This blog is about living the American Dream at the dawn of the new millennium! I am a nameless, mid-20s, bottom 150 Law School Graduate who finds himself marginally attached and awash in a sea of overeducated but underpaid, indentured peers who feel, and were, duped by the promise of a better life through debt and modern chemistry. Let's get to the point. The Law School Industrial Complex is a scam that has destroyed a generation out of greed. Vendettas were once legal and the pursuit of one was seen not only as moral, but necessary. This newly minted lawyer is going to continue the practice. DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL YOU MORONS! Ce qui suit est ce qui reste!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Boomers Can Blow Me: British Invasion

"What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?" ~ Cicero

"Every generation needs a new revolution." ~ Thomas Jefferson


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Law Students Are Just Like Us! Felons!!!

"An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain - the equality of all men."  ~ Ignazio Silone

"If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place." ~ Lord Halifax



So I was going through my daily routine of information sources, see above, and read about the thrilling conclusion to one my favoritest stories of an aspiring law student's shenanigans ever.  Now my absolute favorite is that piece of shit from HLS who committed arson and got away scott-free for no other reason than he was an HLS student 

*Sidenote, I sincerely hope that jackass gets brutally raped by a pack of ravenous hyenas or at the very least has to field test Bob Dole's viagra prescription...that way he'll have something to blog about when Above the Law hires him to write about the gay dating scene in NY BigLaw

No no, the story of law student gone batshit crazy is good old Kumari Fulbright (see below).


Welp, she done be going off to prison in the Cactus State or whatever the fuck represents Arizona. Readers? Any idea? I'm not wasting my time Googling a place that should still rightfully be a territory.



Good Luck Kumari!!! Maybe you'll become the next great made for TV movie about someone who pulls themselves up by their bootstraps, gets that jailhouse law degree and fights for justice!! Or maybe you better learn how to make a shiv real quick...

Till Next Time!!! Watch Out For Drunk Harvard Law Students!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All the Real Reasons Lemmings Go to Grad School



College Humor hits it on the head again...sadly this pretty much sums it up for 99.9% of the population whether you're a Master's Student, PhD, or Law Student.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

City With Stupid Children In It!!! Part Tres - What Makes An Education?

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." ~ Albert Einstein, considered functionally retarded for the majority of his education 

"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it." ~ J. Bronowski
 


Miss me fuckers? Why yes, this has been the longest period of time between posts since I started this blog, and that is on purpose.  As many of my fellow scambusters have commented on before, it's awfully depressing once you get a full grasp of the scope of the problem we rail against (doing it on a regular basis very quickly turns into a downward spiral for me although I've heard it helps some to know they're not alone--as if seeing other people drowning with you in the Atlantic after the Titanic went down somehow made up for the fact that you are still going to drown).  I wanted to give this post some thought and look at the world around me (as I may very well be nearing the end of my blogging days).  Which brings us to my current topic:

It's been said that an educational system isn't worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn't teach them how to make a life--but it really isn't worth a damn if it doesn't do either.  

The reason that education is often touted as a silver bullet is that it's assumed the key to all of our problems as a society reside in our minds.  Education is supposedly like re-engineering the mind to be better.  I should know.  The administrators and powers that be in the Higher Ed Industrial Complex would have many of you innocent readers believe, or at least include it in their catalogs & brochures, that I am an example of the "elite."  Having reached a pinnacle of the educational mountain...a spot worthy of admiration, recognition, and emulation...I represent what you could one day hope to be.

I can firmly assert for you that my "doctorate" in law has neither given me the knowledge nor opportunity to make a living let alone know what constitutes a good life.  If anything, I think my study of the law has hurt me as I am now far less creative, bold, or generally upbeat than I used to be.  Whenever I do anything, the issue of liability always pops up whereas before I only thought about responsibility (these are two very different concepts).  I don't believe that the type of knowledge we want to endow to students can be actually be learned in a classroom...in fact there doesn't seem to be much of anything being learned in the classrooms.



So this all started with me getting pissed at the release of a bullshit documentary entitled Waiting for Superman created by a child of ultimate privilege (Yes I actually do know the Guggenheims so I don't mind saying they're an odd bunch irl, no it's not bragging and it probably makes it easier to identify me--but I bring it up so it doesn't sound like it's the bitter ranting of someone who is just suffering from class envy).  I loathe going into an exploration of another person's intent, for that is a slippery slope, but I can look at the argument being presented.  Suffice to say, that it's the kind of film that could only be made by an outsider looking in (meaning someone with Guggenheim's background and political bent).  In the same way that all many law schools put the onus on the individual student to recoup the losses from shelling out a ridiculous tuition just for the privilege of having a chance at practicing law, also called blaming the victim, so too does Waiting for Superman make the error of focusing on people and not the systems in which they operate.

I could waste a lot of space by lambasting what's wrong with the argument presented by Guggenheim, but if you really care that much about the first step in the process depicted below, ***See the Emperor Has No Clothes On argument by Professor Ayers...of course he's not tenured.



Now as the greatest fucking place on Earth ever...you would assume that Amerika, also having the finest higher educational system ever known to existence, would have a citizenry who are really fucking smart or at the very least "educated."  Well...you would be entirely wrong.  We've been steadily getting stupider as a society with every passing decade.  Well that's really just hyperbole isn't it?

What I meant was that we have been getting progressively more ignorant as time marches on as a society (which in a lot of ways is way way worse because it's largely a conscious decision whereas you can't fix stupid).  Waiting for Superman and other like-minded education reformers bemoan the disparity in testing scores and opportunities for all to "thrive" in high school and get a chance to go onto college or even *gasp* graduate or law school.  Here's the thing, I don't equate formalized education to providing a better life.  There was a brief glimmer in American life when having a degree did actually help, but as many recent grads know...today not so much.

There's a fantastic book entitled "The Dumbest Generation" by Mark Bauerlein which speaks directly to this subject.  It's also the only book I've come across, amongst the many lately released about how the television, videogames & the interwebs are making us stupider as a people by usage alone.  Bauerlein's book actually makes coherent arguments instead of many authors who just write the equivalent of a drawn out, Frankenstein-like cry of "Fire Bad!" while watching people using facebook or texting.

**For more on this trend you can read articles like this one Is Google Making Us Stupid? which I believe just became a full fledged book entitled The Shallows (he's part of the anti-tech crowd).  Also check out the counter arguments by people who claim that this is really just an older generation completely out of touch, here's one from a Video Game Guru and here's one slamming Old, Out of Touch male fiction authors portraying young whippersnappers as the assclowns that ruined America.

However, I don't blame technology, at least not entirely, for the increase in our societal stupidity.  Instead it's a cultural shift where we're no longer actually focusing on learning.  We've got a program that's focused on testing not thinking (certainly not questioning).

The human brain is basically the best computer on earth.  Like all computers it has a couple of key functions: memory and processing.  If we look at how people think, we all have a memory of figures, facts, data, etc.  For example, any 1L can tell you that an assault is the immediate apprehension of blah diggity blah.  Even though many of us read on a regular basis (as those news stories the picture box about e-reader sales would have me believe).  When we do read, we aren't reading the kind of stuff that makes up a "healthy" literary diet (*See Twilight).

Although as we're all going to be diabetic in fifty years, the fact that we both read and eat crap shouldn't be surprising.  That we're reading crap like Twilight or spending the majority of our time watching television will affect only the "memory" part of our brains.

The far more important element is the processing part.  If we follow our assault example, this is where we would look at a fact pattern and explain how what happened relates to the rule of law.  From what I and many of my friends who are teachers will tell you about the trials and tribulations of passing knowledge onto the young, whether it's elementary school or community college courses on "justice" which is not a bad gig for you soon to be Lawyers out there, the Holy Grail of learning is critical pedagogy (go ahead and google it as that is replacing your brain functions).

Teachers would love to teach their students how to think, process, question, etc. but they can't because they have to spend all their time focusing on some bullshit standardized test.  Here's the type of question you will be asked, here's what the answer the test wants is, here is your needed score, blah blah blah.  There actually used to be a time where tests of any kind didn't exist, but then so many people started going to school that they had to create some way of grading whether the student got anything from their time learning.

Here's one problem with a test.  Testing benefits a very specific portion of the population.  This is exacerbated by ongoing, unaddressed structural issues that have persisted across generations.  However it's pretty clear that it's become an enemy, or at the very least an unwelcome nuisance, to real education.

For those of you who've stayed with me, here's where school/education comes in.  Comparatively, America has more people spending more of their life in school, be it elementary or postgraduate, getting an education than ever before.  If that's the case, how in the ever loving fuck can anyone explain some of the facts accumulated in Bauerlein's book?

Here's some of my favs:

- 2001 NAEP history exam of high school seniors, 57% scored below basic on history knowledge [basic defined as "partial master of prerequisite knowledge and skills that allow for proficient work at a selected grade level].  52% thought that Gemany, Japan or Italy were America's allies in World War II.  When this test was administed in 2006, 75% couldn't explain a photo of a movie theater's door that read "Colored Entrance."

- 2005 NAEP science exam for high school seniors, 46% of the test takers didn't reach the basic threshold.

Uh maybe it gets better in other areas or higher grade levels?  How do the college kids fare?

- Well how about for starters that there has been a 20% drop in engineering degrees awarded since 1985.  I wonder what the percentage increase of law degrees awarded since 1985 has been (and no I don't mean that rare few who have science backgrounds and go into patent type work when they can find it).  Of all the doctorates awarded by American Universities in the sciences like engineering, over half go to foreign born students.

- 22% of college seniors recognized a line from the Gettysburg Address, but 98% recognized Snoop Dogg

-63% could not identify Iraq on a map

It goes on and on and on...

When there are even modest improvements in some of these indicators, as in the latest NAEP scores released from 2009, there's a very unsettling phenomenon...


"Reading scores for 12th-graders have ticked up slightly since 2005, but have dipped when compared with 1992. The reading-score gaps between white students and their black and Hispanic counterparts haven't budged."

ALSO

"State test scores are revealing for Jefferson County Public School students.  Here’s a look at the number of proficient students in reading based on last year’s state test scores.

-    70% of White Students

-    47% of Black Students
-    61% of Hispanic Students
-    79% of Asian Students

“It is an issue of racism, passive racism.  It’s not something where someone is trying to hurt somebody. It’s a passive racism and it sometimes comes out as a culture and not being able to work with that,” said Dr. Bernard Minnis with Jefferson County Public Schools. Minnis says there is a cultural divide in the classroom.  Often times, teachers don’t understand some of the challenges Black kids face, issues like poverty, low parental involvement, and tough neighborhoods. There is also the issue of kids not wanting to appear “too White”.  There is sometimes a perception that doing well in class means you are not being Black enough. “It really does hold kids back.  I watched my kids struggle with that ‘you don’t act Black, you talk White,’” said Minnis."
[taken from here, also this trend holds nationally not just for Jefferson County for those of you wondering...in fact a lot of other studies shows the gap is far far worse]

We're teaching everyone what they need on a test by test basis rather than say trying to create a society of well-informed, thinking citizens.

Here's another interesting correlation between test scores & who does well on them:



Yes that's right.  The wealthier your family is the stronger the correlation is to high test scores.  Now it may have something to do with the fact that a lot of these wealthy parents have the kind of disposable income that they can put their 5 year old into tutoring classes for thousands of dollars.

Anyone who has an eye on law school knows exactly how important the LSAT is to their so called future (which is why so many people shell out thousands of dollars for study courses, programs, materials etc.).  Does it have any bearing on law school performance or the "art" of lawyering?  I and many others have doubt, but that doesn't matter.  The entire legal profession has become ruled by 2 things: the LSAT & the US News Ranking.  That's it and that's not a good thing.

When you have a system that focuses primarily on tests it's not education.  A test is supposed to function like a gauge for measurement.  Imagine if rather than enjoying the experience of actually driving a car like on those black and white commercials, you focused instead only on how well the fuel gauge was moving on the console. 

Education in America is not about educating or enlightening.  It's become a stagnant pool of outdated methods and measurements.  The only ones who truly benefit are those with enough resources, usually financial rather than intellectual, to escape the matrix-like environment in which they find themselves.  In essence, it's a failure of what public education was meant to be.  School was never intended to make "teachers" wealthy (I put teachers in quotations because I'm sure many school deans, presidents & administrators self identify as teachers).

Nor was it meant to impoverish those who attend.  Maybe that's why so many first world, industrialized nations have removed education from the market place.  Those who can't or don't want to attend school past a certain point don't have to...and society will figure out a way to allow you to actually contribute while earning a living (in say the trades).

I'm sure Nando knows how much public law schools, in say California, are charging in tuition compared to their peers (I'd be willing to bet it's disproportionately high and it's gotten totally ridiculous compared to where it was two decades ago).



When I started to learn about this, back when I gave a fuck, I had the same reaction as when we I looked around the room at my peers as we spent incredible amounts of time in my law school classes on what used to be considered basic civics (such as what are the three branches of government, their responsibilities, what the constitution and its many amendments are, how people get electecated..derp derp derp).  This was literally the first time many of them had come across some of this information.  Rather than teach me which court form I will actually have to include with my latest motion in my local court house, I had to hear about how some asshole used to divide his land in feudal Europe.

And this is where education becomes nothing more than a vehicle to continue a destructive cycle, the systems that supposedly creates "lawyers" as the so called "defenders of liberty" is a complete sham, and we're totally fucked as a generation all dovetails nicely into the simple act of a child wanting to read a book.



Stay Tuned for the thrilling conclusion of A City With Stupid Children In It!!! Till Next Time, Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow!!!