I heard from one of my friends who took the South Carolina bar that the only way you are allowed to type your exam is with an actual typewriter. Seriously. In my weakened post-bar mental state, I found this to be incredibly funny and antiquated. Needless to say, my friend did not type the exam.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I heard from one of my friends who took the South Carolina bar that the only way you are allowed to type your exam is with an actual typewriter. Seriously. In my weakened post-bar mental state, I found this to be incredibly funny and antiquated. Needless to say, my friend did not type the exam.
Posted by ECL at 1:23 PM
Friday, July 27, 2007
Nothing overly legal about this one, but I saw on the news tonight that Aquafina's labeling "Bottled at P.W.S." (or something to that effect) really stands for "Public Water Source." Is this really that surprising that a giant publicly traded corporation like Pepsi would cut as many corners as they can to make a profit? Frankly, I am more surprised that it isn't worth more.
One article summarizes this rather jokey story here: Aquafina labels to spell out source. I'm sure the tap water purification process is complex, and apparently a seven step process. I imagine it as something like a giant Brita pitcher (and yes, I find the fact they have used Brita pitchers for sale rather disturbing).
All of this reminds me of a line from the Simpsons' Flaming Moe's episode: "He may have come up with the recipe [of using cough syrup], but I came up with the idea of charging $6.95 for it."
And speaking of the Simpsons, I heard the movie is reminiscent of the more classic Simpsons episodes, which makes me more inclined to go see it. Perhaps at the next showing tonight.
Posted by ECL at 6:50 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2007
First, I am glad it's over, and no, it hasn't sunk in yet. It is nice that this cloud that is the bar is finally pushed away. More thoughts on this whole bar process later. The waiting game will definitely suck. I'm heading to a bbq and then perhaps the Simpsons movie and the golf course for a well deserved break, but I wanted to put down my quick impression of the MBE. Anyone else who has a comment about them, please feel free to post.
As far as MBE, I got done the morning session and thought, "well, I wasted a ton of time doing these PMBR questions." They were nothing like the real thing - and the blue book PMBR test is certainly unrepresentative given that every MBE question had a single, relatively short fact pattern. For that matter, the Barbri questions aren't any more representative, since I did a lot of them also, but I say they are better only because their answers are more clear and useful. So, would I recommend PMBR? Absolutely not.
Would I recommend doing 2000 multiple choice problems to prep? I will have a better answer to that when the results come out. I am inclined to say that if you read the Convisor mini-review a hundred times, that would probably be just as, if not more useful. There are a thousand ways I could have studied differently, and hopefully I won't have to deal with this again in any capacity other than if I decide to take another bar (meaning that I certainly hope I passed, but I honestly have no idea how I did on the MBE).
I do recall PMBR telling us in the beginning of the six day that you will walk out of the MBE feeling like you guessed at 150 of the 200 questions. Other than that solitary comment, nothing else PMBR told me was worth the $800 it costs. I wonder if I would have listened had someone told me this or had I read it back in March. Maybe, probably not though. But I think your study time may be more worthwhile simply reading the convisor outlines than doing hundreds of multiple choice problems and stressing over it.
What is worse is when I saw a fact pattern that was remotely familiar and thought, well, at least I'll get this one. And then in looking at the answers, could not find the same choices that were in the book. Still don't believe me? Reread the PMBR opinion and make an informed decision to spend your time and money more productively.
Did anyone else think this same way? Please, post a comment to benefit the whole. Read more!
Posted by ECL at 12:28 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
They say that the smartest a lawyer ever is is right before he takes the bar exam. I will add that the dumbest a lawyer is is right afterwards.
I hear from my friends who took the Virginia bar that the afternoon session was horrible, if not impossible. At least if it's like that for some, it's probably like that for all. As far as the essays for me for my state... eh... I will refrain comment. I can only hope that the MBE are a little more, shall we say, representative. Bitching about PMBR and Barbri to follow when I recover from my forthcoming hangover.
So, with only 200 questions away from being done with law school and this sort of long-term process hanging over my head forever (hopefully), I can't wait to get out of this hotel and booze it up tonight.
Anybody with comments about their relative bars, feel free to post them.
Posted by ECL at 7:23 AM
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I looked at my calendar and saw that like many others, I have gone nearly 30 straight days without a day off. This is crazy. I wouldn't wish this type of summer on anyone, and only those who have taken the bar can truly appreciate the efforts (minimal or otherwise) that go into trying to pass it. I hit the average of 2000 multiple choice questions and then some, and I can only hope that is (a) enough and (b) the answers are right. And (c), that some of the patterns do repeat, and I will recognize them and then remember what I put the first time (or at least what they said is the right answer).
And with that, it's time to buckle down and spend what precious time remains going over outlines and hoping I can issue spot enough to pass this damn thing. Little or no internet, and little to no outside contact, and soon enough I'll be able to say, 'that's a bar.' And then, 'where's the bar?' I pray there are no disasters, national or otherwise, that prevent, postpone, or interrupt any of us from finishing this so-called "rite of passage."
Good luck. Read more!
Posted by ECL at 8:00 AM
Friday, July 20, 2007
I've been fairly good about not having any major freak out sessions this summer. The one thing that does worry me, though, is that something will screw up with my laptop next week. I know that this has happened to a couple of my friends who took New York and California last year, and they both passed (after writing the remainder of their exams), but what a nightmare. And so that was what last night's awful dream was about. I was glad to wake myself up. Unfortunately, there's nothing much I can do about preventing this from happening other than hoping that it doesn't.
For those of you not so fortunate to be typing, at least you shouldn't have to worry about your pencils not working or somehow failing. And why hasn't anyone challenged the rational basis behind having a laptop lottery (for any states that have one)? I don't think California does, so how can New York need one?
And around the internet waste of time circuit comes a couple other funny anecdotes:
Why you should write the answer in your MBE booklet just in case the bar examiners lose your answer sheet
Above the Law's collection of bar review horror stories and other random thoughts
Barbri Video (Spoof): The Virginia Law Libel Show
The last one is definitely worth 3 minutes of your time and can only be appreciated by exam takers, law students, or those who have taken any of barbri's review courses.
And with that, my last un-free friday begins. Read more!
Posted by ECL at 8:17 AM
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Like many thousands of others who unwittingly got suckered into PMBR's trap, they sent out an email this afternoon with their "top 10" tips for success on the bar. My number 1 tip? Stop reading their answers. Chances are they are more aggravating then helpful. At the same time, I will say that they are right probably 90-95% of the time. Of course out of 2000+ questions, that means 200 are at least questionable, and I know of at least 10 that are flat out wrong. What does this mean? Nothing. The sad thing is that I eventually will be a PMBR statistic and there's nothing I can do about it.
But since I finally finished PMBR's questions with still a few days to spare, I thought I would celebrate by watching one of my favorite office episodes, Ben Franklin. Perhaps one of the funniest quotes comes from this episode:
Elizabeth: I'm Elizabeth, I'm the dancer that was requested.
Dwight: Ok, I specifically ordered a stripper.
Elizabeth: I'm the stripper.
Dwight: Oh, ok good. In the future, please identify yourself as such.
Michael: So you know who turned out to be kind of a creep? Ben Franklin. And Elizabeth the stripper? Gave me great advice. Which rhymed. Really makes you wonder how Ben Franklin can become president but someone like Elizabeth can’t.
Posted by ECL at 8:56 PM
And so we enter the final half mile of the bar review marathon (or law school marathon as it is).
One of my friends gave this analogy to the bar exam: The bar exam is like a giant wall that is off in the distance. Nobody is quite sure how big the wall is, but you have to go over it, and you need a ladder to do so. Throughout the summer, you are adding rungs to the ladder by studying and all the while the wall is getting closer and closer. Some people have been building giant ladders, others have footstools, still others probably think they can scale it without a ladder. All you can hope is that by the time you get to the wall, you have enough rungs on your ladder that you can get over the wall. In the end, as long as you have enough to scale it, it doesn't matter whether one person has more rungs than you or not. It's the same wall either way.
To add to that, I would echo a general piece of law school advice given to me a long time ago: don't talk about the test afterwards and try and avoid listening to those yahoos that do. Everybody is going to miss somethings and get others, and in the end, all you need is enough to pass. This is a general competency test, not a law school exam. At the same time, it's a lot denser than a law school exam in that it tests a broader range of material in a shorter amount of time. So what? For the most part, it's all review of stuff you've done three years ago, so it's just a matter of remembering how you scaled that first wall to begin with.
And with that, I am off to the library to test some of these rungs. Hopefully I will avoid as many people as I can, which is easier said than done.
Posted by ECL at 7:55 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I was on Above the law today and saw they have a thread regarding the pending bar exam. I only spent a few minutes reading through the various comments but they are pretty funny. If you get a two minute break, it is either a source of laughter, or it will make you feel bad that you aren't spending your free time studying.
Speaking of which, it is time for a dinner break.
And if you are one of the few poor souls who are confined to the library, I can certainly empathize with you - it is crazy distracting as of late to the point that maybe I will go to a bookstore or a movie theater since that may be less hectic.
Posted by ECL at 5:18 PM
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I've looked through a few of the Barbri advanced drills - they are impossible or at least, nearly impossible to do well in (even in subjects you are good at). Thus, if you are hurting for questions (either from exhausting PMBR or Barbri), just go back through the ones you've already done and do a few again, or do some sort of mixed subject review with the practice MBEs (either the mixed subject section in the drills book, the second barbri mbe, or the pmbr blue book mbe).
At this point in the game, you don't need barbri to shake your confidence. The intro are a good confidence booster at this point, but I absolutely recommend against wasting your time trying to do the advanced drills. The only thing advanced about them is that they key in on the most nitpicky of things. Even law professors aren't that evil. I can't imagine the MBE will be.
Back to the library where the craziness level has reached a fever pitch.
Posted by ECL at 8:20 AM
Monday, July 16, 2007
There are a lot of things worth commenting about as of late and I simply don't have time at the moment to do it. A few random thoughts for the day though:
If you have time and want to see an actual, seemingly intelligent battle of wits going on between CNN and Michael Moore, visit this link, where CNN debates various points Moore has challenged about a CNN broadcast regarding his movie. I tend to side with CNN since I am well-versed in how easy it is to manipulate statistics and found myself recalling this quote from the Simpsons after reading this article:
Kent Brockman: Mr. Simpson, how do you respond to the charges that petty vandalism such as graffiti is down eighty percent, while heavy sack-beatings are up a shocking nine hundred percent?
Homer Simpson: Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forfty percent of all people know that. (quote is from Wikisimpsons)
CBS is planning to run a show about 40 kids who are running a town on their own. Kid Nation premiers this fall. It may be worth watching one episode, but I think I would be annoyed pretty quickly.
Lastly, and speaking of quotes, I often think of this one from the Shawshank Redemption when I'm doing multiple choice problems (quoted from someone who appears to have lifted the script or wasted a lot of time typing it out):
TOMMY: Well. It's for shit. (gets up in disgust). Wasted a whole fuckin' year of my time with this bullshit!
ANDY: May not be as bad as you think.
TOMMY: It's worse! I didn't get a fuckin' thing right! Might as well be in Chinese!
ANDY: We'll see how the score comes out.
TOMMY: I'll tell you how the goddamn score comes out...
Tommy grabs the test, wads it, slam-dunks it into the trash.
TOMMY: Two points! Right there! There's your goddamn score! (storms out). Goddamn cats crawlin' up trees, 5 times 5 is 25, fuck this place, fuck it!
I don't recommend crumbling up your scantron though after the MBE.
Posted by ECL at 8:19 AM
Sunday, July 15, 2007
A lot of people at this stage of the race are asking whether PMBR's 3-day review is worth it. Even the guys over at Blogging the Bar wonder whether it is worth it. Here is my response.
First, the PMBR 3-day is crap. It is at least as bad as the Barbri 3-day, and is probably harder. I say that because they self-proclaim it to be, and I have no reason to doubt it. Hence the 36-point curve (after dropping, as they put it, 20 or so "gimme" questions). According to the answer book, the average on the PMBR 3-day is 94 or 95, but I think if you take it later in the summer, it is closer to Barbri's 3-day average of 110. Likewise, the Barbri practice test in the drills book, as well as the PMBR blue blue book MBE probably is easier, and I suspect the second Barbri mbe curve is comparable to PMBR's 25 point one.
If you were well above (or even slightly above) the 110 average on the test, you may consider spending your time studying for the essays. Likewise, if you sat through Barbri's 3-day review, PMBR's is probably not that much different and for the point or two you may gain, your time may be better spent doing something else (including reviewing your answers on your own. My personal thoughts having sat through it until the first break can be found here. The reverse would apply if you have Barbri's 3-day before PBMR's. (and yes, PBMR is funnier to say than PMBR).
If you were below average or didn't do quite as well as you wanted, that's okay. In this case, I would say that you may want to sit through the lecture and try and absorb some of their tricks and tips. If you can see why you got what you got wrong, then that's half the battle on the assumption that these questions are mildly similar to the real thing.
If, like my friend in Florida who is taking it next week and is worried about his time management with the finish line so close, you are also worried that the PMBR 3-day review will be a gigundo (or ginormous as it is) waste of time, you can always go to it and play it by ear. As I've stated many times over the past two months, PMBR's already won by taking your money. They could care less whether you attend their lecture or not. If I had more monopolistic powers like Barbri (or PMBR since they have sort of colluded on the whole scheduling around each other thing), I would operate the same sort of business plan. It's nearly as good as convincing everyone that a 50 cent cup of coffee is worth $3.
My final thoughts on whether PMBR is worth it or if Barbri (or Micromash or Pieper) is enough will come after the bar. As I have stated many times, I think if you have had decent grades in law school and are disciplined to study on your own, the bar review course should be plenty and if it comes with the barbri problems, those should be plenty. If you are hurting for more problems, you can avoid all of PMBR's lectures by buying the books on ebay sometime in December or early May. More on that in August.
Lastly, what does it take to get listed on some of these other legal blogs? In particular, and in addition to Blogging the Bar (which has been added to my side list by the way), I would like to be added to the blog roll at Above the Law and Top Law Student.com for starters (or at least its bar exam blogs link).
Posted by ECL at 7:57 AM
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I wrote about the PMBR 3-day lecture a couple of weeks ago, and my friend was right in her comments. Although, I left after about an hour and a half to go study on my own, so I will add my two cents as to what I noticed going over the first 25 or so problems.
As I think I mentioned yesterday, I recognized at least 30 questions throughout the test that I had seen before. As a result, I'm not sure whether that is indicative of the real test or not, and I guess I'll find out one way or another soon enough. Again, of the fact patterns questioned, none had more than 2 questions, which doesn't seem realistic at all, but again, we shall see.
The lecture itself was fine. As most of us are aware at this point, there's going to be a curve on the real thing, and the curve will take into account for the fact that the board of bar examiners is grading 190 out of the 200 asked. Since the curve is usually between 15-25 (although I seem to remember some earlier PMBR lecturer saying that the range was 7-21 or thereabouts), they will chip it up a little more just in case. So, I would think that for most bars, you will want to be aiming for a raw score of at least 125, but better to be in the 130-135 range to be safe. Check your jurisdiction. I'm no expert on test taking, so I'm sure you could go lower and may still be okay. "Just be brilliant" as one of my college professors used to say, and you should be fine. Great advice for an objective test, but hopefully you get the point.
From what I sat through of the lecture, it was simple enough. I just didn't get a lot out of it. As a result, I left and spent the rest of the day going through the exam myself to figure out why my seemingly perfect answer sheet was not as accurate as I thought. It made for a very entertaining afternoon with some choice expletives making appearances throughout the session, and I feel that was much more productive, although I think I probably could have done 200 questions on my own from the Barbri book or somewhere else and have gotten just as much out of it.
So, is the three-day worth it? If you didn't do the 6-day, it's probably not too bad to sit down and do a practice full-length test. Also, if you didn't already do Barbri, it probably wouldn't hurt. Then again, at this point in the game, your time may be better spent studying on your own.
I know PMBR has another one in it's book and I'm going to have to take time to do that as well this week. It certainly can't hurt doing 200 more problems under some sort of testing conditions, so I would say that it may be worth taking. If you don't, and you know you have the discipline to study hard on your own, and can do your own mock test, then do that. Buy the books off ebay or PMBR and save your time. The lecture doesn't tell you anything significantly different than what you should have already learned at this point.
Lastly, my comment regarding our PMBR's lecturer's remark that "people who read outlines fail bars," I find that very disturbing and poor advice. How else are you supposed to learn this stuff? It certainly isn't from reading through PMBR's doofy explanations.
Posted by ECL at 5:53 PM
Friday, July 13, 2007
Despite my overwhelming sense of urgency regarding the upcoming bar exam, I decided that since I had already paid for the PMBR 3-day, I may as well go ahead and take it. Needless to say, my thoughts are rather unimpressive. My initial sentiments regarding this course as being completely unnecessary if you have any sort of discipline remain.
The test isn't bad - unlike the real thing, you pretty much are crammed into a small auditorium with people flanking you from all sides. People can up and leave whenever and the annoying "buzz" of "silent" cell phones is readily apparent and just as distracting as it normally is. At least for the real thing (supposedly), they ban people from leaving with so much time left.
The test itself consists of 100 questions in the morning session and 100 more at night. I'm not sure how much it truly simulates the real thing, other than the time constraints, because maybe five fact patterns actually consisted of multiple questions, but the most questions there ever was of a single fact pattern was 2. I would think that PMBR's red or blue book questions that have more than three or four questions in one fact pattern would be a little more realistic. After all, I fully expect there to be fact patterns with questions from multiple subjects. So I am left to wonder why PMBR wouldn't emphasize this on their test.
Some, if not more than a handful of questions are from the PMBR six-day (which are largely duplicated in the PMBR red and blue workbooks). I haven't graded it yet, but hopefully things I got wrong the first time I didn't get wrong this time. They say if you get 120 right, you are in the 90th percentile. They also say the average score is a 94 or 95. I guess that's good, but again, it says very little if this test isn't representative of the real thing. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
I may sit through the morning lecture tomorrow since I've already paid for it, then bag the rest of it to do more productive studying on my own. Having already found Barbri's 3-day lecture largely worthless, I can't imagine this one is any better (although I guess hearing things is never that bad).
From people who have already taken it, it supposedly is better than Barbri's (or worse, depending on who you talk to), and in either case, I highly doubt they will tell me anything that they haven't already told me during the six-day course. I think my time at this point is better spent reviewing for the essay topics. As much as I would love to contest some of their questions in the red book to their direct agents, my time has become ultra valuable at this point.
There are a couple of questions that are so ridiculous they are funny. For example, one of them dealt with some sort of privacy or defamation claim and among the choices of evil to pick from, you could have picked between a two-headed baby and a mother breast feeding her kid. I can't remember what I picked, but I remember thinking what the heck is this? Hopefully that isn't the case in a couple weeks.
So, my take on PMBR's 3-day course? Again, if you have any sort of discipline, you could do 200 multiple choice on your own and grade them yourself. Of course, if, like me, you were suckered into this course by means of the "PMBR scare tactics," it certainly doesn't hurt. As I've suggested before, it's good for some people and less good for others - if you are confident in your studying habits, you probably are better off either just using Barbri's multiple choice problems or buying the PMBR books off of ebay (or simply from them).
As compared to the Barbri MBE, I find it comparable. Again, if you have the discipline, I think both Barbri and PMBR is overkill. But, it certainly doesn't hurt having 2 (or 3) MBE's under your belt before the real thing either. Barbri has a second full length MBE in the Drills book; PMBR's is in the blue book. Go crazy.
If I have anything to add about the lectures (if I do wind up psyching myself into going tomorrow morning), I will write about it briefly tomorrow.
Posted by ECL at 6:08 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
So I see from the Barbri website that the official results of the Summer '07 MBE are in. Almost 30,000 of us (not counting me, since I did not) submitted their scores to Barbri. Another blogger also reports that the scores came back, and I agree that the scoring was a little off. Oh well.
The average raw score was a 109.1. Somebody got as low as a 21, and at least one clown wanted to screw with Barbri's statistics and everyone else and filled out 199 correct answers. I nearly did the same thing, for the same reason, but didn't waste my time. It is still funny nonetheless. Good for that person, since I'm sure it freaked a lot of people out. This makes me think that the 21 is fake also, since you'd really have to be a bad guesser. Or you used a number 3 pencil for 90% of the test.
Also, above a 140 raw puts you in the 95th percentile, and above a 150 raw puts you in the 99th percentile. So if you did get a 199, you didn't really gain anything since it's pretty much the same thing as getting a 150. In either case, if you fall into this category, good for you. The average (110) puts people in the 53th percentile. If I had to guess, I would say that the curve on the Barbri MBE is probably around 25, but this guess has no statistical basis whatsoever. I just made it up.
So, with all of Barbri's precious number crunching announced, what does this mean for the real thing? Absolutely nothing, and you should waste no time worrying about it. From everyone I've spoken to, both Barbri and PMBR are a lot tougher than the real thing. What about the PMBR 3-day? I guess I'll find out about tomorrow and see how I fare with the 36 point curve they give.
Posted by ECL at 5:10 PM
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
According to PMBR, if you can eliminate three wrong answers, this is "tantamount to positively identifying the single correct answer." (See pp. 146-147 of the Con law answers in the red book). Thank you, PMBR, I would have never figured that out.
Posted by ECL at 7:59 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I remember seeing a Married With Children episode a long time ago now where Kelly went on Jeopardy. For whatever reason she could remember everything that Jeopardy was testing on, so she was a lock. At some point, Bud said that her brain was full and that if they tried to add anything else, she would start losing information. So they avoided telling her anything else until the show.
At the start of the show, or maybe after she had an incredible lead, Alex asked her something like, "What town are you from" or something like that. To which, it became clear that she had to process one more thing and that additional question popped something out of her head.
At the final jeopardy question, with much money in tow, Al convinces her to risk it all. The final jeopardy question? Which high school running back scored four touchdowns in the city championship game? And what any fan of the show remembers, the answer is Al Bundy. Needless to say, she got it wrong, lost all the money, and that was the show.
I, like many other bar studiers, feel much the same way - everytime you cram something into your head, another thing pops out. It's like a giant jenga tower of knowledge, and it's getting wobblier.
By the way, I've tried some of these advanced Barbri questions and they are good for nothing except damaging your fragile egos. Stay away from them - they are too picky to waste any valuable time over.
Posted by ECL at 8:05 AM
Monday, July 09, 2007
I saw on CNN (briefly) the other morning something that caught my eye, and sure enough, the relevant search on Google led me to this sordid tale of woe: Mass. Bar Sued for Gay Marriage Question. But that's not what makes this story so funny.
Apparently this east coast bar taker saw a gay marriage question in one of his essays and refused to answer it either out of pride, beliefs, stupidity, and more likely, a combination of them all. Out of fairness to this clown, I will print the article's exact quote: "Stephen Dunne, who is representing himself in the case and seeks $9.75 million, said the bar exam was not the place for a 'morally repugnant and patently offensive' question addressing the rights of two married lesbians, their children and their property. He said he refused to answer the question because he believed it legitimized same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting, which is contrary to his moral beliefs." Well, you know what they say about a law student who chooses to represent himself.
Ironically, he nearly passed the bar despite completely blowing off this question. Nonetheless, the absence of any type of legal response here precluded the bar examiners from awarding any types of "well, close enough" points (not that I know if they actually do that or not). Unsurprisingly, the Massachusetts bar gives zero credit for responses like "This is a stupid question and I refuse to answer it" or its equivalent.
The end of the article has some other funny quotes from various people who basically agree that this guy is an idiot.
Posted by ECL at 8:05 AM
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Someone passed along to me this comment to post. I am told that the PMBR curves for the 3-day are 36 points, and the curve for the full length MBE in the back of the blue book is 25 points. This comes directly from a PMBR/Kaplan rep.
The better question, and one I won't be able to answer for a couple weeks is how close PMBR questions are to the real thing. Stay tuned. Once I have the PMBR 3-day taken next week, I'll have a better post to compare it to Barbri's 3-day.
Also, I've been working through Barbri's multiple choice questions. They are largely identical to PMBR in substance, which leads me to wonder why PMBR and Barbri haven't sued each other yet. Or why the NCBE only chose to go after PMBR. More thoughts on comparing Barbri to PMBR later.
Posted by ECL at 9:29 AM
Saturday, July 07, 2007
For the first time in probably five or six years since I've started watching it, I won't be able to watch the bulk of this year's Tour de France. I find this to be disappointing since (as boring as this thing is), I actually find it interesting to watch. Which is odd, since I usually can't stand to watch sports unless they are live (although I will tolerate football and the NBA finals - and the NCAA tournament).
If I had to pick someone to follow this year, I would go for Alexandre Vinokourov since I think he probably has the best chance to win. I would like to see Levi Leipheimer win, but I wouldn't be surprised if he blew up by the second week (or on a single stage) again. Hopefully not. Christophe Moreau would be my third place choice. And what would be the tour without a doping scandal?
For those of you who need their daily tour fix, you can always follow it on the new OLN channel Versus - or online here. On the bright side, the bar will be over before the race is. Go USA.
Posted by ECL at 7:30 PM
Friday, July 06, 2007
I was glad to see that there are other fans of the show Jericho:
'Jericho' fans assail CBS with 25 tons of peanuts.
Apparently, shortly after my original post a couple months back, 25 tons of packaging peanuts were sent to CBS by disgruntled fans (the peanuts were in reference to a couple of scenes in the season finale; no, I was not one of these disgruntled fans, but I found it funny nonetheless). This was in response to CBS announcing they had cancelled the show.
I heard from one of my friends the other day that the show was being picked back up. And sure enough, when I checked the internet, it is. Now, CBS is making up some lame excuse that people need to watch it when it actually airs as compared to recording it on Tivo and watching it later or watching it on the internet. If that is the argument they are making, it's no wonder they are in last place in the network ratings. I don't have any more time to devote to television or media entertainment for the time being, but I think it's a pretty obvious point that the internet media has much more potential than cable. If CBS hasn't figured out a way to track it yet, then I will reiterate my point that perhaps it's time for the board of directors of Viacom or CBS to put the pressure on Les Moonves to open his golden parachute to make room for some new blood.
Posted by ECL at 8:13 AM
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I saw this headline on the Drudge Report this morning and had to click it: New law in Minnesota requires all US flags to be made in America. Since I have taken to reading things in 1.8 minutes, the gist of the article reports that the state of Minnesota, in an effort to promote manufacturing in the states, has passed a law requiring all US flags sold in the state to be of American manufacture.
If Manufacturer challenges the constitutionality of this statute because it has a contract with a Canadian-based flag manufacturer, will the statute be held:
A) unconstitutional, as having a "chilling effect" on non-verbal forms of speech and therefore invalid under the First and Fourteenth Amendment.
B) unconstitutional, because it is a reasonable regulation of the procedure to be followed in such cases and substantially diminishes the underlying obligations of the buyer.
C) unconstitutional, because this law burdens interstate commerce by prohibiting the sale of all flags coming into the state that are not manufactured in the U.S.
D) constitutional, because it protects a legitimate state interest.
If this was a PMBR question, the answer would probably be "C or D, but the examiners may have accepted B." Good thing I wouldn't have standing to argue that this statute (and question) is probably a stupid one since I would probably pick D (although I think C could be argued successfully as well). See how the multistate has ruined my life? I would much rather see a question like this:
Assuming manufacturer has standing to challenge the statute, his best chances of finding it unconstitutional would be under:
A) The Commerce Clause
B) The Federal Property Clause
C) The First and Fourteenth Amendment
D) The Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
There, the answer is much more clear. A.
Posted by ECL at 7:57 AM
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I have to admit that I didn't have any interest in seeing Transformers when I first saw the preview or heard about it a few months ago. But the newer previews hooked me, and since I had one more day left before I need to kick it into high gear and memorize about 60 (or 600) more things for the bar, I thought I would take a couple hours of my precious time and watch this 2 and a half hour long movie. It is well-worth the $10 and good enough to see in the theater for the action.
If you watched the show when you were a kid (or even if you didn't), it's a story of evil and good transforming robots who have taken their war to earth. (And for those who watched the cartoons, it's the same voices apparently). The good robots are the Autobots. The bad robots are the Decepticons (or something like that). Characters with cool names like "Optimus Prime" and "Megatron" battle it out on the big screen. The main human character is played by some kid who could have been anybody (sort of like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix - could have been played by anyone). And like the Matrix, this movie has even more non-stop action and even less plot. As I said, it's the robots that make this movie. If you own Hasbro stock, you should be very happy.
There is also a trailer in the beginning of the movie for some new J.J. Abrams movie coming out next year - somehow it forgot to say what the name of the movie is (or if it did, it certainly isn't memorable), so I had to look it up (Cloverfield). It doesn't look that good. I would hope they run a better trailer, but I'm pretty critical in this area, so it didn't hook me at all. I think it's some sort of slasher horror movie, but I can't really remember. Nice try J.J. - but you may be better off focusing on making Lost season 4 better. I will give you props for Mission Impossible III though (which isn't hard considering how bad the first two were).
Other than that, Transformers is pretty cool. The girl in the movie (Megan Fox) is pretty hot (good for Brian Austin Green of 90210 fame who is apparently engaged to her). While the movie may be geared toward the under-13 crowd in parts, there's enough action for all you twenty-somethings (or 30-somethings or bar-takers) to enjoy as well. At the very least, it's a good mindless action movie that will keep you distracted from thinking about the bar for a couple hours.
Compared with Die Hard 4 (see my review here), I liked Die Hard 4 a little better, even though the action seens are less ridiculous than they were in Die Hard 4. Same level of pointless action though, but with robots (Transformers). And that's what matters.
Posted by ECL at 10:32 PM
One of my friends put it best when she says that whenever you get frustrated, you just have to remember that the bar is a test of minimal competency. She's exactly right, and it's easier to say in hindsight than currently. After all, it's just a test where you're looking to write enough so that in the minute that the bar graders are reading your essays, they have confidence you know what you're doing. For once, we'll all looking for the "D" instead of the "A." As one of our instructors put it, you've probably taken harder tests in law school; this one is just more bulky. And it's for your livelihood.
And on that note, I think I'm going to do a little work and then watch Transformers. Did I mention how I can't believe I'm doing work on the 4th of July? Read more!
Posted by ECL at 8:49 AM
Sunday, July 01, 2007
I've gone through about half of the PMBR blue book now, having completed the red book (which seems to be right at the 50/day pace). I've done better in the blue book, but the answer is pretty easy - most of the questions are either identical or only slightly different than comparable ones in the red book. So, it's pretty obvious that PMBR's tactic in telling you to do the red book first, and then the blue book is so you feel better about yourself when you get more right. I guess that's fine. But I see it as pretty lazy that they are recycling their own questions when they advertise to be the "multistate specialist."
Further, their express warranty on the inside cover of the red book that "students will receive entirely different multistate questions during the administration of the PMBR 3-day and 6-day 'Early Bird' Workshops" is entirely false, since I've seen every question from the 6-day workbook in the red or blue book. I can only assume that many of the questions from the 3-day will also be repeats. I've even seen some of the same questions in different sections (which again is fine, but reeks of laziness).
Perhaps the most ironic of questions I have come across (other than the ones that are patently wrong), is one I found in the evidence section that conflicts with PMBR's own logic. For a number of reasons, I am pretty sure that the blue book answer is correct.
For those fellow MBE-haters, take a look at Evidence question 149 in the red book, and then look at Evidence question 87 in the blue book. I see the conflicting answers as irreconcilable. So what if there has never been any accidents on that machine, or intersection, or whatever before? That would never be admissible. The red book's answer is just nonsense, and the fact they point to some Utah case in the 50s as support should tell you that they simply couldn't explain it otherwise. I think the correct answer to the red book is C, but only because D is less correct if that makes sense. The blue book answer is correct.
If anyone wants to dispute my conclusion or can in fact reconcile the two questions, I will gladly post your comments. If I'm wrong, great - better now than in three weeks. Or if you've come across some blatantly wrong ones, maybe we should start a list.
Posted by ECL at 5:32 PM
I went to see Die Hard 4 (Live Free or Die Harder) yesterday or the day before. It is freakin' awesome. If you like shoot-em up, kill-em action movies with some plot (but not much), this is the best movie out right now. And for you bar takers who need some mindless action (and can temporarily set aside everything you've learned about custodial interrogation and other various 4th amendment bar issues), this is a great two-hour break. As many of you forget, John McClane is the original Jack Bauer (who unfortunately doesn't make an appearance). And if you've never seen any of the original Die Hard movies (at least the first and second), that's okay, there is very little continuation between them. His daughter is grown up though.
I did have to laugh (out of the absurdity) everytime he was in DC and saying "I'm NYPD, out of my way" - I'm not sure how much weight that would carry in real life when he's outside of his jurisdiction. And we all know from Sept. 11 that the cell phones and land lines can't really handle the type of volume that would make it easy to get through to the police in an emergency. Nonetheless....
Other than portraying the government like a chicken with its head cut off during a national crisis, the movie isn't too bad. Kevin Smith has a minor role but it's not that funny. I kept waiting for the mac kid (Justin Long) to say "Hi, I'm a mac" but it never happened. Talk about a typecast kid, but good for him since he probably makes more money than all of us bar takers combined. Also, there is a smoking hot girl who I've never seen before (Maggie Q), who happens to be very close to my age, which is great if I become an entertainment lawyer and the east coast becomes the new Hollywood. And for fans of Deadwood, Timothy Olyphant is the bad guy (who plays more of a lame villain than a bad ass as he does in Deadwood).
So, take a 4th of July break and see Die Hard 4. It's worth your $10 at a cost of at most, one MBE question.
Posted by ECL at 11:04 AM