city. Summer entrees included halibut with roasted tomato and a block olive crust and rack of lamb with tapenade. The Meridien is also well-known for its decadent chocolate buffet.

One should not overlook dining options in the hip South End. Drawing on French bistro influences, Hamersley’s Bistro is a South End institution. Gordon Hamersley is famed for his roast chicken (allegedly, it was one of Julia Child’s favorites), as well as other classics such as his grilled mushroom and garlic sandwich on country bread. Continuing the French bistro theme, Aquitaine offers a stylish interpretation. Mussel fans will enjoy this version cooked in Sancerre with shallots and thyme. Meat lovers will salivate over perhaps the best steak in the city: a filet au poivre topped with cognac cream.

Finally, two excellent restaurants are located a touch outside of Boston proper. If you visit Todd English’s flagship restaurant, Olives (in Charlestown), be prepared to wait… and wait… and wait. Olives does not accept reservations (except for parties of six or more), and throngs begin lining up outside at 4:45. If you don’t mind sipping a cocktail (or three) at the bar, Olives will not disappoint. True to its name, ri
ch black and green tapenades accompany excellent bread. The tuna tartare is divine. A column of tuna is tossed with a warm sesame dressing and surrounded by a thin strand of cucumber. Rock shrimp, hidden in the soft layers of tuna, provide a surprise both in texture and flavor. In addition, the roasted chicken may sound humble, but this moist version bursts with flavor and puts many of its competitors to shame. While portions are big, save room for dessert: the warm chocolate cake is worth the caloric ramifications.

If you’re a Food TV fan of Ming Tsai, it is worth a visit to Blue Ginger in Wellesley. While more inconsistent than other top Boston restaurants, Tsai’s interpretation of Asian fusion can produce divine results. Appetizers include tempura soft shell crab with a miso avocado puree and shitake and leek spring rolls with a three chile dipping sauce. Entrees include a Maine crab crusted halibut and a Long Island duck breast accompanied by an Asian duck confit.

At HLS, there will inevitably be times when studying a disastrous tort seems less interesting than studying a delectable tart. Fortunately, in these moments, you will find that Boston and Cambridge offer no shortage of wonderful dining destinations.


It’s George W., not Adolf

BY ALEX GORDON

Having access to the New York Times on the web has been a true boon to my existence. With a few mouse clicks, I’m instantly linked to the finest sports section in the world while completely risk-free from staining my fingers and clothes with newsprint.

Occasionally, a headline from one of the less-important sections will grab my attention, and give me pause before I click to sports. Recently, I spotted a headline so offensive that I went right to the international news.

It read: “Bush-Hitler Remark Shows U.S. An Issue In German Election” and the accompanying article contained the following introductory lines: “The regional newspaper Schwäbisches Tagblatt said today that Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s justice minister, Herta Däubler-Gmelin, had said: “Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It’s a classic tactic. It’s one that Hitler also used.” Her remarks were reportedly made on Sunday during a conversation with representatives of the trade union IG Metall. Evidently, the comments referred to Bush’s “tactics” concerning possible military action to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Daubler-Gmelin first attempted to clarify, then outright denied making the comment, though several witnesses have come forward saying they heard her utter the remark. Schroder subsequently apologized for any offense the “misunderstanding” may have caused.

Being a proud Democrat, I would not rank Bush high on my list of revered government officials, and I still fervently hope that he will be unceremoniously returned to the private sector in the next election. However, the fact remains that he is the president of my country, and while I don’t hesitate to be critical, I’m slightly more hesitant to stand for foreign criticism of George W. and the U.S. by implication. For anyone to make any sort of comparison of President Bush to Adolf Hitler would be offensive in and of itself.

Hitler’s Third Reich is the greatest evil that has ever been visited upon this world. He led the entire world into a bloody and merciless war that claimed countless lives and shattered entire nations. He masterminded the systematic extermination of millions of my fellow Jews simply because they were Jews. In a word, Hitler was a monster. Given the pure evil associated with Hitler and the Third Reich, it is incomprehensible that any rational individual could draw a comparison between him and any U.S. president. Claiming that the comparison was between their “tactics” does not mitigate the outrageousness of the remark. Unlike Hitler, the U.S. and President Bush are considering the ouster of a dangerous madman who may or may not possess weapons of mass destruction. Hitler successfully managed to convince an all-too-gullible German population that they were not to blame for their military defeat and unbearable living and economic conditions. Faced with abject misery brought about largely by a purely punitive peace treaty, Germans were more than willing to follow Hitler back to national prosperity, without regard for the millions who would perish along the way. While the U.S. is certainly not in the midst of a Golden Age of national prosperity, neither is it teetering on the brink of extermination. This country, like all nations today, is faced with many complex and maddening problems. However, the chances of a military dictator akin to Hitler assuming power are laughably minuscule.

The Germany of today owes a great debt of gratitude to the United States for its very existence. Had the U.S. and its allies acquiesced to the Soviets in the post-World War II era, Germany would have developed quite differently. Perhaps the current German government should check its own history before resorting to America bashing as a campaign ploy. Despite the astronomically small chances that this will occur, I would call for Ms. Daubler-Gmelin’s immediate resignation, as well as an admission and personal apology from the cabinet secretary for her inexplicable and outrageous defamation of our president.

The 1L Experience: Invasion of the suits

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

Everywhere we go now, we see people in suits. (And I don’t mean lawsuits. Sorry, not funny.) Two-Ls and 3Ls with three dozen interviews over six days, or six dozen interviews over three days, or ten dozen interviews over lunch tomorrow from noon until one. By all accounts, pretty much no one passes up the opportunity to at least try and get an offer from a corporate firm. Just to be safe, even if they know they don’t want to end up there. Because it’s just for one summer. Because it’s only a few years. Just until the loans are paid off. Only until I make partner. Just until I can retire. Only until the day that I die. It can’t be that bad. Everyone does it.

I’ve heard people try to explain why this happens — why people start law school dead-set against working for a big firm, but end up “selling out.” And, yes, I know there are lots of great reasons to go work for a firm, not least of which being to pay off student loans, but also because you can make good contacts, find some interesting work, give your relatives something to brag about (as if just going to Harvard Law School isn’t enough), and so forth. I’m sure we’ll get a big glossy brochure with all of these reasons (and pictures of happy, smiling, multiethnic men, women and domesticated animals) from every law firm in the country when it’s the appropriate time.

But aside from these good and justifiable reasons, I think it’s mostly about expectations. It seems like from the first day of orientation, there’s an expectation that everyone here will fit into a certain box: college major in something appropriately related to the study of law, had some sort of law or business-related job or internship — paralegal, management consultant, investment banker — and has a burning desire to use his or her law degree to either (a) help a specific set of people — the poor, children, foreigners, taxpayers, sports figures, or (b) make a lot of money. Or both.

And that’s The Box. “Where’d you go to school? What’d you do before you came here? What’s your future goal?”

“Harvard. I sold stock in management consulting firms to paralegals. And I want to help the poor children of professional soccer players pay taxes in Bolivia.” You’re in the box. Wonderful.

And I think it excites us to meet people on the fringes of the box: “Where are you from?”

“Canada.”

“Canada? Wow, that’s cool!”

“And my dad is a Supreme Court Justice.” Perfect. You’re in the box.

But people too far out of the box don’t quite fit: “What did you do before you came here?”

“Juggled hoops of fire in the circus.” Not in the box. You’re too different. You don’t belong. And no one doesn’t want to belong. The box has a magnetic pull. It’s why everyone talks about his or her year at Oxford (and if I hear one more person force that into a conversation…. “Oh, wow. Those trees remind me of trees we had — when I was at Oxford,” or “I ate a turkey sandwich once — at Oxford,”) and no one talks about his interest in snorkeling. Or her comic book collection. Or his innermost thoughts and feelings. (Ooh, that’s too deep for a column trying to be funny. Sorry. I think I must have meant, “Or his favorite Beatle.”) We’re scared that if we reveal too much, we’ll put ourselves outside the box, and we won’t belong. And that honestly is pretty scary.

So I think that’s part of the reason why all of the 2Ls are dressed up in suits, going to fourteen dozen interviews in eight minutes, even if their hearts aren’t really in it. And why the deepest conversations in the Hark are about the weather, the Civ Pro reading and the utility of daylight savings time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can make the box bigger. And find out the guy sitting next to us is from Canada. Or an amateur sumo wrestler. Or really a girl.

Columbia prof. discusses war on terror paranoia

BY CLINTON DICK

Speaking to over 50 students and guests of Harvard Law School who had assembled for the first Saturday School Program of the academic year, Professor Patricia Williams of Columbia Law School talked about the war on terror and how race is being perceived after September 11. Her speech, which was partly a compilation of previous articles she wrote for The Nation, focused on fear and how it can lead to paranoia and a breakdown of protective barriers against injustice.

Williams urged her audience to reject the argument that terrorist suspects should not be given the best defense because, as some have argued, they will end up in Florida playing golf with O.J. Simpson. A good defense, she contended, is a way to combat abuses by the prosecution.

“Part of what I am afraid of in terms of how the war on terror is being perceived, or received, on a domestic level is it is very much joined with constructions and stereotypes we have about race,” Williams said. “If Eskimos have a hundred words for snow,” Williams said, “we have let bloom a thousand words for fear.”

Fear, Williams argued, can lead one to suspect someone who looks different or who is discussing a dubious subject. She referred to the brief detention of three men in Florida last month after a woman told authorities the men were making alarming comments, including statements about bringing something down. In fact, the men were talking about bringing a car down to Florida.

Williams said people’s uncertainty has led to new forms of fear that could ultimately provoke our worst totalitarian tendencies. “People know nothing, so they suspect everything,” she said. “Torture and extracted confessions are investments in the right to be all knowing. That certitude is the essence of totalitarianism.”

Following her speech, Williams fielded a question from Professor Charles Ogletree on the recent controversy surrounding allowing military recruiters on campus. Williams applauded Lambda’s efforts to sign up for JAG recruiting slots, adding that it was unfair that those who oppose discrimination can be viewed as anti-government or unpatriotic. “We have to bear in mind that the civil rights of disability, sexual orientation and women rest on the same foundation,” Williams said.

In an interview with The RECORD, Williams encouraged students to keep an optimistic perspective and remain critical thinkers. “I think people need to keep a sense of proportion,” she said. “This is not the worst of times.”

Patricia Williams received her law degree from HLS in 1975. She holds honorary degrees from Northeastern University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She served as visiting professor of women’s studies at Harvard, visiting professor of law at Stanford, and visiting scholar at Duke. Her books include The Alchemy of Race and Rights; The Rooster’s Egg; and Seeing A ColorBlind Future: The Paradox of Race.

Federal Circuit Court sits in Ames Courtroom

BY CLINTON DICK

Photo by Ezra Rosser/RECORD

A professor once said that oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court are more than a questioning session between the justices and the arguer. Instead, these arguments are a way for the justices to have a conversation between themselves. This style of communication was partly on display when Harvard Law School hosted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Tuesday in Ames Courtroom, an event sponsored by the J.D. Dean’s Office. The three judges were not only sifting through the lawyers’ arguments in order to get at the relevant issue, but also communicating with each other about these questions and raising concerns that would undoubtedly resurface during their private deliberations.

Students not only had a chance to learn about cases before they became chapter headings in future casebooks, but they also could see first-hand the thinking process of a court. Students undoubtedly left the proceedings with an understanding as to why classrooms adopt the Socratic method, as it closely resembles that used in appellate hearings. Judges Pauline Newman, Alan Lourie and Timothy Dyk were not passive listeners who expected to have the cases laid out for them. Instead, the judges engaged the speakers with directed comments as to why arguments were wrong and others might be better. One comment could tear down a line of reasoning that took months to formulate, while one question could send a speaker scrambling through her notes in search of a persuasive answer.

The judges heard from seven different lawyers on four distinct cases, ranging from subcontractor issues in Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense v. United Technologies Corporation, to a patent dispute in Oakley, Inc. v. Sunglass Hut International. In Park B. Smith, Ltd. v. United States, the court had to apply custom rules to determine if certain items, such as napkins, should be classified as festive if they contained, for example, a picture of Santa Claus. A particularly humorous conversation took place in this case between Dyk and one of the lawyers over whether fall should be considered a holiday.

In fact, it seemed that the judges were quite comfortable in their new setting and had no problem using humor to the benefit of the crowd and the detriment of counsel. For example, during arguments in Rumsfeld, Dyk asked a question of United Technologies Corporation’s counsel using a sheep analogy. The lawyer responded, at which time Lourie, to the pleasure of the students, told the counsel that he had given a “sheepish” answer.

Also on the docket was an appeal from the Office of Personnel Management’s denial of a woman’s application for disability retirement. In Kegarise v. Office of Personnel Management, Kegarise claims she suffers from “multiple chemical syndrome” that has been aggravated by her work environment at the Kewanna Post Office. She appealed after the Merit Systems Protection Board affirmed OPM’s decision. During oral arguments, Newman seemed sympathetic to Kegarise’s claim that accommodations should be made for her at the post office, but conceded that the court could only review OPM’s decision regarding a disability claim, not accommodation issues. In the end, the lawyer for Kegarise asked the court to remand.

Students, faculty, administrators rally against ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

BY JONAS BLANK

Dean Clark speaks on the steps of Langdell Hall.
lambda1.jpg

The Law School’s reaction to the JAG controversy hit a fever pitch Monday, with hundreds of students, faculty and administrators gathering in front of Langdell Hall to voice their opposition to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and what they characterized as the Bush administration’s heavy-handed tactics that forced HLS to allow JAG recruiting in its on-campus interviewing.

Professor Heather Gerken may have summed the event up best, saying, “To quote James Carville, ‘we’re right, and they’re wrong.’”

That theme repeated itself throughout the hour-long rally, which featured speeches by Dean Robert Clark, Professors Alan Dershowitz, Heather Gerken and Janet Halley, three outside experts and 3L Scott Smith, the co-President of the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. Students in the audience wore purple ribbons intertwined with the stars and stripes, while a group of students bracketing the podium held signs bearing slogans like “Dick Cheney: Let your daughter serve!”

The event was the culmination of well over a month of planning by HLS Lambda, which raised awareness in the week leading up to the campaign by strewing classrooms with educational flyers and pink-painted army men. The group also recruited such national luminaries as Professor Aaron Belkin, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Dr. Paul R. Camacho, who heads the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts Boston, to educate students at the rally.

But the most controversial moments came during the speeches of Dershowitz and Halley, who showed that not all HLS faculty agree with the administration’s decision not to fight the Air Force’s reinterpretation of the 1996 Solomon Amendment, which allows the government to pull federal funding from universities that do not allow military recruiting on campus. HLS had already allowed military recruiting via an arrangement with the HLS Veterans’ Association, but prohibited JAG recruiters from using the on-campus interviewing process because “don’t ask, don’t tell” violated HLS’ non-discrimination policy.

“This is simple extortion. There’s no other way to describe it,” Dershowitz said. “I think we ought to fight it in the courts. I think we ought to litigate this issue.” The comments drew huge applause, shortly after which Dershowitz added, “Would it be worse to lose than to not fight this fight? We will win in the court of public opinion.”

Halley blasted University President Lawrence Summers, who she said wanted HLS to cave to the government’s demands. “We could not find the will anywhere to resist Summers,” she said. “If we had had the will, we could have forced him to involve himself.” If HLS failed to comply with the government’s demands, Harvard University could have lost up to $328 million in federal funds.

Halley also characterized “don’t ask, don’t tell” as not only an anti-gay policy, but an anti-sex policy that encourages the inhibition of sexual behaviors and attitudes. She also made some colorful assertions about HLS students’ own sexual proclivities.

“If I came to Harvard Law School and I had to enforce ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ I would have to discriminate against almost everybody,” she said. “Your homoeroticism is built in, and believe me, I have seen it.”

Clark, who interrupted a fundraising jaunt to be able to attend and speak at the rally, said he continues to believe the litigation route would be a mistake. “The end result of such litigation would be to get a declaration that our pre-existing policy was okay,” Clark told The RECORD. “That might make us feel virtuous, but not accomplish the actual end in view, which is ending the horrible ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.” Clark added that there would be significant logistical obstacles to such litigation. Even if the HLS faculty were to move forward on a resolution to act, such action would still likely require approval of both the University and its general counsel. Though Dershowitz and a group of students and other individuals could conceivably move forward on their own, Clark said, “I think there would be major standing problems.”

Instead, Clark said he hopes to consult with his fellow faculty members about what to do next. That may eventually include coordinated public relations efforts by a number of law schools, including Yale, which also recently allowed JAG back on campus. In the meantime, Clark said, the Law School should devote more of its intellectual energy to challenging “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“The Law School should do what it’s best at — fostering the exchange of research and ideas. We can put on some pretty amazing workshops and conduct some pretty impressive panels. Yesterday was the beginning of that,” he said.

Clark also objected to Halley’s remarks about Summers. “I think that’s a very misleading characterization,” he said. “What’s the point of all that? Finding someone to blame? It doesn’t do anything constructive.” He added that when the JAG decision was made back in July, no professors had objected.

Students attending the rally said they felt HLS should fight. “I tend to agree with Dershowitz,” said 1L Jason Bates. “Our chances of success shouldn’t deter us.” Bates also praised the diversity of the group of speakers.

Three-L Janson Wu, who said he signed up for a Navy JAG interview slot as part of the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” protest, said he was pleasantly surprised by the comments of Dershowitz and Halley. “If this were an issue of race or gender, we would have taken this to court,” he said. Wu, like many of the speakers, also reiterated his respect for those who serve in the Armed Forces, though he strongly opposes the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Two-L Adam Teicholz, the president of Lambda, said he was extremely pleased with the event and the speeches. He said that Lambda would support any efforts by Dershowitz or others to look into filing a lawsuit against the government, and characterized Dershowitz’s speech as a strong moral statement.

“Lambda would be behind any sort of legal action,” Teicholz said. “The statement it would make would be unequivocal.”

Jeffrey Cleghorn, a gay military veteran and director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, had an unequivocal statement of his own to make when he spoke at the rally. “’Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is bad for the United States military and bad for America,” he said. “If the military can discriminate against those of us who happen to be gay or lesbian, the principles it claims to be defending are not being sufficiently valued.”

In her speech, Gerken added that forcing HLS to allow JAG recruiting on campus smacked of the Bush administration’s pandering to right-wing interests and improperly exploiting the events of September 11 for political gain.

[Photos by Erin Berstein/RECORD]

Harvard joins national anti-war protest

BY YONI ROSENZWEIG

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Harvard University, together with a network of 40 other U.S. universities, participated Monday in a national day of action to protest the prospect of war in Iraq. The student protest movement, along with parallel national efforts last week, represents the most serious nationwide attempt to combat the gathering voices in support of war with Iraq.

The event, which was spearheaded by social justice organizations in the undergraduate and Divinity schools, united Harvard activists with students at colleges from Brown, Brandeis and Boston University to Berkeley, Humboldt and the University of California Santa Cruz, where students staged a walkout from class. The rally point for this broad network was Boston Mobilization, an activist group that has planned more protests for October.

According to Alex Cheney, Director of Boston Mobilization, “Students have always been the cornerstone of the peace movement” and at rallies over the weekend and Monday they opposed U.S. military action “before nonviolent negotiation.”

The seven co-sponsoring Harvard groups, including the College Greens and both the Society of Arab Students and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, brought speakers from the student body and faculty, sponsored faxes to Congress and staged a silent protest.

Nationwide, thousands protested as part of the “Not in Our Name” coalition in each of New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Union Square, the Los Angeles Federal Building, downtown Detroit and Portland this weekend to oppose war.

Harvard’s Associate Dean of the College, David Illingworth, watched the rally at the Science Center with approval, calling the event “well organized.” However, he would not share his personal opinion on the invasion. Nonetheless, other chief student organizers confirmed that at least some college administrators in attendance favored the activist’s position.

Most notable among the speakers was the outspoken Tim McCarthy, Professor of History and Literature, who decried the general acceptance among national politicians of a war with Iraq. He noted the lack of dissent because, as he put it, Democrats “have submitted to a warlord government.” Event organizer Paul Dexter bemoaned that “the American majority in favor of war is far slimmer than the government majority.”

Recent polls have shown that a slight majority of Americans supports sending troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

Harvard and BU Democrats both declined to co-sponsor the events, based on their party’s position. Democratic leaders in Congress and the Senate continued their support for war this week with the notable exception of Ted Kennedy, who spoke of “serious misgivings” about war with Iraq.

Speakers and demonstrators expressed a range of other concerns, from balance of power issues to “wag the dog” theories, but united in their concern for “the grave responsibility to protect innocent lives,” as stated by protest leader and College senior Shelby Meyerhoff.

Nancy Kanwisher, a professor of cognitive science at MIT, pointed a finger at the media for giving voice to the government’s choir but ignoring the stirrings of popular discord, as evidenced by the nationwide protests this weekend. Her point seemed somewhat muted by the crowd’s peppering of reporters and news cameras from national and local outlets. Professor McCarthy echoed Kanwisher’s sentiment in his speech, blaming the media for “failing to fulfill its First Amendment duty.”

The event’s origins at Harvard came from Equitas, the Divinity School’s social justice organization, and the Harvard Institute for Peace and Justice (HIPJ), a student society.

Before the rally began, Equitas provided a forum for silent protest for those uncomfortable with the rally. According to member Kendra LaRoche, “the silent protest left a sacred space for those looking to connect personal experiences of loss of life to potential loss of life in a war.”

Many of the schools participating in the day of action — including Georgetown Law Center and the University of Wisconsin — plan more events this week, include potentially large protests in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco later in October.

The upsurge in national protests coincided with a speech by President Bush in Baltimore, designed to address the concerns of war with Iraq. In the speech, the President focused on concerns about the war’s timing and the uniqueness of Iraq among nations with weapons of mass destruction. However, Bush’s speech made no mention of the protests specifically.

[Photos by Erin Berstein/RECORD]

Negotiation program reimagines WTC site

BY TIFFANY BENJAMIN

A group of students and dispute resolution specialists gathered Monday night at the Kennedy School of Government to begin the emotionally, spiritually and technically difficult process of discussing what should be done with the World Trade Center site.

The interactive event, entitled “Building Consensus Around the World Trade Center Site,” was sponsored by the Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Experts on New York City redevelopment plans, experts on dispute resolution and the general public weighed the constraints on redevelopment plans for the site as well as focusing on consensus building.

“Since 9/11, there has been no shortage of advice, feelings, thoughts, meetings,” said Maria Volpe, Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at the City University of New York.

Several ideas were floated for what should be done with the site, including the creation of a memorial park, the development of commercial or retail space and a mixture of both.

Panel members attempted to sift out a goal for the redevelopment and a method for implementing that goal. Courtney Cowart, of the 9/12 Foundation, used her personal experiences from being at the site to address her ideas for redevelopment.

“It may sound peculiar, but it was a privilege to be inside the cataclysm [during the attacks]…. It was a privilege because of what I saw in there. I saw people finding common ground in their humanity,” Cowart said.

Other panelists addressed tangible concerns. Tentatively, about $20 billion has been set aside for redevelopment of the area surrounding the World Trade Center site. Panelists attempted to create a method for allocating these funds, focusing on several projects, most notably the need for commuter transportation in Lower Manhattan.

“There has been a public consensus that has been reached in terms of transportation infrastructure. The most viable proposal has been the creation of a transportation hub,” said Marcia Van Wagner, Deputy Research Director of the Citizens Budget Commission. Transportation initiatives also focused on several other smaller projects in an effort to upgrade already existing areas such as the South Ferry Station.

Panelist Hugh Kelly, a New York City strategic consultant, stated that the lack of housing and a vibrant community in Lower Manhattan was another issue that needed to be addressed.

“It is that resident population that creates the neighborhood life,” said Kelly.All of the panelists agreed that further discussion was necessary, but that dispute resolution had the potential to play an important role in the redevelopment process.

Leon Amariglio, a student at Harvard Business School, agreed that the issue could not be resolved easily because of the different layers of conflict associated with the World Trade Center site.In the end, no final decision was reached on what should be done.

“We are not sure yet and uncertainty is a constraint. It would be nice if we could be sure about the future,” said Kelly.

A webcast of the panel is available at www.pon.harvard.edu

Songwriters’ Ball: New albums by Ryan Adams, Rhett Miller and Beck

BY JEFF LEVEN

Alternative country is dead! Long live alternative country! I never knew what that phrase meant anyway. When Uncle Tupelo recorded No Depression back in 1990, the decision to harness the country-folk ethos of Hank Williams or Woody Guthrie and imbue it with the hardscrabble garage punk of the Replacements or the Ramones just might have meant the birth of a genre. But since then, the line between an “alternative country” auteur and a songwriter who happens to have the occasional banjo or mandolin accompaniment has waned. Back when Dylan recorded Blood on the Tracks or the Stones recorded Let It Bleed, it was all called rock n’ roll anyway. And so again today, it seems that supposed alternative country acts represent a major, major percentage of that vast and curious semi-underground that consists of bands just big enough to get talked about all the time in music magazines but not quite big enough to ever hear on the radio or think of playing on TRL. And even then, though, the times they are a’ changin’ — Ryan Adams is fast becoming something resembling a household name, and as other good-looking sensitive types of his ilk (the Old ’97s’ boyish frontman Rhett Miller being a good case in point) make the move to the mainstream and established acts like Beck get folkier and twangier, the line between underground and limelight is fast fading for those in cowboy boots and acoustic guitars. The past few weeks have seen three major releases from what are perhaps the three key players in this phenomenon and for good measure, we’ve reviewed ‘em all:

Ryan Adams Demolition: After his last album Gold put him on everyone’s hot list, rumors began to abound that Ryan was working on nothing less than a four-disc follow-up. For a guy who seems to write three songs on his way out of bed in the morning, this didn’t sound impossible, even if it did sound impossibly pretentious. One disc, word had it, was a reworking of the Strokes’ Is This It, undoubtedly cut for fun between art gallery openings and cocktails with Elton John. You should probably never trust the Internet on these sorts of things, but it smacked of pure, vintage Adams — brash, funny, self-consciously brash and funny, and probably a bit too self-involved for his own damn good. Perhaps sensing the impending backlash, Adams pulled up short and instead released Demolition, a modest thirteen-song hodgepodge collected over five different sessions in Nashville, Stockholm, and Hollywood. As such, Demolition is hard to place — it just feels like a bit of a compilation — full of songs that are independently strong but collectively anonymous.

While he doesn’t break much new ground here, Adams displays his range with ease. “Desire” and “Cry on Demand,” are gentle, pretty musings with a certain anthemic quality to their choruses that he hasn’t really emphasized since his Whiskeytown days. Likewise, “Chin Up, Cheer Up” is a nice little dose of country charm. “Starting to Hurt” and “Nuclear” are mid-tempo rockers that manage to glisten without being overproduced. While he warbles occasionally, Adams’ voice these days can just as easily sound like a poppy slick Christopher Cross as his older, more Mark Eitzel-esque lump-in-your-throat-rum-poet persona. “Dear Chicago” and “Tennessee Sucks,” for instance, are earnest and beautiful as always, but surprisingly light in their touch. Only on the album’s closer “Jesus (Don’t Touch My Baby)” does he bellow out a heavier musing that actually sounds strikingly like what Beck is playing these days (see below), but not quite as rich- there’s a certain leaden quality to the song that robs it of some accessibility. Overall, one gets the sense that Demolition doesn’t lead in any direction in particular, but instead documents a prodigious talent faced with too many choices and armed with too many poses, gestures, inclinations, and abilities to sort it all out at once.

Rhett Miller The Instigator : Even their most devout fans could be forgiven for just assuming that Dallas’ Old ’97s are simply a vehicle for their charismatic singer/guitarist Rhett Miller in the same way that Whiskeytown revolved around Ryan Adams. Interestingly enough, in this, his second solo release (but first on a major label), Miller demonstrates that there was much more to those collaborations than meets the eye. Miller with the Old ’97s is kind of like Buddy Holly fronting Johnny Cash’s band — smart, charming pop floating blithely atop the railroad rumble of a grit-caked honkytonk rhythm section. Take out the twang, and the result is a more unadulterated and polished pop — still very smart and enjoyable listen, but on the whole a bit less interesting.

Miller’s deadpan tone and unrelentingly witty wordplay remain intact — his plaintive vocals on “Four-Eyed Girl” (the album’s true gem) rank with Old ’97s classics like “Barrier Reef” or “Big Brown Eyes.” But what’s missing in many cases is the very thing the ’97s lend to his delivery — a certain swing and bash and groove that in his solo context he is unable to replicate. Indeed, even his attempt to recreate the ’97s’ sound on “The El” just seems a bit overstudied by comparison. Miller is best on this album when he veers more into Rivers Cuomo territory on songs like “Four-Eyed Girl” or “Our Love,” and lets guitarist and producer Jon Brion unleash the album rocker within. Ironically, in some ways The Instigator bears Brion’s fingerprint as much as it does Miller’s, and clearly flourishes like the heavily-layered Blue Oyster Cult guitars on “I Want to Live” are a treat courtesy of Brion alone. Overall, one leaves The Instigator with the impression that Miller is one of those writers who feeds off of his collaborators, rather than entirely generating his own atmosphere. Certainly Miller’s recent fashion spread in Maxim and his occasional appearance on TV suggests that there are some out there set on making Miller into his own industry, but if this album is any indication, that move might be a bit premature.

Beck Sea Change: In the same way that Ryan Adams all but advertised the fact that his first solo album Heartbreaker was a response to a bitter, wounding breakup, so too has Beck been upfront about the fact that Sea Change documents a painful time in his life. But if the challenge of an artist is to take the bruised undersides, confusing thrills, and ebbs and flows of the human experience and channel them into something that has a viscerally communicative power — something that speaks to others while sharing something of the self — then Beck has served his muse well here. Better than well. Simply put, this is absolutely stunningly, beautiful. As heartbreak albums go, this is Van Gogh — effortless, profound, and realms beyond what even most talented contemporaries (like Adams) could ever hope to accomplish. That being said, perhaps the most disarming thing about this album is how pretentious it’s not. While Beck has always been prone to genre study, Sea Change has a simple coherence that transcends and even defies concept. Coming off the heels of Midnite Vultures, which was all sex and porn and camp and inside jokes, this album feels like the weightiest thing in the world, with its soft, cozy, melancholy waft and Beck’s surprisingly sympathetic low-register vocals.

on the back burner long, and I’m guessing not much was written before midnight, either. The twelve songs here tend to slide into each other like segments of a
sedative dream, elaborate but uncharacteristically subtle.

As such, no song in particular stands out as a distinct highlight — “The Golden Age” sets the mood and “Sunday Song” serves as a type of anguished crescendo, but really separating the songs is like trying to parse where one wave stops and another begins. This is a mood album — a cocoon for lonely nights, a postcard from the wee hours of a bleak weeknight, a dirge for the weary but still standing. With Sea Change Beck has finally made the transition from oh-so-smart culture vulture to genuine genius — it’s an arresting masterpiece.

Fenno: Pink army men

BY

Monday morning. Fenno rolled over to turn off her clock alarm. She was a bit surprised to hear FNX playing “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” But maybe her head was still a little fuzzy from the Shaw Hall Crawl. Sixteen drinks is definitely my limit, she decided. There’s no way those three guys hanging around the keg were Oasis. In the shower, she heard BCN playing Barry Maguire’s “Eve of Destruction.” Just to be sure she hadn’t tuned to the wrong station, she worked the dial back to 103.3, which was also playing “Eve of Destruction,” only not in stereo.

Leaving the bathroom, she spotted a flyer one of her roommates had left on the kitchen table. “That’s it! The antiwar rally at the Science Center!” Fenno zipped into her room, dumped everything out of her rayon shirt drawer, and found what she was looking for. A few minutes later, she was outside.

Everything felt somehow different on Mass. Ave. The air had a yesteryear quality to it, and the sunlight reflected softly off the silver wheel rims of six banana-seat bicycles carrying their owners to campus, ringing bells and laughing like it was the first day of finals. The light glimmered a faded yellow, and Fenno knew this would be one of the most important days of her life. She couldn’t wait to see Kevin on her way into school —

“Crystal, turn off that voiceover machine!” Fenno yelled. “Oh, sorry,” was the reply. That Becky Slater was up to her old tricks again, just trying to get attention and making everyone else feel small. She’s just jealous, Fenno thought. Crystal retreated back onto Everett Street. Having regained control of her inner monologue, Fenno arrived peacefully at the Harkbox Café. She wanted a granola bar, but what she found there was even better.

“Hi Renée,” Fenno said to the beaming elf princess floating six inches off the ground in front of her. Renée Dall was always a treat to see in the morning. “Hi Fenno. You look beautiful. That’s such a great skirt. What’s it made of?”

“Thanks so much. It’s copies of The New York Times editorial pages from the last few months. I’m wearing them to the antiwar rally. You’re coming of course?”

The corners of Renée’s mouth turned down ever so slightly. “I really wish I could, but I have to baby-sit the Federalist Society. Without J.R. around to help, it’s so hard to find time to do anything but watch the kids.”

Over Renée’s shoulder, Fenno spied a shirtless Brian Hooper in full face paint standing on a table, about to leap on an unsuspecting but similarly shirtless Mike Geiser, who was minding his own business while beating a drum. Renée turned around just in time. “Brian, get down!” she scolded. “Don’t make me come over there.” She faced Fenno again. “See what I mean? Well, have a good time, and remember, the Republicans want your blood!”

Fenno thought this sounded a little over the top, even for Renée. “Excuse me?”

“You know, the GOP-sponsored blood drive tomorrow.”

“Oh, right,” Fenno answered, a bit relieved. “Of course. See you later.”

Fenno looked at her watch: It was almost noon. She hurried to the front of the Science Center. She could hear the chanting before she could see anyone. “No attack on Iraq! Bill of Rights, give it back!” It rhymed and everything. This was the real deal. Fenno started chanting along. She regretted not bringing a sign. Some of the signs were very bold. They said things like, “No War!” and “Down with War!” Others were more nuanced, appealing to moral sentiment with messages such as “War is Bad” and “Why Have a War When We Could Be Smoking Some Serious Doobage Over at Alex’s House? — Yeah, It’s Okay, He’s Cool” and “Party at Eliot House this Thursday.” These kids really know where it’s at, Fenno reflected.

She had to admit to herself, though, that the “Bill of Rights” part of the chant was a little perplexing. Maybe the undergrads knew something about the Bill of Rights that Fenno didn’t. Or maybe they were saying that America had stolen Iraq’s bill of rights. That would be mean. In any event, Fenno made a note to make sure there were no soldiers quartered in her apartment when she got home. Meanwhile, she was happy to see 200 Ivy League students sending a strong message to Washington. This would be sure to get their attention. Fenno took another brownie from the organizers’ table.

Across the crowd, Fenno saw Maya Alperowicz standing near the edge of the protest and looking over her shoulder every once in a while as if checking to see if a cooler protest might develop. Fenno walked over to her. “Maya, I’m surprised to see you here. Are you against war in Iraq too?”

“Of course I’m against war,” she answered. “War is so last winter. Blockades are the new in thing.”

“But we’ve been doing something like that to Iraq since 1991,” Fenno noted.

“Right. It’s retro chic.”

Fenno thought she’d done her part for the cause. Besides, she didn’t want to miss the rally against discrimination in the military back at the Law School. What a great day, she thought. The Pentagon won’t soon forget this. As Fenno passed the construction on the corner of Kirkland and Oxford streets, she heard a construction worker whistle. “Hey,” Fenno remonstrated. “Sorry lady, but that’s some real saucy political commentary Maureen Dowd’s got written on your butt there.”

Up at the rally, Fenno knew things were off to an especially powerful start when Prof. Dershowitz concluded his address with an exhortation not to “cooperate with Evil.” Fenno could not doubt Dershowitz’s sincerity, as the principle was certainly one that had guided him in his decision to join O.J. Simpson’s “dream team.” Fenno also appreciated Professor Halley’s reminder that deep down, we are all very gay. But Fenno did not also appreciate Professor Halley’s implication that she became aroused whenever Fenno walked into her Family Law class.

Fenno realized she had to think hard about her own personal stance on ‘don’t Ask, don’t tell’ when she saw the little pink army men being passed around. She began to wonder. Army men in pink must be easier to spot and shoot at. Then again, they were very small, so they’d probably be harder to hit than regular-sized army men. So maybe the Army would consider allowing very small openly gay men to enlist as a start. Fenno pulled out one of the brownies she’d taken from the antiwar rally and gave it a good hard sniff.

EVOO-lution

BY ALEX SUNDSTROM

On paper, Evoo never should have worked. A location at a drab intersection in Somerville, a prissy name that stands for “extra-virgin olive oil,” and an equally precious menu, with dishes combining everything from house-made kimchee to barbecued lamb in a single entrée: Better business plans than this have come from the Harvard area. Peter McCarthy’s restaurant is still going strong in its fifth year, however, thanks to dazzling, if uneven, food and curtains that hide Somerville from the customers.

McCarthy loves to play with his food; every dish on the menu is changed slightly from day to day. When his ingredient combinations work, the result is mindblowing. The barbecued rack of lamb ($26) is smoked with tea, brushed with barbeque sauce and served with fried hoisin-glazed tofu, kimchee and radish sprouts. The kimchee alone is better than most Korean restaurants would offer; it is warmed to mute the piquant flavor of its fermented cabbage, and it forms a perfect bridge between the spicier, astringent radish sprouts and the tea-sweetened lamb. Smoking lamb with tea is not terribly novel, but the execution here is perfect, the hearty flavor of lamb drawn out wonderfully by the tea, if overwhelmed a touch by the barbeque sauce.

Other genres of food are recreated with equal ease. The mild, succulent pork in the homemade garlic sausage ($9) is mated with fresh, crispy relish and a habanero coleslaw with tiny bits of sweet cornbread. The dish recalls the best flavors of food at a smoky barbeque joint, and yet makes them seem fresher and more distinct than you ever thought possible.

The showboating turns more serious when McCarthy focuses on seasonal ingredients, with even better results. He uses slices of black truffle to pay homage to the roasted-garlic porcini flan, ($13) served atop local wild hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. The best dish I’ve eaten in Boston, the flan’s heavenly light, creamy texture soaked up the earthy flavor of the porcini mushrooms. This throws the subtle variations in earthiness provided by the truffles and the moist, firm hen-of-the-woods mushrooms into stark relief. Ravioli with porcini, spinach and mozzerella and mortadella cheeses ($18) is transformed by a coulis of local tomatoes, which adds warmth, moisture and a lightly acidic flavor without overwhelming the pasta.

The Achilles heel of Evoo’s food is not impossible complexity, though it has plenty of that; one rather gets the sense that Peter McCarthy had a childhood trauma involving low sodium. A balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture for dipping bread is ruined by romano cheese, which soaks up the oil and reminds me of the last time I licked Cheeto dust off my fingers. The cutesy “Duck, Duck, Goose,” ($23) tries to balance a perfectly-seared piece of duck foie gras with a confit of duck leg and sliced goose breast, but the charred outsides of the goose breast crumble into the sherry-ginger-soy sauce and render it vaguely unpleasant. A salad of fresh beets, apples, Great Hill blue cheese and sour cream ($8) would have been excellent, but the gratuitous addition of hazelnuts, smoked bacon and fried onions made it brackish instead.

Many other dishes are returned to perfection by quick removal of the more obviously salty ingredients. A grilled Maine salmon with oyster mushrooms ($19) is splendid without the ridiculous fried potato straws atop it. A country terrine ($11) mixes pork rillette, pheasant, rabbit and duck pates into a delicious combination of a pate’s rich smoothness and the stringier meat of a rilette, but it tastes like beef jerky until I remove the prosciutto wrapped around it. Once you do, the pistachios and dried cherries embedded in the terrine shine through. The homemade pickles and wild blueberry jam are extremely impressive – how many Cambridge restaurants even make their own bread, let alone pickles?

Evoo’s desserts are less impressive than the best of its entrees, but very comforting nonetheless. The sticky toffee pudding cake with armagnac-prune ice cream ($8) was the best I had, a simple, moist end to the chaotic flavors that preceded it.

For those willing to walk 10 minutes into Somerville and eat their way around a few salty dishes, Evoo is very rewarding. The best argument is the 7-course blind tasting menu ($50), the best way to experience Peter McCarthy’s genius and constant innovation. You might wrinkle your nose occasionally, but you’ll never stop coming back.


EVOO

118 Beacon Street

(617) 661-3866

6-10 (M-Th),

6-11 (F,Sa), 5-11 (Su)

Mickey goes to Washington

BY GREG LIPPER

This week features argument in the long-awaited Supreme Court case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which Larry Lessig and his jilted but loyal Berkman Center friends have challenged the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Passed at the behest of Walt Disney Company, which sought to prevent Mickey Mouse from entering the public domain, the Act retroactively extends copyright terms and allows for unlimited renewals, essentially extending copyright protection indefinitely. Those seeking free love on the Internet clicked their (non-Mickey) mice in protest and reached for their pocket copies of the Constitution. The legal jousting begins.

As always, Disney has capitalized on the scene. Peter Jennings is providing hard-hitting coverage for Disney’s ABC News. Those famished from intellectual stimulation find vendors selling honey jars featuring images of Winnie the Pooh. And those who believe that IP piracy is a crime can purchase stuffed dolls of Larry Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain dressed up as Pirates of the Caribbean. Walt Disney himself has been defrosted so that he can attend oral argument. He nearly found himself on the bench when he was mistaken for Justice Stevens.

The justices have also parlayed Disney’s presence into appearances on the silver screen. Chief Justice Rehnquist quickly landed the starring role in The Lion King, and Justices Ginsburg and Scalia will be headlining the remake of Beauty and the Beast. Justice Breyer’s attempt to benefit from his uncanny resemblance to Mr. Burns fell short, however, when he learned that The Simpsons is not a Disney vehicle.

Legally, things look glum for our favorite Palo Alto domiciliary. Lessig has never appeared before the Supreme Court. I’m not really sure if he’s ever even litigated a case, but since I am hesitant to make new defamation law as a mere RECORD columnist, I’ll leave that as a question mark. What I do know is that the Supremes will be salivating for the chance to teach this long-haired, ivory-tower hacker a thing or two about practicing law. And I for one will applaud their efforts. Because any “lawyer” so thin-skinned as to ban students from his preparatory exercise in the Ames Courtroom deserves to find himself in the prone position with Ted Olson looming overhead.

Adding to the Internet-hippies’ woes are their arguments and their allies. Lessig argues that the Copyright Clause has limits. For support, he analogizes the Supreme Court decisions in Lopez and Morrison, premised on the notion that there are limits to the commerce clause. One can’t help but cringe at his naivete: “Hey there Evil Supreme Court majority of five, I am trying to use your conservative revolution for liberal purposes, so please go along with me!” Imagine Rehnquist’s glee when he reaffirms that evil conservative decisions will be used for evil conservative purposes and evil conservative purposes alone, thank you.

Falling short on the merits (there is a First Amendment argument in there somewhere, to which the answer is fair use), Lessig has turned to a high-powered network of amici curiae. First are briefs written by the intellectual property professors and the con law professors, respectively. Finally recovered from their efforts to disseminate anti-Bush v. Gore propaganda, the legal academy will once again learn how to spell “ineffectual.” Even better is the brief written by economists, including Arrow, Coase and Friedman, who opine that the Act’s costs outweigh its benefits. Not eager to be told how to decide cases by anyone, let alone a bunch of out-of-work number-crunchers, the Supremes may take great pleasure in shouting, “Run a regression on this!” at a fleeing Lessig.

So have we lost hope? Will The Country Bears and Tarzan remain inaccessible to the next generation of frugal cinema aficionados?

Lessig does have an ace up his sleeve — this was an act of Congress. The Supreme Court majority hates Congress more than Sonny Bono hates obstacles on a ski course. Some say that the Federalism revolution is motivated not by a love for the states but by a hatred for Congress; some also say that Miranda is still good law because the only thing Rehnquist hates more than Miranda is Congress trying to tell him what the law is. Striking down this act would not only censure the current Congress, but censure every Congress that ever retroactively extended copyright protection — dating back to the 1790s.

There’s also Plan B. Eyeing the swing vote, Zittrain pretends to be a bright-eyed high school computer geek, sneaks into Justice Kennedy’s chambers, and begins playing a bootlegged copy of Bambi. Kennedy, always eager to prove that he’s not such a bad guy after all, pens a pro-Lessig opinion chock full of the sort of incoherent platitudes that betrays his BSA past. The Constitution is alive and well.