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The most fundamental concept of any democracy is that all people, regardless of who they are or what power they have, should have an equal voice in the ballot box.  Early primary and caucus states advocate a fundamental violation of this belief.  There is no democratic justification to giving residents of specific states early access to candidates in every presidential cycle.  Were tradition to hold, we as Americans would still be mere subjects to the British monarch without our fair representation.

As a resident of a state that tends to vote on Super Tuesday, my primary vote has little meaning, given that in most cycles the nominee has all but been declared by that point.  I have in my “large” state seen candidates for offices from House to Governor, use retail politics to make a difference.  There is no magic soil in the early primary states, which gives them an intellect beyond the rest of our nation.  The president runs to represent 300 million Americans, not just Nevadans, New Hampshirites or Iowans.  To give states specific nomination powers is akin to the process in Iran, where an elect have the authority to select candidates for everyone in the general election.  It would seem we already have an aspect of Sharia Law in America.

It is not an aspect of American democracy, but a hindrance upon my vote, to restrict me to candidates who have passed the vetting of other states.  It is a form of tyranny of the minority, and I hope that states reconsider their hard-line and anti-democratic stances.  The fifty states must come to a reasonable rotating agreement about how to hold the Presidential primaries, that gives voice to all.  That any state continues to advocate a distinction is in violation of the concept that all Americans are equal.


I Don’t Feel Appreciated

I won’t say I’m a genius, others have, but I don’t feel appreciated.  I’ve tried my hand out in politics.  The recent campaign between David Weprin and Bob Turner gave me a chance to get involved and so I did.  I felt degraded as a volunteer, I felt like a pawn in the game of political hacks.  It was disgusting, I think the candidate was genuine, but his staff was terrible.  They treated me like a baby and gave me the crap they feed the press, I could see right past them.

I could see right past the crap they tried to feed me.  The internal polls were manipulated, by adjusting demographics to change perceptions, given what the real numbers were.  Both campaigns were guilty of this.  David Weprin’s campaign lied about the numbers, to not look like they were collapsing!  Bob Turner’s campaign lied about the number, to not look like they were leading!  The way they did was by targeting specific households that represent the district.  In both cases, they picked households to create a specific perception.  They knew how the poll was going to be and made sure to make it look that way.

I don’t feel valued as a volunteer, I feel like I’ve been a pawn of someone else’s egotistical quest.  I don’t know if the candidate realized what happened, but I’m stunned, absolutely stunned by what was allowed to happen.

Most volunteers are dumb and buy into the crap, but I think it should have been obvious I wasn’t falling for it, but they kept trying to spoon feed me.  I wanted to help, because I wanted to feel I was making a difference and I get the feeling the staff doesn’t care about trying to make it look like they cared about the volunteers.

Offer help to a desperate campaign and they’ll acknowledge you.  Offer help to a campaign leading, they’ll forget about you.  It won’t get you anywhere, but neither gets America anywhere.

The School Paradox

Education is a valued and it comes in a tiered system.  Simply put some schools are better, others are worse.  Some schools will offer you an open door to a certain element of society, others will find those doors closed.

These schools are adherents to examinations which fail to actually assess the abilities of students.  I’ve taken the PSAT, SAT, GRE, LSAT and god knows what else.  None of the tests are really about what I’ll be doing, it’s a test you’re expected to study for and frankly I’ve grown tired of the bullshit.  I would like to go to law school, I do not want to slave in your fucking law school if the way to prove myself is by wasting time studying for a test that serves no greater purpose in these institutions.  I could spend $1000 on a prep course, and given my past record, I’d score around 175.  I don’t want.  I have nothing to prove to you by slaving for a test that fails to test aptitude.

How do I know it fails to test these abilities?  Simple, you can STUDY for them.  That immediately removes whatever traits it was examining, a good test should be dynamic, no rules in stone, no logic games, no reading, nothing is known, rooms are entered as blank slates, everyone examines the questions and has to answer, any attempts to study would be in vain as questions could be any one of thousands of type.

It could be something like the diner question of how many triangles are drawn into the bigger triangle.  That would be best as an open-ended question, the answers could then be analyzed, to determine popular numbers and develop a real profile.

Another question that would be, to quote the inspirational Bill Cunningham, “marvelous” is as follows.

What year did the French Revolution start?
A – 1776
B – 1789
C – 1812
D – 1912

Immediately, you could draw an understanding of the profile of a person.  1776 should be engraved in the minds of Americans.  We had a war in 1812.  The Titanic sank in 1912.  People who fail to answer this either never learned the fact or cannot deduce things that should be rudimentary knowledge.

These Ivy Tower institutions prefer to support the status quo, which is prohibitively expensive.  Has anyone seen the services LSAC offers?  It’s a giant rip-off.  No test should be so expensive to administrate.  No website that charges so much, should be so difficult to maintain.  It’s 2011 and they haven’t figured out a way to do digital recommendations right.  The site looks like something from Web 1.0 and the schools all subscribe to the monopoly it holds.  Feels like the college board all over again.

Frankly grade inflation could be compensated by LSAT.  It has enough information to be able to deduce reasonable averages from the transcripts and assign a more accurate score.
Let’s say 20 people in School A have taken Political Science 101, 8 of them got an A, 8 of them got A- and 4 of them got a B+
But in School B, Political Science 101 has also had 20 students, 1 got an A, 2 got an A-, 3 got a B+, 4 got a B, 2 got B-, 2 got C+, 2 got C and 4 got an F
What does LSAC do?  Factors them equally in determining your GPA.  Schools don’t look or care for transcript grades because they’re mostly meaningless, in the age of Rate My Professors, few students actually challenged themselves.  I’m sorry I don’t have a 4.0 GPA.  I tried to learn.

That’s why we go to college.  It’s not a prep for law school, it’s an opportunity to learn.  I took daring classes like Chinese & Calculus, to learn.  They hurt my GPA but so what.  I got my departmental honors.  I tried, at least I can say that proudly to any admissions officer who actually looks at my record.

So point of the story is, I probably won’t get into a top three law school, that will stop me from being a Supreme Clerk for anyone but Clarence Thomas, which is probably why the law academia hates him, he doesn’t prescribe to the righteous attitude created by the system, which is inherently flawed.

I’ve tried emailing a few professors about a simple question, I’ve wondered about law.  Since I didn’t get into a school, I figured one could answer them.  Unfortunately, nobody has time for me, since at the present, I’m a nobody.  I might be somebody tomorrow, then maybe the rules would be my own.  In that time, don’t come to me, I’d help someone in real need.

I saw on blogs that President Obama would still prefer a trial in NY for Kalid Sheik Mohammad and such individuals, but as someone from New York, I have to wonder how it would be possible with safeguards of our Constitution.  The issue I haven’t seen raised in readings I have done is the lack of partial judges and courtrooms in New York.  Since the proposed courthouse is in NY, I cannot see how any judge would be able to handle the case, given that the courthouse itself was closed in the aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Center.  The area was closed to non-emergency workers in the immediate aftermath, in a period lasting several days.  Employees, many of whom likely still work at the court, were evacuated in the aftermath.  I fail to see how this courthouse could provide any semblance of neutral ground.  The entire hoopla of holding such a trial in NY could in all fairness to the defendant, only last until the judges step aside.  A courthouse cannot as I see it hold a trial if it was part of the crime scene, this would be highly improper.

Additionally, three court officers (for county Family Court) died on that day, and many judges and employees paid some form of tribute.  Those who partook in such activities, would have to step aside for the duration of the case, to prevent any bias.
Is there any possible way for the defense to get a fair trial in NY?
Thank you,
Johannes Dark

PS – Sorry if this was a bother, I hope to one day go to Law School but in the meantime, I decided to email you after seeing you discuss the issue with what seemed like a reasonable opinion in a MAGAZINE.  If this has been discussed, it’s not in a place where I have been able to find, given my lack of access to the resources of a law school library, so I do apologize for that.
That’s my two cents.

This is an older post, that I thought I’d copy over to this blog.

I was inspired by the notion of fiddling with the 3DS Street Pass feature in Manhattan and the nice weather that the city experienced today, to the test the feature out. I took a subway ride from my humble home to enter the concrete canyons of the midtown area, beginning my ride at a station and pondering what path I would walk to attempt to maximize my actual footprint, to reach as many 3DS owners as I could.

The first stop seemed obvious to me, Nintendo World. The store is located around 48th Street, so I could make a nice walk south to further destinations. I decided to hop off on the E Train at the 7th Avenue Subway Station, taking the stairwell out and making a wrong turn pretty quickly. I quickly fixed my internal compass, a point of pride for this New Yorker, walking down the crowds of Madison Avenue, until 48th Street. With a few quick turns, I found my way to Nintendo World.

The 3DS demo units were occupied, but I had mine. It was time for a moment of truth! I had found 3 people. Then almost immediately 2 more! After those, I had found 2 more. My first Street Pass had been a crowd. Nintendo World was crowded. Parents were buying games for their children and at the corners, the kids you would expect to be the standard social outcasts in an academic institution were playing their systems, mostly it seemed the new 3DS. A discussion was happening between two, about which games were worth getting. They dismissed Rayman and Pilot Wings for reasons unknown, but were quick to praise Street Fighter and Steel Diver. The two joked about Nintendogs + Cats, deciding that one of the three games was all they would need. I saw on the floor, giant AR cards, but decided not to try and see if I could trigger a monster battle; it seemed floor space was very restricted. Almost as quickly as I came, I left. My Street Pass army had just received the first seven troops and I was itching for a few more.

Times Square! I decided to head to “Crossroads of America” for my next stop. They had a Toys R Us with a big video game section, which might be a place to check for anymore. I walked, earbuds playing the rock music I adore, as I carefully thread past the tourists, locals and strangers. I wasn’t exactly sure of the address of Toys R Us but I found it without making a wrong turn. The streets were crowded, Broadway Plays were being promoted, it would seem like a bad day for theatres with so many tickets for evening showings still available. Toys R Us was a continuation of the external madness, crowded with endless rows of families off to purchase or examine toys. I made a quick stop over at the basement, where the video games are. I found that my Street Pass had found two more Mii, my Mii army was slowly expanding.

My exit was still swift, I didn’t feel compelled to buy anything and the crowds weren’t making for an easy to appreciate scene. As I left, I continued walking South, now on 7th Avenue, trying to decide where to go next. The Times Square crowds were letting up and I found myself able to walk much more freely. I found my savior in the form of Spider-Man, who I could also see at Broadway for 40% off that night. Midtown Comics seemed like a place to try. I’m not much into comic books, but there seems to be a fairly large overlap of communities, so it would be worth a try. Unfortunately, I found no new recruits for the grand Mii army that I was assembling at Midtown Comics and I headed down further South.

As I walked 7th Avenue, I had decided where I would go next. I would swing past Union Square on my way to Chinatown and St. Marks, where I could visit the more underground videogame stores and see if anything was available. I was feeling confident about my Mii army.

The walk from Midtown Comics to Union Square produced no new members for my Street Pass army, but provided me with a reminder of the eclectic daily life in Manhattan. I saw a romantic couple, two men, forming a checkerboard pattern with their clothes, orange hat for one and an orange jacket for the other, going with a brown jacket or hat. I saw good looking girls, bad looking girls and ugly looking things. I saw homeless people and I saw pranksters. They tried pointing to an object on the ground to the unsuspecting to get a good laugh. When it came my turn, I just stared right at them, passing by with no incident.

My Mii army had not grown and I made my way to Union Square, the weekend Farmer’s Market was closing and with it some of the assembled were leaving. “Hey!” I saw a familiar face saying, but my earbuds had stifled it. I ended the music and greeted the friend that I just saw again. We chatted and decided to hang out for a little bit, I did a final check of my Street Pass, this time like in life; I had encountered one more person. This would be my last virtual encounter for the day; I had made another sort of Street Pass, and felt the need to reconnect. I decided to try and snap a 3D picture of my friend, to impress him, he commented my DS screen was looking weird and I decided this wasn’t the time to educate him, I wasn’t interested in videogames at that point.

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