Sunday, December 04, 2016

Lessons from being hacked.

  1. Criminals are smarter than I am.
  2. Criminals are more dedicated to their jobs than I am--and I'm pretty darn dedicated.
  3. Computers can be used for E-VIL as well as for good.
  4. I have very smart, computer-savvy friends.
  5. People who have been hacked temporarily lose their senses of humor.
  6. People who have been hacked stay stressed for quite a while.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I love the First Amendment (and I can still deplore hateful speech).

Of course I'm angered and saddened about the increase in hateful speech across campuses (see today's latest story here).  I don't respect the people who say such awful things.  But I respect their right to say them.  Such speech reveals their darkest instincts, and acts as an early warning sign for me ("don't get too close to this person").

Someone asked me last week if I was going to interfere with hate speech.  I don't think it's appropriate to do so.  We could act on hateful actions that threaten other people's safety.  (Don't forget, though, that some actions are protected speech.)  We can act on actions that are against the law.  But sunlight is still the best disinfectant to reveal those people whose internal thought processes demonize others in an apparent, and probably unsuccessful, attempt to improve their own self-image issues.  And I refuse to demonize those whose political views are different from mine.

I'm getting a bit tired of being told that I have no idea what it's like to be yelled at, cursed, spit on, etc.  I actually do know quite a lot about what that's like.  I grew up in deep East Texas as a Jew.  I got hit, shoved, spit on, yelled at, cursed....  So I know that such actions are horrible to experience and very, very frightening.  But I love the First Amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights) so much that I don't want to see it curtailed.  I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.  I can recite parts of this speech almost from memory.  And I believe that we can provide succor to those who are hurt and frightened without sacrificing our Constitutional rights--especially the right to say stupid things.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Why I am frustrated with B of A.

In October, a B of A ATM ate a check that I was depositing.  I called Customer Service, and B of A  gave me a credit for the check while it was investigating what had happened.  (That was the last good part of this story.)  The representative explained that the bank would crack open the ATM, retrieve my check, and take care of the deposit.

That was in late October.

It is now November 11.  The claim is still "pending."  B of A's social media people have left me two messages.  I've left them two messages.  They won't email me because it's "not allowed."  They won't send me an email on B of A's own website because, well, they don't have a good explanation for that.

B of A, do you not service your ATMs regularly?  Do you not service them after a customer says that your ATM ate her check?  Do you not want to fix this problem?

Is it time for me to complain beyond B of A itself?

Friday, November 04, 2016

About closing more law schools....

Yesterday, TaxProf Blog posted a story about the closing of Indiana Tech and raised the question of whether other law schools might close as well.  I think more will, and I said so in 2012, in Changing the Modal Law School: RethinkingU.S. Legal Education in (Most) Schools, 116 Penn St. L. Rev. 1119 (2012):

The world doesn’t need as many ABA-accredited law schools as it has already, just as the world has figured out that it doesn’t need as many U.S.-based BigLaw firms as it once did, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some law schools closed over the next decade or so.

Id. at 1150.  For more about what in legal education needs to change, see, e.g., Rethinking U.S. Legal Education: No More .“Same Old, Same Old,” 45 Conn. L. Rev. 1409 (2013).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lucy Kellaway is correct.

In today's Financial Times piece:

If one employee offends against a bank’s vision and values, it is [his or her] fault. If 5,300 do, it is the bank’s. Wells Fargo has proved that its culture is a hopeless safeguard to anything. The people who have really transgressed are not the rank and file, but the top managers who set up the wrong incentives and who looked the other way as customers were stitched up.
It really IS about the incentives.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stephen Fry and depression---a great read.

Here.  For those of us who have lived through depression, it's hard to explain to those who haven't.  Thanks to folks like Stephen Fry, the Bloggess, and Hyperbole and a Half, it's possible to get an inkling of this particular disease.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dear Hilton Corporation:

Why is it, that at least one Doubletree, you have set the systems running the televisions (according to the repairperson I met yesterday) to change, at random times, from the channel that I want to watch to the Movie Promo channel, thereby interrupting my viewing preferences?  The repairman told me that he is powerless to prevent the channel-changing.  Did you set this channel-priority-programming in place because:
  • You believe that your guests have no idea that they can rent movies in your hotel rooms?
  • You dislike the fact that I prefer news in the morning to the repeated loop of Mario Lopez (who was, in fact, a very good dancer-contestant on Dancing With The Stars, so I have nothing against the guy) touting movies that I will be able to get later on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon?
  • You think that I am too old for Adult Swim at night?
  • Movie Promo channel is the sole source of your profitability?
  • You bought too many batteries at one time for your remotes and want to make sure that you use them all before they expire, and therefore you've decided to encourage your guests to use their remotes more--by making sure that they keep switching back to what they wanted to watch and away from the dreaded Movie Promo channel?
  • You have stock in the Movie Promo channel?  Lots of stock?  The amount of stock that requires you to file something with the SEC if you sell it all at once?
  • You've seen Gaslight and think it's an extraordinary movie (which, really, it is)?
Whatever it is, let's just say that you're winning the social science wars here.

Last-minute advice for bar exam takers.

On one of our other blogs (here).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Why I quit LVAC and switched to Lifetime Fitness, and why I'm really happy about the switch.

There's nothing wrong with LVAC.  It's a nice gym, and it's reasonably priced.  But I love Lifetime Fitness, even though there's a huge price differential.  So why did I switch?

The fundamental reason has to do with my chosen sport, which is ballroom dancing.  When I started at LVAC, I practiced in empty racquetball courts, until people outside the courts complained that my movement was distracting them.  (I offered to pay for the court time, and I wore shoes that wouldn't scuff the floors, but the management said no.)  Then I practiced in the hallway downstairs.  That was fine, but I had to keep starting the walls of my routine over and over, because of the restricted space.  So I started getting up early to use the empty group classrooms.  One day, though, the front desk said that I couldn't practice there, even when the rooms were unoccupied.  I felt like Milton in Office Space.  And I went off to tour Lifetime Fitness in Henderson.

Yes, it's pricey.  It's the cost of two dance lessons a month.  But:
  • The staff members are very, very friendly.  Some of them even ask me how my dance practices are going.
  • There are dance rooms, including one with a ballet barre wall.
  • If the dance rooms are locked, the front desk will get someone to unlock a room for me so that I can practice my routines.
  • The facility is immaculate.
  • I never have to wait for cardio machines, and the machines have some fun bells and whistles.
  • Bottom line:  Lifetime Fitness recognizes that dance is an athletic activity, and it has fulfilled each of the promises that it made to me when I signed up.  I'm very happy that I switched.
I'm in the process of healing fully from my foot surgery in January.  Thanks to the talent of Dr. Michael Monroe, this weekend I was able to do a small Smooth competition (Viva Las Vegas--World Promotions) to test-drive my stamina and my ability to use my right foot.  (Yes, someone at the Lifetime Fitness front desk wished me luck last week.)  I owe most of my thanks to my teacher, Sergei Shapoval, and my coaches, especially Mariusz Olszewski, who's been working with me on a regular basis.  But I owe more than a little to Lifetime Fitness.  (And I came in first in a 7-couple straight-to-final Open B Smooth Scholarship event.)


Now, I'm off to the gym to prepare for USDC.  Thanks, Lifetime Fitness!

Why I quit LVAC and switched to Lifetime Fitness, and why I'm really happy about the switch.

There's nothing wrong with LVAC.  It's a nice gym, and it's reasonably priced.  But I love Lifetime Fitness, even though there's a huge price differential.  So why did I switch?

The fundamental reason has to do with my chosen sport, which is ballroom dancing.  When I started at LVAC, I practiced in empty racquetball courts, until people outside the courts complained that my movement was distracting them.  (I offered to pay for the court time, and I wore shoes that wouldn't scuff the floors, but the management said no.)  Then I practiced in the hallway downstairs.  That was fine, but I had to keep starting the walls of my routine over and over, because of the restricted space.  So I started getting up early to use the empty group classrooms.  One day, though, the front desk said that I couldn't practice there, even when the rooms were unoccupied.  I felt like Milton in Office Space.  And I went off to tour Lifetime Fitness in Henderson.

Yes, it's pricey.  It's the cost of two dance lessons a month.  But:
  • The staff members are very, very friendly.  Some of them even ask me how my dance practices are going.
  • There are dance rooms, including one with a ballet barre wall.
  • If the dance rooms are locked, the front desk will get someone to unlock a room for me so that I can practice my routines.
  • The facility is immaculate.
  • I never have to wait for cardio machines, and the machines have some fun bells and whistles.
  • Bottom line:  Lifetime Fitness recognizes that dance is an athletic activity, and it has fulfilled each of the promises that it made to me when I signed up.  I'm very happy that I switched.
I'm in the process of healing fully from my foot surgery in January, and this weekend, I did a small Smooth competition (Viva Las Vegas--World Promotions) to test-drive my stamina and my ability to use my right foot.  (Yes, someone at the Lifetime Fitness front desk wished me luck last week.)  I owe most of my thanks to my teacher, Sergei Shapoval, and my coaches, especially Mariusz Olszewski, who's been working with me on a regular basis.  But I owe more than a little to Lifetime Fitness.  (And I came in first in a 7-couple straight-to-final Open B Smooth Scholarship event.)


Now, I'm off to the gym to prepare for USDC.  Thanks, Lifetime Fitness!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

R.I.P., Steve Zamora

Steve passed away suddenly, and my heart goes out to his family.  Steve was the dean at UH Law Center immediately before I came on board, and his graciousness and kindness showed what a mensch he was.  Always willing to pitch in and help in any way possible, he created a legacy in terms of international law that took advantage of Houston's own international flavor.  R.I.P., my friend.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

R.I.P., Michael Hoke.

Michael Hoke's obituary is here.  You probably never heard of him, but I had the pure luck of having him as a teacher when I was a kid in Orange, Texas.  He taught me a real love of nature and science--and (back in the days when girls weren't supposed to care about snakes and sharks and other "boy" things)--he had no problem indulging my curiosity in creatures that bit, slithered, and crawled.  He was the consummate teacher, and I will be forever grateful to him.