Am I Qualified to Grade Write-On?

Every year first-year students at law schools across the country participate in a ritual called write-on. I did it last summer and as a result accepted an offer to be a member of the Connecticut Journal of International Law. The next round is in and as a rising third-year student I am responsible for grading some of the packets. I think that is a joke.

Our educational system has shortchanged and underrated the ability of students to write well. In college I got As on most of my written work because professors were grading it next to papers written by students that could not properly distinguish between a singular and plural noun. In law school there is little writing. The writing I do for class, with a few exceptions, has little useful feedback. In theory law journal membership is supposed to remedy this deficiency by offering an opportunity to hone these skills. It fails miserably at this. We spend our time editing the format of the citations below the line instead of the quality of the writing above it. We are required to write a student note but receive no feedback on it. Finally our submission for membership to the journal garners no grade or feedback. The only acknowledgement of its quality is the offer of membership we receive.

As someone who has gone through a year of law school and read numerous court cases I suppose I am somewhat qualified to judge the papers. However I do not believe I am the best candidate. Having never done it before I have no idea what to look for. Even the rubric we are given is unclear. Should a misplaced comma count as a full point off in the grammar section? If there is an especially egregious use of a semi-colon is that worth a two-point deduction? I suppose I can just make it up as I go along. Meanwhile the first-year students reading this can rest in peace knowing that their write-on grades are not necessarily correlated to the quality of writing.

In Honor of the Last Shuttle Launch

JFK’s speech titled We Choose to go the Moon.


Appeals Court Tosses Media Ownership Rules

I thought that this was an interesting opinion because the FCC ended up losing in the Third Circuit based on a failure to follow something called the Administrative Procedures Act. I saw the link to this opinion at TechDirt who criticized the opinion. The authors there tend to favor the free-market and do not appear to be trained in the law. Otherwise I think they would have reflected upon and understood the importance of following these procedural regulations. The authors of a statute always have reasoning behind it and here I believe the authors wanted to allow the public time to have input on the rules promulgated by the government. It’s not an unreasonable demand and the FCC’s counsel should have been aware of it.

I Was Hacked!

I still cannot figure out how it happened but somehow my twitter account was hacked and tweeted a single spam tweet. For this sin I lost about ten followers and was the target of the inevitable witticisms. Well just one:

The only recourse I had was to delete the tweet from my history, change my password, and review access by third-party apps. My theory is that one of these third-party sources was compromised and managed to push tweets out to my account. However to be safe I am changing all my accounts that used my twitter password. Thankfully I have a good password manager. If you are not using one already, I strongly recommend 1Password. It allows me to carry my passwords with me anywhere and generate randomized secure passwords for all my accounts.

An Early Start to the Presidential Campaign

I met with a summer organizer from the Obama campaign today. The campaign and Democratic National Committee have been hounding me for money and I eventually had to ask them to take me off their list. When the organizer called I almost gave it to her, but was glad that she was not asking for money. I think its a smart step to start out early but am wary of the lack of coordination with the party. Having been involved for many years I have seen the animosity created by the building of parallel organizations between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This sentiment has been echoed both within College Democrats and town committee circles. People are asked to volunteer for both and there ends up being a lack of efficient coordination and management. If the various democratic campaigns worked together and coordinated their efforts there would be greater payoff for everyone. Unfortunately it seems the weakened importance of the party has made this difficult.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.