Nicholas Sarwark filing for Mayor of Phoenix

Libertarian success comes from focus

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 28, 2022

What will I do if delegates choose incompetent and destructive people to control the Libertarian National Committee?

The same thing I’ve been doing my entire adult life: Recruiting, running, and supporting Libertarian candidates in order to achieve Libertarian policy goals.

Organizing Libertarian Political Action Nationwide

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 3, 2022

With many state affiliates of the Libertarian Party around the country falling to Mises PAC takeovers, there are state leaders and candidates who still need organized support and resources to keep doing the job of running and supporting Libertarian candidates for public office to move public policy toward our platform.If you are a candidate for …

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“I don’t need a ride, I need ammunition”

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 8, 2022

Last weekend was spent participating as a member of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania in the state convention in Williamsport. These are my observations and my plans moving forward: The Mises Caucus treated the annual convention as an opportunity to settle perceived grievances and to hold a national party at the expense of members who …

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Focus your energy to create change

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 26, 2022

Focus is a powerful thing. When I was a young child, I was fascinated by the power of a magnifying glass to take warm sunshine and concentrate it to a single point that could start a fire without matches or lighters. Energy can be diffuse or concentrated. Concentrate. Move the magnifying glass up or down …

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Social Media is our Perpetual, Virtual, Living Room

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 1, 2022

Our social media accounts are like our living rooms. Everyone is in your living room always, talking to each other, talking to you. If you start calling other guests in my living room names, insulting or demeaning them, or repeatedly making inappropriate outbursts in the corner of the room, I’m going to invite you to …

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book, read, student

Book Review: Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 24, 2020

“Physics for Future Presidents” should be required reading for every candidate for Federal office. Professor Richard A. Muller, past recipient of a MacArthur grant and professor of physics as University of California, Berkeley, provides the basic physics knowledge necessary for a President to make informed and responsible policy decisions. As a scientist, Muller refrains from …

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Subscribed Book Cover

Book Review: Subscribed by Tien Tzuo

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 3, 2019

People don’t want stuff, they want experiences. They don’t want products, they want services. This core shift in our society is the underlying theme of Tien Tzuo‘s new book, “Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future – and What to Do About It.” It’s probably not a coincidence that Tzuo is the …

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Replatforming

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 25, 2019

Many people are leaving Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media services. Some are being forced off for their controversial views. Others are leaving because they are tired of being a product for an advertising company and at the whims of mysterious algorithms. Social media and its relative anonymity also brings out the worst in …

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Because

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 27, 2018

“Because” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. In Robert Cialdini‘s classic book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” he gives a great overview of the science behind persuading people.  One of the most interesting experiments has to do with the effect of “because” on people. In a study, they had a …

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Book Review: Deep Work by Cal Newport

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 24, 2018

Now that my campaign for Mayor of Phoenix is over, I’ve had a chance to read a few books and wanted to jot down my notes on the main themes for my future reference and for anyone who might be considering the book. The first one I read on vacation in Flagstaff, Cal Newport‘s “Deep …

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“You can never buy a decent used car”?

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 4, 2017

It was the subtitle that got me to read Tim Harford’s book, “The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich are Rich, the Poor are Poor – and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!” Our family owns the oldest independent car dealership in Phoenix and has sold thousands of decent used cars over …

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Marketing to a small minority without a massive budget

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 9, 2017

If 1 out of 100 people are potential buyers for your product, you still have a target market of approximately 3,227,000 people. The challenge is reaching them. Mass media would work, if you saturate all 322MM people with your message, some fraction of that 1 in 100 would respond, but you’d be broke from the …

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On taking your ball and going home…

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 21, 2017

Threatening to leave an organization if you don’t get your demands met is an inherently risky strategy. The best case scenario is that your demands are met and you gain a reputation as the sort of person who delivers ultimatums. If you don’t get your demands met, you must follow through with your threat to …

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Book Review: “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power”

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 10, 2016

It’s not often anymore that I have time for a full-length book, but I recently read Jon Meacham’s biography of Jefferson, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.”  It took a few weeks taking it on long flights and reading before bed, but it’s very worth the time. Meacham covers the entire arc of Jefferson’s life, …

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Real change starts with the man in the mirror

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 18, 2016

There are so many people in the world who are not doing what they should.  When I find myself focusing on the actions of others, I find it helpful to listen to Michael Jackson’s classic, “Man in the Mirror.” As a stoic, I recognize that only my actions are in my control.  As a Libertarian, …

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How Much Do You Get Paid for Breathing? – An update

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 23, 2015

Back in July 2013, I wrote a post about how much one gets paid for breathing.  The basic concept is to figure out how much money you make from entirely passive investments and divide it our to figure out what you get paid just for breathing, without having to do any work. At that point, …

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The Next Chapter in my Career

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 6, 2014

Over 70 years ago, Roman “Slim” Sarwark moved from South Bend, Indiana to Phoenix, Arizona to convalesce after he lost a lung to tuberculosis. His doctors didn’t give him much chance to live for many more years. Slim started Sarwark Motor Sales in 1942, selling one or two cars at a time. His hard work …

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Last day as a public defender

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 22, 2014

Today is my last day as a Deputy State Public Defender.  Over the last five years, I have fought beside some of the best people I’ve ever met to defend the indigent accused.  I’ve had the honor of saving men from living the rest of their lives in a cage. I’ve experienced the pain of …

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Sarwark Elected Chair of Libertarian National Committee

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 16, 2014

Blogging here has been kind of light.  I ran for and was elected Chair of the Libertarian National Committee over the last weekend in June.  It’s going to be a busy two years. From the official press release: Delegates to the 2014 Libertarian Party National Convention in Columbus, Ohio, elected Nicholas Sarwark of Colorado to …

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Elect Nicholas Sarwark as Chair of the Libertarian National Committee

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 13, 2014

The Libertarian Party national convention will be held in Columbus, Ohio June 26-29.  I have announced my candidacy for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee and hope to lead the party to growth and success as we go into the 2016 election cycle. If you can attend the convention, please come out and support me.  …

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Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 20, 2014

“Follow your passion and the money will come.”  How many people have been given this advice when deciding what to study in school, whether to take a job, and whether to quit a job to do something else?  It turns out that it’s terrible advice. That’s the thesis of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: …

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Drinking White Wine in the Sun

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 23, 2013

It’s hard to be an atheist around Christmas sometimes. As we are reminded, often loudly, Jesus is the reason for the season. But I, like many atheists, enjoy Christmas for all of the beauty it brings unrelated to religion. Singing songs, spending time with family, loving each other. Tim Minchin, whose work I have mentioned …

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The $1,000 Challenge

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 22, 2013

There are only two ways to improve your financial situation.  You can bring in more money or you can stop spending as much money.  In my quest to do the latter, I read The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheeseby Brian J. O’Connor. …

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Simple shelf from one hardwood plank

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 18, 2013

When you do “knowledge work” for a living, there’s an inherent frustration in not creating something concrete from your efforts.  Negotiating a case, reading cases to prepare a brief or a motion, appearing in court, all of these things have value to a client, but the value does not manifest itself as a thing you …

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Organize your shirts with the Army roll

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 3, 2013

I have a lot of t-shirts.  They’re kind of like a scrapbook of places I’ve been and things I did over the last 20 years.  The problem with a lot of t-shirts is that they get crumpled and jammed in to make them fit, making it hard to find the right one, popping the hardboard …

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More thoughts on the Washington Redskins name controversy

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 27, 2013

Back in March, when the Washington Post was leading the preseason charge to pressure the Redskins to change their name, I wrote a short post suggesting the team shouldn’t change the name, making two main points: (1) the word “redskin” is no longer commonly used to refer to Native American people at all, and (2) …

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Build a $50 workbench and start woodworking

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 15, 2013

A few weeks ago, I picked up a book at the library with some furniture projects I wanted to build around the house, “Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects: Great Looking Furniture Anyone Can Build.”  Author Spike Carlsen breaks projects down into just one or two pages of instructions with beautiful pictures and minimal material and tool …

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Facing the truth on the debt limit

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 8, 2013

David Friedman has a very good post on The Debt Limit and Default that makes two essential points for cutting through the hyperbole in the news about the risks of not raising the country’s debt limit.  (1) Our government takes in enough revenues to make all interest payments on existing debt and (2) even defaulting …

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Why are you buying enchilada sauce?

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 2, 2013

We just got back from vacation late Friday night and I was going to make dinner for the family to give Valerie a break.  Simple bean and cheese enchiladas; refried beans, corn tortillas, pepper jack cheese, and enchilada sauce.  We had the first three things in the house, but no enchilada sauce. I considered driving …

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Why I Cancelled My PNC Bank Credit Card

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 14, 2013

My wallet is one credit card lighter this morning.  I cancelled my PNC Bank Visa that I’ve had since it was still National City bank.  Their business practice of charging exorbitant fees with zero grace period is not something I want to support with my purchase dollars. The facts are these:  Back in January, my …

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My First Bottle Bomb

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 4, 2013

August 3, 2013.  A day that will live in infamy in my house.  After over 15 years (off and on) of brewing, I had my first bottle bomb. My peach weizenbock had some suspended peach bits in it when I bottled.  I was already using a higher than normal amount of priming sugar to get …

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Get rich with a breadmaker

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 1, 2013

The three biggest expenses the average family has are food, transportation, and housing. Savings in one of these three categories will have the biggest effect on your budget, and consequently your ability to get rich. A loaf of whole wheat bread costs us about $4 at a grocery store, maybe $3.50 at Costco. With two …

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How Much Do You Get Paid for Breathing?

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 11, 2013

This post from Brave New Life talks about how he has the world’s best job.  Essentially, he breaks down what he gets paid for breathing.  He’s taken the advice of Mr. Money Mustache, and making his army of dollar bills work for him. We all know what we make per hour when we’re working.  If …

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Peach Weizenbock and Bozenweiss Raspberry Wheat

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 19, 2013

I made a batch of The Brew Hut‘s Bozenweiss Raspberry Wheat a couple of weeks ago. The recipe is as follows: 6 lbs. Wheat LME1 lb. Crystal 10L (Briess)12 oz. Flaked Wheat8 oz. Acidulated Malt1 oz. Tettnanger (60 minutes)1 oz. Tettnanger (30 minutes)Safbrew WB-06ADD RASPBERRY PUREE (3.1 lb. Can) AT “HIGH KRAUSEN” (the second or …

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June Square Foot Gardening Update

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 12, 2013

It’s been a little more than a month and the square foot gardening beds are really taking off! That’s a sunflower, radishes, peas, tomato, pepper, parsley, beets, spinach, strawberry, and zucchini.  We already picked a few radishes and spinach for salads. In the other bed, more of the same, including some peas almost ready to …

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2 Gs, an N, an I, an E, and an R….

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 25, 2013

Words have power, and some words are only allowed to be uttered by people who are part of the group. Be careful with your words. You can purchase this song, Prejudice on iTunes.

Peer to Peer Lending with Lending Club

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 9, 2013

Inspired by Mr. Money Mustache, I’ve decided to add peer-to-peer lending to my investment portfolio.  I opened an account with Lending Club and just invested in my first two notes today. The way it works is that Lending Club acts as a loan originator and servicer for consumer loans.  They then allow investors to fund …

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Square Foot Gardening Update

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 7, 2013

After some scares with late season snow storms (like May 2 late), the seeds I planted in April stayed alive for the most part. This past weekend, Ruth and I planted the warm weather seeds like zucchini, beans, and flowers. Here’s a couple of pictures showing the progress to this point.

Registration Leads to Confiscation

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 4, 2013

As Brian Doherty recently noted in Reason, officials in California are using that state’s gun registry to “visit” known gun owners who may no longer be allowed to own guns. They’re not going to take everyone’s guns, just the ones from those people who are no longer allowed to own them.  It’s not like they’re …

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Trying Out Square Foot Gardening

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 18, 2013

I’ve decided to give gardening another try even after last year’s abysmal results (about 4 small zucchini, a couple of beans, and 3-4 tiny tomatoes).  The soil at the house sucks and the previous owners did very little to care for the overgrown yard. This year, I’m going with a square foot garden. The concept …

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The perils of not using your credit cards

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 17, 2013

  A credit card company just sent me a letter informing me that: We have closed your AT&T Universal Rewards Card due to the length of time that has passed since it was last used.  Please destroy all cards and convenience checks in your possession. I guess it’s cool that I have my life together …

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Why the Redskins Shouldn’t Change the Name

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 12, 2013

The Washington Post is once again on a quixotic crusade to make the Washington Redskins change their name.  Leading the charge is columnist Mike Wise, but the paper has been devoting tons of space to the topic.  The core of the argument is that the term “redskin” is a slur against Native Americans.  We would …

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Government Benevolence is a Lie

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 28, 2013

There is a common myth that government is generally run by people who are concerned for the public interest over their own.  And there are some examples where this is true.  I work for a salary significantly below the market rate (and that has been frozen since 2009) because I care about defending people from …

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Not being drone murdered is an individual right

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 7, 2013

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.  – Statement of Principles, Libertarian Party That line, especially the bit about the “cult of the omnipotent state,” has been the subject of many internal battles within the party at conventions.  There is a …

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GOP Switch

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 13, 2012

I’m not the only one giving advice about no longer wasting time with the Republican Party.  Someone put up a site for GOP switchers.

Libertarians Should Stop Wasting Time with the Republican Party

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 11, 2012

In the run up to last Tuesday’s election, some prominent libertarians wrote about why libertarians should abandon the Libertarian Party and work within one of the old parties (but really, they mean the Republican Party). Libertarian activists should choose whichever party they feel more comfortable working within. That’s what Ron Paul did. Likewise, Rand Paul …

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Welcome to Joel Andrew Sarwark

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 12, 2012

On March 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm, my wife had a beautiful son, Joel. He was 7 lbs, 10 oz, and 19″ long. Unfortunately, there was some retained placenta and she lost a lot of blood and had to be transferred to the hospital for curettage and a blood transfusion. Joel and I came over …

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Ruth out for lunch

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 11, 2011

Ruth is excited to be out for lunch with her parents at P.F. Chang’s! Excited about Chinese food! Valerie

The NFL doesn’t want you to see the whole game

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 10, 2011

When you watch a football game on TV, it’s an endless barrage of highlights, cameras focused on the quarterback or the receiver.  The view that you don’t ever see is the “All-22” shot, showing the whole field and the actions of both teams simultaneously. The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article that delves into …

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On the Redskins, halfway through the season

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 6, 2011

We’re halfway through the season and the Redskins are 3-4 going into today’s game against the 49ers at Washington.  I’m crossing my fingers for a win today, but after last week’s game (9 sacks!), I don’t know if it’s realistic. Beck’s not a bad quarterback, but the injuries to the offensive line don’t give him …

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Hiring a criminal defense lawyer

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 31, 2011

I spend all of my working hours defending people accused of crimes. However, because I chose to be a public defender, you can’t hire me, I have to be appointed. If you are charged with a crime and don’t qualify for a public defender, you should probably talk to a reputable criminal defense lawyer. Brian …

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Coffee: Is there anything it can’t do?

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 18, 2011

I like coffee. It wakes me up, helps me focus, and tastes good. Turns out, it’s not just good, it’s good for you. If you’re a guy, it lowers your risk for prostate cancer. If you’re a woman, it lowers your risk for breast cancer. If you drink, it lowers your risk of getting cirrhosis. …

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Rock climbing skills applicable to real life

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 20, 2011

One of the things you learn when rock climbing is that you always need at least one stable hold when moving. Throwing yourself at the next hold usually leads to falling. Now that I have a broken ankle, I find those same skills of having a steady hold before moving are paying off when showering …

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It’s been a long time

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 28, 2010

Looking at the blogger dashboard, it looks like it’s been almost seven months since my last post. Things that have changed: I’m going to be a father in +/- 3 weeks. I’m about halfway through the winter 2010 Stanford iPhone Development course on iTunes U. I’m handling my second felony case as a public defender. …

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My trial record: 2-3-3

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 28, 2010

Derek prodded me to post some good news, since it’s been too long. My case load is larger than before, up to around 265. Since I started last August, I’ve had eight jury trials. My record at this point is 2-3-3. Two wins, three ties, and three losses. Now, you may be wondering how you …

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This blog has moved

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 28, 2010

This blog is now located at http://blog.sarwark.org/. You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here. For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to http://blog.sarwark.org/feeds/posts/default.

Happy New Year

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 2, 2010

Just over four months here in Colorado, we’re settled in to the apartment, have a good sense for the area, and are getting used to having snow on the ground most of the time. Work is super busy. Last I checked, I have 206 client files open. It’s crazy, but I’m starting to feel like …

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First month update

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 15, 2009

On Thursday I will have completed a full month as a public defender. The move out here went smoothly and we’re pretty much settled in. It’s been busy, with two trips back to the east coast, so not a lot of time to rest. Life as a PD is busy. I have over 100 cases …

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It’s been too long

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 30, 2009

I’m not dead yet. There’s a lot of change in my life. I’m married now. We’re moving to Colorado within the next two weeks, and I start my job as a Deputy Public Defender. I’m renting out my house in the DC area and am in the midst of a mad scramble to do all …

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Stress Testing the Banks

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 17, 2009

If you have to prove you are worthy of credit, your credit is already gone. –Walter Bagehot Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, has come out with a plan (really more of a vague idea) to “stress-test” American banks to determine whether they can survive this current recession. To be conducted in April, this testing will …

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This I Believe: Everyone Deserves Defense

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 21, 2008

I found out last Friday that my career as a public defender will be starting later than I’d like. Placement is by attrition and people aren’t quitting as often as normal in this troubled economy. I’m disappointed, but still committed to being a public defender, albeit later than I had planned. Derek pointed me to …

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I passed the Colorado Bar Exam

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 9, 2008

Results of the Colorado Bar Exam were posted this morning and my name was listed in the list of people who passed. Now I just need to pass the background check, take a professionalism class, and swear in and I’ll be a real lawyer.

Stop the bailout in the Senate

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 1, 2008

The Senate has scheduled a vote for Wednesday night at 7:30 pm on the bailout package. Now is the time to call your Senators and tell them not to support the bailout. Instructions on how to find your Senators and what to say are in my previous post.

Action: Stop Congress from giving away your money

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 29, 2008

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. The bar exam is over, though it’s still 10 days away from results. This morning I urge you to take three minutes (literally only three minutes) out of your day to stop this insane $700 billion dollar bailout. 1) Call your Representative. You can look them up here. …

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The Kooks – She Moves in Her Own Way

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 26, 2008

I was listening to Pandora the other day and heard an awesome song by the Kooks. Catchy, with a nice acoustic guitar riff running through it, I keep listening to it over and over after buying it from iTunes. If you want to pick it up, click

How to write with style

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 15, 2008

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a lovely essay on style. Why should you read it? I’ll let him answer: Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely …

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Supreme Court Upholds Individual Second Amendment Right

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court ruled today in District of Columbia v. Heller that the District of Columbia’s ban on possession of a handgun for self-defense within the home violated an individual right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The majority in the 5-4 decision of the Court was written …

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Update from Colorado

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 20, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posting. Since my last post, I have: Graduated from law school cum laude. Temporarily moved to Denver to study for the Colorado bar exam. Set a wedding date and time with my fiancee and booked a venue for same. Started growing a bar exam “playoff beard“. Quit my day job …

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Outdoor Animation in Brazil

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 15, 2008

This is, without a doubt, the coolest video you will watch today. MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

New Blog: Trust Me, I’m a Used Car Salesman

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 18, 2008

My father has started blogging, focusing mostly on auto advice (buying and using, not repairing). Not only that, but he started a radio show too.

Infoporn: Where people go after law school

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 18, 2008

The National Law Journal has an interesting chart that breaks down where the class of 2005 went after graduation. Note the steep decline in large firm placement outside of the top 10 schools. Also, Yale sent almost half of it’s graduating class into judicial clerkships. That’s part of why the clerkship hunt sucks for the …

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Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Law

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 14, 2008

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

How Financial Markets Really Work

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 29, 2008

With the recent crash in housing prices, the credit crisis, the Fed cutting rates right and left, many people are left scratching their heads and wondering how this all happened. The following short video gives an excellent and detailed explanation:

A Soldier Died in Iraq

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 5, 2008

He blogged about his experiences. His message, to be posted in case of his death, is here. I didn’t know him. I didn’t read his blog. I only heard about this from a posting somewhere else. And yet, I was moved near to tears. Tempus fugit, memento mori.

Five Dangerous Things You Should Let YOur Kids Do

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 26, 2007

Jeremy linked to a fascinating talk by Gever Tulley in which he describes dangerous activities you should let your kids do. I don’t have kids (yet), but when I do, we’re gonna do all this stuff.

New Job and a Move After Graduation

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 29, 2007

A quick update on the job search: I’ve accepted a job offer from a Public Defender’s office in a Western state. I’ll be moving out there very shortly after I graduate from law school in May to find a house and study for the bar. This isn’t the plan I had when I started law …

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Supreme Court to hear D.C. Gun Case

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 20, 2007

The announcement from the Plaintiff/Respondent: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of Heller v. District of Columbia, and decide whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to own guns. At issue is a 31-year-old Washington, D.C. law banning handguns and requiring that all shotguns and …

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ABA Journal article on the D.C. Gun Case

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 2, 2007

The November issue of the ABA Journal has a feature article about the D.C. Gun Case. This is the first article I’ve seen that carefully examines the role of the NRA in trying to torpedo the case and obtained comment from all of the lawyers. After they had assembled a group of six plaintiffs, Levy …

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Why People Have to Make Their Own Mistakes

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 12, 2007

Found in an Economist article on how a central bank can (or cannot) stop a bank run: “the ultimate result of shielding man from the effects of folly is to people the world with fools.” – Herbert Spencer, State Tampering with Money and Banks

Being a Happy, Healthy, Ethical Lawyer

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 10, 2007

Orin Kerr posted a question on the Volokh Conspiracy from a not yet employed 3L looking for career advice. There are good suggestions in the comments, but the best one is from “Anonobvious,” who linked to Patrick J. Schiltz’s law review article, “On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and …

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Muckraking of the First Order

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 9, 2007

Radley Balko has a shocking account of how Steven Hayne cornered the autopsy market in Mississippi. During his years, he’s testified that a skeletonized woman was strangled (even though there was no muscle tissue to make that determination), testified that two people’s hands were on a gun from the bullet wound, and performed 1,800 autopsies …

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Poker Stars Blogger Tournament – October 14

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 6, 2007

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers. Registration code: 7483439 UPDATE: I finished 1046th out of 1337 players with this hand: PokerStars Game #12625899736: Tournament #63028692, Freeroll Hold’em No Limit – Level IV (150/300) …

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Brutal Bimodal Distribution

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 7, 2007

…or Why Law Students Get Ulcers. The Empirical Legal Studies blog has an excellent post analyzing a salary chart graphic for 2006 law graduates. Click through to see this shocking bit of infoporn and the analysis thereof. As an aside, I’ve spent about $200 in postage and burned through three reams of paper in the …

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Better presentations

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 23, 2007

Merlin Mann has a new post up about how he made his presentations a little better. One of the best recommendations he has is to use Guy Kawasaki‘s 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint.* Both posts offer excellent advice for anyone who has to give presentations. Using their tips will instantly make you a better presenter than …

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The Economist style guide available online

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 16, 2007

I was reading last week’s Economist on the metro and noted that they’ve published their style guide online. I’m fond of their clear, pithy style, especially after a day of reading legalese. More modern and accessible than Strunk & White, it should serve you well in all your writing.

What would you ask a famous economist?

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 24, 2007

Tyler Cowen, economist, cultural omnivore, and proprietor of Marginal Revolution, has written a new book called “Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist.” As an incentive for people to pre-order the book, he has offered to create a personalized podcast for anyone that pre-orders …

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Good things to know about the workplace

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 12, 2007

Guy Kawasaki has an excellent post with the top 12 things he wished he had learned before graduating from college. My experience is that there are quite a few people well into their careers who still have not learned some of these lessons, such as how to write a five sentence email (“All you should …

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Iowans for Tax Relief: Ron Paul not “Credible”

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 21, 2007

According to a press release from Iowans for Tax Relief, they invited all “credible Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates” to speak at the candidate forum on June 30, 2007. However, the Free Liberal confirms that Ron Paul was not invited. Iowans for Tax Relief will not allow Dr. Paul to participate in a debate they …

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Results Oriented Thinking in the War on Terror

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 13, 2007

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr works himself into knots in two convoluted posts about the al-Marri case (4th Circuit rules that Qatari student living in the U.S. can’t be held indefinitely as an “enemy combatant”). Prof. Kerr trots out a hypothetical familiar to anyone who has studied Criminal Procedure generally and the 4th …

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Kenyan Economics Expert: “Stop the Foreign Aid!”

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 7, 2007

Spiegel International has an interview with Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati about foreign aid. They seem shocked that his main plea is for foreign governments to stop sending aid. SPIEGEL:Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa… Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop. SPIEGEL: …

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What is Atheism?

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 4, 2007

There’s a common misunderstanding when talking about atheism that has reared its ugly head in the stoic philosophy forum I participate in. This post seeks to identify the problem and work toward greater understanding between those who believe and those who do not. When an atheist describes his/her beliefs, he/she will typically use the phrase, …

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Bostonians: Still Stupid

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 31, 2007

No, it’s not blinky cartoon characters this time, it’s a garbled fax from marketing. In a scene reminiscent of the Cartoon Network bomb scare that paralyzed the Boston area in January, police shut down a strip mall yesterday in this small western suburb after employees at a Bank of America branch mistook a botched fax …

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Congress Buys Pork with Soldiers’ Lives

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 25, 2007

Yesterday afternoon, right before they went on vacation, your 110th Congress (including the Maryland Senate delegation) decided to go against the wishes of almost 3/4 of the American people and give in to the President to pass a no-strings-attached war funding bill. As one blogger noted, there’s some goodies in the bill for the Democrats, …

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Games and Poems

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 15, 2007

Bruce Godfrey tipped me off to a nice blog post about the five games you need to play to live well. It’s a good post, and worth the read. In the section on gambling, there was a snippet from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If: If you can make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it …

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Rep. Wayne Gilchrest on the War

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 8, 2007

Reason has an excellent interview with Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) in which he talks about the GOP, the war in Iraq, and what history can teach us. The whole thing is excellent, but I especially enjoyed the stoic overtones in his final answer: Reason: You don’t worry about another primary challenge from a Republican who …

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Gun Control on the Way to the Supreme Court

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 8, 2007

The D.C. Circuit has denied a petition for en banc rehearing of Parker v. D.C., so the way is clear for the Supreme Court to hear the case. Analysis of the denial and the likely timeline for Supreme Court review. Interesting article about how liberal law professors have been instrumental in shifting the gun control …

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Interhash 2006 Photos

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 19, 2007

I went to the World Interhash in Chiang Mai, Thailand last October. Over 6000 hashers from around the world in one place with unlimited beer and official sanction from the Thai government. Imagine the insanity, if you dare. There’s an album of pictures from my trip up here: InterhashThailand2006 As usual, I didn’t take enough …

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Prodigy + Apache = Video Mashup Madness

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 18, 2007

So freaking awesome!

“Marmaduke is an Asshole”

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 12, 2007

Joe Mathlete has come to that conclusion in his blog, Joe Mathlete Explains Today’s Marmaduke. It’s a little bit of dada comics criticism to brighten your day.

Why I’ll be sending my kids to Dartmouth

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 9, 2007

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 3, 2007

Newsweek setup a sit-down debate between Sam Harris, outspoken atheist and author of Letter to a Christian Nation, and Rick Warren, evangelist and pastor at the Saddleback Church. As Bruce Godfrey pointed out, Harris can be quite a jerk sometimes, but there’s little of that in evidence here. Excerpt: JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you’re the …

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Terry Jones Speaks Out on British Captives in Iran

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 3, 2007

Terry Jones, film director and Python, has a lovely op-ed in the Guardian entitled “Call that humiliation?” that’s worth a read. I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating …

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Of Angels, Coffee, and Trademarks

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 28, 2007

Bruce Godfrey posted about a coffee shop in Utah (“Just Add Coffee”) that was selling shirts depicting the Angel Moroni having coffee poured into his trumpet. The LDS Church was not amused and sent a letter to the coffee shop owners asserting that the Angel Moroni was a registered trademark and they had to stop …

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Maryland Libertarian Convention Report

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 6, 2007

I attended the 2007 Libertarian Party of Maryland convention last Saturday. The official business was focused on ratifying our constitution and selecting our new Executive Board. One of the speakers was George Phillies, who is running for the 2008 Libertarian Presidential nomination. I’ve heard him speak at previous Libertarian National Conventions, most notably when he …

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Just a Tiny Crack

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 1, 2007

The filling in one of my bottom molars has developed a tiny crack between the edge of the filling and the surrounding tooth. It’s not really loose yet, but I can feel the gap when I run my tongue over it during the day. Which I do. A lot. Good thing I have an appointment …

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Boston = Stupid

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 1, 2007

I hate to impugn an entire city, but the insane response to an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing prank is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. They ought to fire their police chief for being an idiot and send a “Thank You” cared to Turner Broadcasting for exposing his incompetence. UPDATE: …

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Nutritionism Demystified

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 29, 2007

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That’s the upshot of Michael Pollan’s fascinating article deconstructing nutritionism. Good advice, too.

Fighting for the Law

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 19, 2007

“The people should fight for their law as if defending the city’s wall.” –Heraclitus of Ephesus, Fragment 100″ This quote was so inspirational that one lawyer got it tattooed on his arm in the original Greek (scroll down). The Fragments can be found here with the Greek and English side-by-side, for those interested.

Alberto Gonzales, Master Weasel

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 19, 2007

Attorney General Gonzales has been busy testifying before Congress. His careful parsing brings you the following entertaining episodes of Constitution shredding and defendant torturing. First, courtesy of Hit & Run, habeas corpus is not for everyone: Sen. Arlen Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can’t take it away except …

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Queer Eye for the Stoic Guy

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 18, 2007

Robin Turner has an excellent examination of the Stoic theory of emotions using…umm…unorthodox examples in his post, Queer Eye for the Stoic Guy.

Short Stories

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 18, 2007

John Collier’s The Chaser, in which a young man learns the relative price of love and death. Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, a tale of maddening politeness in the office. Enjoy.

Altering “The Contract”

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 3, 2007

My legal interests and my IT day job seldom overlap, but this post from The Daily WTF provides an example of insanity at the intersection of both. At the end of the second interview they handed me a 14 page contract, a mere review copy of their standard Employee Agreement. The document mostly spelled out …

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Ten Changes for the New Year

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 3, 2007

As in years past, I’m giving myself the month of January to figure out what my resolutions will be. A starting point and one that you might find useful is the ToDo Institute’s Ten Changes That Will Start You Off on the Right Track for the New Year. While all the suggestions may not fit …

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Something to Ponder

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 28, 2006

Question: If a Muslim father makes one a Muslim (a claim falsely made by Debbie Schlussel to smear Barack Obama) and a Jewish mother makes one a Jew, if a Muslim man marries a Jewish woman and they have a kid, is the child both Muslim and Jewish? If so, can we fix the whole …

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Profound Atheist Quote

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 19, 2006

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” -Stephen Roberts

A Momentary Reprieve

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 14, 2006

As of 9:05 pm last night, I’m done with finals for this semester. Not sure how I did on my last exam, but at this point I’m placing all my faith in the professor’s excellent grading skills. Wish me luck.

Michigan Proposition 2

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 12, 2006

In the wake of Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) (invalidating a hard 20-pt advantage for racial minorities in admissions) and Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003)288 F.3d 732, affirmed (upholding flexible racial preferences in admissions), Proposition 2 passed in Michigan. The language of the proposition, which won despite opposition from the Democratic …

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Happy Birthday Libertarian Party!

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 11, 2006

The Libertarian Party turned 35 today. Many happy returns and here’s to the next 35.

Code Monkey

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 10, 2006

Derek sent me a link to Jonathan Coulton’s Code Monkey, a beautiful little song. His code not functional not function or elegant. What do Code Monkey think? Code Monkey think maybe manager wanna write god damn login page himself. Code Monkey not say it out loud. Code Monkey not crazy, just proud. Yours truly,Mr. X …

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For Want of a Nail

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 27, 2006

Many houses are lost in hurricanes and earthquakes, not due to failure of the wood, but due to failure of the nails to hold the structure together in gale force winds. Dr. Ed Sutt has invented a nail that solves this problem (all for about $15 more in the cost of new home construction). Sutt’s …

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Milton Friedman Passes Away at 94

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman, nobel prize winner and champion of liberty, passed away this morning in San Francisco. His son David has a truly touching epitaph: Cattle die, kindred die,Every man is mortal:But the good name never diesOf one who has done well. Words to live by on our shuffle through this coil.

A Cry for Help

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 14, 2006

I’m not normally one for blegging, but if any readers know people at DC law firms and would be willing to pass my resume along for a 2007 Summer Associate position, I’d be greatly appreciative.

Election Day

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 7, 2006

I got up early and voted this morning. Kevin Zeese for Senate, Bob Ehrlich for Governor, and a melange of abstaining, writing myself in, and voting for the Republican (since it’s a Democrat-heavy district and I’m a contrarian) in the down-ticket races. My girlfriend, like Jeremy, isn’t sure about voting. She (and all other Marylanders) …

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Amish Proceed Stoically Following Tragedy

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 12, 2006

Rather than place a memorial or some other shrine to the five little girls killed in a school shooting in Nickel Mines, PA, the Amish community quitely demolished the schoolhouse in the wee hours of the morning and plan to leave the site as a pasture. One of the toughest aspects of being stoic is …

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Will, Quoting Sager, on What’s Wrong With Conservatives

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 6, 2006

George Will is no longer amused by the Republican Party’s hijinks. This column blasts Mark Foley and Dennis Hastert for scandal and coverup, respectively. Foley, who has entered alcohol rehab, says he takes “responsibility” for what he has become as a result of abusive priests and demon rum. Having so quickly exhausted the Oprah approach, …

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The Most Fun Violation of Legal Ethics

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 27, 2006

Breaking Model Rule 1.8(j): (j) A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced. Looks like Howard K. Stern broke that rule at least once with Anna Nicole Smith.

Lincoln on Litigation

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 24, 2006

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” -Abraham Lincoln

Medical Tourism and Stupid Unions

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 21, 2006

I was listening to Marketplace Takeout this morning on the way into work and heard something interesting. You know how the conventional wisdom is that in-person services like surgeries are shielded from global competition? According to this story, that’s all changing. This month, eight Americans are scheduled for stomach stapling surgery here at Delhi’s Apollo …

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Keillor on Airline Security

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 14, 2006

I almost never agree with Garrison Keillor on anything political, but his latest column in the Chicago Tribune is brilliant. They can search each laptop for possible terrorist-type writing and confiscate cell phones, white powder, shoelaces, car keys, pencils, anything sharp or cylindrical or made of glass, and interrogate people randomly, putting them naked into …

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A New Drinking Dilemma

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 29, 2006

In a drinker’s life, there are many hard choices: Bourbon or Scotch? Vodka or Gin? Lager or Ale? While I’ve successfully dealt with all of these before, there’s a new dilemma that has me stumped: Beef or Pork? Like the infamous OPB, I might take a pass on this one. Yours truly,Mr. X …eclectic…

Three Book Reviews

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 24, 2006

Three excellent book reviews for what sound like three terrible books (one of which is on my shelf at home, waiting to be read). First, Reason’s Cheryl Miller rips into Judith Levine’s anti-consumer book, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. Levine airily insists that necessities in New York are different from those of a …

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The New Suffix

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 24, 2006

My friends and I have a habit of reading fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants and sharing them with each other. Nearly all fortunes are made much more entertaining by the addition of the words “in bed” at the end. Example: “Every exit creates a new entrance.” – trite homily “Every exit creates a new entrance, …

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The $40 Lawyer

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 6, 2006

It’s Fall recruitment time and I’m sending out resumes to large law firms to get a coveted summer associate position next year. Probably in a nice firm with a big office and a high salary. Nice as that is, I sometimes think I’d rather be this guy: Prosecutors keep pressuring him to make their lives …

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A Funny Thing Happened in the Forum

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 20, 2006

The International Stoic Forum, that is. A certain provocateur posted a message about how we forum members were all “peace-nick pacifist care-bears.” Certain members were not familiar with the term “care bear” and its usage in Internet parlance. Which led to this hilarious reply from Robin (emphasis mine): Paul wrote:> — In stoics@yahoogroups.com, “alicorn1976” wrote:>> …

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Subversive Philly Ads

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 27, 2006

The Philadelpia Daily News has a series of mock ads encouraging people to move to the City of Brotherly love. They’re cute and subversive. In other news, law school continues to kick my ass and I’m going to be in Portland this weekend for the Libertarian National Convention. What’s happening with you? Yours truly,Mr. X …

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Short Update

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 12, 2006

Evidence is kicking my ass, Law Review is kicking my ass, and work is kicking my ass. Hence the light bloggery. Also, the following quote is gold: “A man may fail, but he does not become a failure until he blames somebody else.” -J. Paul Getty Yours truly,Mr. X …iron, lion, zion…

People Don’t Do the Right Thing

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 6, 2006

There have been a number of instances in the past few weeks where people have not treated me appropriately. Whether through malice or negligence, they just didn’t live up to the standards that I would expect. This used to be something that I would get angry about, where I’d say, “They should treat me better.” …

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Rebirth

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 26, 2006

My laptop hard drive suffered a catastrophic failure earlier this week. All of my data files, pictures, and music were lost. Luckily I had a backup of Quicken, so my financial records should be safe or at least easily reconstructed. I’ve ordered a new hard drive that should get here next week and I’m buying …

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Vegas and a quote

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 15, 2006

I’m off to sunny Las Vegas on Thursday. Wish me luck at the tables and in a poker tournament I’m playing in. Also, this quote touched a chord: There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all. -Ogden Nash, …

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Netflix and ING

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 3, 2006

If any of my intrepid readers who don’t already have Netflix would like a free month to try it, drop me an email before May 8. Ditto for anyone who doesn’t yet have an ING Direct account and would like a free $25. Yours truly,Mr. X …clearing the inboxes…

My Slippery Slope is Lubricated by Mormon Sex Brigades

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 26, 2006

A dire warning about the dangers of gay marriage should give you all pause. But gay marriage and polygamy are only the beginning, because the dark road that begins with equal rights leads inexorably to the next terrifying step: legalized, state-sponsored robot sex! I love my iPod, but I don’t love my iPod. Yet. Yours …

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Knapp on Iran

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 22, 2006

Tom Knapp has a cool, dispassionate analysis of why it would be batshit fucking insane for us to attack Iran. Shithouse rat crazy doesn’t even begin to cover the state of mind required to entertain this kind of thing. Throw in the trial balloons about preemptive nuclear strikes — on a country bordering Russia — …

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War on Jihadism

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 17, 2006

Jonathan Rauch has an excellent article at Reason that clarifies who and what we’re really fighting in the “War on Terror.” Jihadism is not a tactic, like terrorism, or a temperament, like radicalism or extremism. It is not a political pathology like Stalinism, a mental pathology like paranoia, or a social pathology like poverty. Rather, …

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Today is Inbox Zero Day

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 12, 2006

Fueled by coffee and the sweet electronica of Deep Dish, I’m implementing Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero today at work. Because 271 messages in my Inbox is 271 too many. Yours truly,Mr. X …clearing the decks…

Legal Writing (and Doodles)

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 5, 2006

This divorce petition is a shining example of…umm…creative legal writing. Don’t miss the special guest appearance of General Relief on pp. 8. Hat tip: De Novo Yours truly,Mr. X …aspiring to greatness…

Choose Math

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 22, 2006

Via Boing Boing, Choose Math. Choose math because you will make more money. Winners of American Idol and other “celebrities” may make money, but only a tiny number of people have enough celebrity to make money, and most of them get stale after a few years. Then it is back to school, or to less …

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Centerfolds

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 22, 2006

The New Yorker has an excellent review of “The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds“. Like most New Yorker reviews, there is a brief discussion of the book and then a long and winding road into the context from which it comes. Joan Acocella examines the background and later works of the various centerfolds, the …

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Creepiest Safety Video Ever

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 13, 2006

Via Hit & Run, I give you the creepiest safety video ever. Watch the rat-tailed ape-children get hit by cars for failing to use proper bike safety. Warning: Do not watch under the influence of hallucinogens. Yours truly,Mr. X …mourning Tinkerbell McDillingfiddy…

Mohammed Cartoons

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 13, 2006

Professor Eugene Volokh has a good analysis of the cartoon controversy, complete with illustrations. Yours truly,Mr. X …instablogging…

On Folding

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 9, 2006

I haven’t been playing much poker lately, but in preparation for getting back into it, I read Tommy angelo’s article, Folding. After my first taste of big-time folding, I felt that if I could get really good at it, I could quit my job. So I made folding my holy grail, my quest, my mountain …

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How To Become Wealthy

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 2, 2006

While wading through a very bad argument on The Volokh Conspiracy, I (and other critics) were dressed-down in the comment thread by Clayton Cramer. His critiques were of tone, rather than substance, which I take as evidence for the rightness of my opinion. I clicked on his website, to get a sense of where he …

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Civil Obedience: A Meditation On the Speed Limit

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 1, 2006

Some Atlanta students decide to obey the speed limit and video the results.Watch the video. Yours truly,Mr. X …inspired…

The Meme Machine

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 16, 2006

Heidi, one of Boozie‘s readers, tagged me with one of those damnable Internet memes. In a rare exception to my general rule not to do things like this (the only thing worse are those damn tests, e.g Which Rule of Federal Civil Procedure Are You?, here goes: Four Jobs that I’ve Had Food Distribution Manager …

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Killer Shrimp Update

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 13, 2006

In perusing my logs, I’ve noted that “killer shrimp” is one of the most common search phrases that leads to my site. It all stems from a post about a man who died after having a shrimp flung at him by a Benihana chef and his subsequent lawsuit. It looks like he lost. Hat tip …

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Really Bad Beat

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 6, 2006

Adam Slutsky describes the ultimate bad beat in poker. Yours truly,Mr. X …damn…

Kozinski Strikes Again

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 2, 2006

Goddamn, do I love reading Alex Kozinski’s opinions. The latest, exonerating a woman who was wrongly imprisoned for twelve years for allegedly writing bad checks, is genius. Goldyn was convicted by a jury of five counts of Drawing and Passing Checks with Insufficient Funds on Deposit, in violation of Nev. Rev. Stat. 205.130. Because she …

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The Peekaboo Paradox

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 31, 2006

I just finished reading the best newspaper article I’ve read all year. Gene Weingarten profiles children’s entertainer and compulsive gambler, The Great Zucchini, with a sensitivity and honesty that floored me. The Great Zucchini actually does magic tricks, but they are mostly dime-store novelty gags — false thumbs to hide a handkerchief, magic dust that …

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What is Design?

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 27, 2006

Joel Spolsky, author of Joel on Software and CEO of Fog Creek Software is writing a series of articles on “Great Design.” The most recent installment, Great Design: What is Design? (First Draft), contains some good insights. First, for all of my graphic artist friends: You know those gorgeous old brownstones in New York City? …

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Law School Thoughts

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 4, 2006

A funny article for you to peruse as I leave for my cruise. Five days on a boat eating and drinking with abandon. Be jealous. Boozie emailed me Miss Doxie’s Law Students, You Are Asking For Trouble, And I Am Now Forced To Bring It, because “it reminded me of you.” She was right, especially …

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Podcasts of Note: AudioStoa and Marketplace Takeout

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 13, 2005

WAMU moved the Marketplace Morning report from 8:50 am to 7:50 am, so I’ve been missing it for about a week (I’m not in the car at 7:50 am). Since I was up early this morning to restart my training for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March (and hopefully get out of my funk), I …

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Money, Money, Money

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 12, 2005

Jane Galt has an excellent post about what you should do with your money. Yours truly, Mr. X …lightweight…

Pandora: Coolest Music App Ever

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 1, 2005

Johnny Law tipped me off to Pandora, and awesome web application that uses the Music Genome Project to create a dynamic web radio station based on the songs or artists you put in. On top of that, it’s integrated with iTunes. Words do not suffice to express its coolness. You just have to try it …

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The Law Review Article I Wish I Wrote

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 15, 2005

Hit & Run notes a law review article examining bureaucracy and government through the prism of Harry Potter. This Essay examines what the Harry Potter series (and particularly the most recent book, The Half-Blood Prince) tells us about government and bureaucracy. There are two short answers. The first is that Rowling presents a government (The …

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The Anti-Complaint

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 15, 2005

Bruce Godfrey has an excellent idea for a good deed that costs very little and can make a great difference in the life of those you interact with on a daily basis. Yours truly, Mr. X …git ‘r done…

Board of Trustees Town Hall Meeting

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 11, 2005

As the Washington Post announced, there was a town hall meeting with members of the Board of Trustees tonight. Not the entire Board, but a subset attended, in advance of the full Board meeting tomorrow. John, Alex, Jaisen, and I went after class tonight to speak out about the governance situation. Firstly, I’m glad that …

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Cracks in the Coalition

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 3, 2005

…and crags in the face. Reading the Economist article about Germany’s coalition government meltdown, I’m left with one burning question: Why is it that the German leaders are so unattractive and frankly, tired-looking? Given that I’m operating on three hours of sleep after finishing my Comment first draft (email me if you want to read …

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A Bad Reason to Go to Law School

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 31, 2005

This is probably the worst reason to go to law school I’ve ever seen. Yours truly, Mr. X …heh…

Associate Justice Alito?

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 31, 2005

In an unsurprising move, Bush nominated Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court this morning. There will be a fight, what with Alito having dissented in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991) reversed and remanded by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), but after …

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AU Board of Trustees v. United States Senate

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 28, 2005

Anyone want to take some bets on who’s going to win this one? The Washington Post is reporting that our calls for Congress to step in have been answered. The Senate Finance Committee has asked for every document related to ousted American University president Benjamin Ladner’s severance package and compensation and for the board’s plans …

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Campus to Board of Trustees: You Suck!

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 26, 2005

What sort of bizzaro world do the remaining members of the Board of Trustees live in that they think they can give Ben ‘I Spend Your Tuition on Private Parties to Build a Community and You Should Thank Me For It’ Ladner a fat severance deal and have the campus accept it? As noted today …

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Ladner Resigns, Takes Severance

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 25, 2005

The AU Board of Trustees (what’s left of it after the good ones have resigned, e.g. Leslie Bains, Paul Wolff, Michael Capellas, Leonard Jaskol, and George Collins) has accepted Ben Ladner’s resignation in exchange for a $3.7 million package ($2.75 million in deferred compensation and $950,000 in severance). The $2.75 million includes just over $1 …

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Do What Needs To Be Done

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 25, 2005

Today’s quote from Thus Spoke Epictetus is a very powerful one: “Once you allow outward things to dominate what is your own, you had better become a slave and have done with it. Don’t be drawn this way and that, wishing to be a slave one moment and free another, but be this or that …

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My Little Crony

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 21, 2005

I’ve avoided the Miers nomination like the plague, mostly because I don’t care. However, this cartoon makes a pretty succinct argument. Also, the VC’s Jim Lindgren has a good post about her lack of writing ability. Since writing is what Justices do, this is a hefty weight against her. Yours truly, Mr. X …still doesn’t …

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Biker Gang Book, Redux

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 18, 2005

Bill Queen spent two years infiltrating the Mongols motorcycle club for the ATF. As a story in this morning’s WaPo points out, bikers like publicity, even if it involves them going to jail. While his former Mongol associates were still in prison, Queen retired from the ATF and published a book about his adventures called …

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Post Puff Piece on Poor Prez

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 17, 2005

The Post has a new profile piece on Ladner and his contradictions, in which they try to show the human face of the man they helped oust. Before the audit, before the no-confidence votes, before trustees removed him as president of American University, Benjamin Ladner taught ethics. That’s the heart of his now contradictory story: …

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Pussy Beer

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 17, 2005

No, not the watery and near-tasteless (though improved immensely by the addition of Gatorade) Michelob Ultra that John, Boozie, and I drank after our 13.1 miles of hell on Saturday. That’s beer for pussies. This is rather beer from pussies. Or rather from one pussy. Toi Sennhauser‘s pussy, to be exact. By adding a trace …

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Poker Stars Blogger Tournament

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 14, 2005

I have registered to play in theOnline Poker Blogger Championship! This event is powered by PokerStars. Registration code: 4897179 You ought to sign up too. Yours truly,Mr. X …more the merrier… UPDATE: Out at 463 out of a field of 1473. Not bad, but not a winner either.

Ladnergate: Wolff Leaves Board

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 14, 2005

According to the Washington Post, trustee Paul Wolff has resigned, news that comes only a couple of days after Leslie Bains resigned. An American University trustee who had been openly critical of ousted president Benjamin Ladner resigned from the board yesterday, saying he could not support the effort underway to negotiate a severance deal with …

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In Case You Need a Reason Not to Drink in DC

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 13, 2005

This should suffice. Stupid DC laws. Yours truly, Mr. X …test case…

Morning Mencken

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 13, 2005

A little something to think about this morning: You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956) Yours truly,Mr. X …digging and spreading…

Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Ass

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 11, 2005

Ben Ladner, found to have been getting high on our supply, has been sacked by the AU Board of Trustees. American University trustees announced this evening that suspended President Benjamin Ladner will not return to the university after a months-long investigation into his personal spending and travel expenses. The announcement, which came at about 8:30 …

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Don’t Check Your Common Sense at the Door

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 6, 2005

The whole point of law school is to teach a person how to ‘think like a lawyer’ and impart a basic understanding of the law. Thinking like a lawyer doesn’t mean that you should forget how to think. As my lawyer once told me, “Law is a distillation of common sense. 99% of the time, …

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Weekend Recap

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 5, 2005

Red dress, party, car break down, new car purchase, tired. Yours truly,Mr. X …ugh…

The Surreal Life: Ben Ladner Edition

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 29, 2005

Johnny Law has an update on the Ben Ladner situation, including pics from the on-campus protest we attended yesterday evening. As if the personal chef and exquisite five thousand dollar lunches weren’t enough for President Ladner, the Washington Post uncovered a confidental memo to the Board requsting an additional five million in compensation to maintain …

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Ladner, a Message to You…

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 27, 2005

Leave. The faculty, student government, and half the board of trustees agree. Like closing time at the bar (e.g the open bar you bought with $44,000 of our money), you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. I think that this picture from BenLadner.com says it all: Yours truly,Mr. X …not amused…

Porkbusters: Make Congress Trim Some Fat

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 27, 2005

Stephen VanDyke’s heads up informed me about the Porkbusters campaign to reduce wasteful government spending to offset Katrina rebuilding efforts. I may not be the Libertarian Party, but as a Libertarian, I contacted my Congressman, Albert Wynn, to request a specific spending cut. Dear Congressman Wynn,In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the whole country was …

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Role Model?

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 23, 2005

Is AU President Ben Ladner a good role model? As noted in this Washington Post story, Mr. Ladner has bilked the school for $500,000 in spurious expenses, above and beyond his ridiculous $800,000 annual salary. The spending in dispute includes travel expenses, more than $6,000 in club dues, nearly $54,000 in drivers’ costs, more than …

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The Onion: Satire site or Delphic oracle?

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 15, 2005

On February 18, 2004, The Onion published a story entitled, “Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades,” describing a fictional Gillette executive’s response to the Schick Quattro, a razor that offered four blades to the Gillette Mach 3‘s paltry three. You think it’s crazy? It is crazy. But I don’t give a shit. From now on, …

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Breaking the Silence

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 13, 2005

I finished my first cite-checking assignment Sunday night. Somehow I found about 25 hours above and beyond my normal work and school duties to find sources in three different libraries, copy and collate them, and edit 20 or so pages of scholarly article. All that, and I still don’t feel like I did a good …

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Stoicism in Action: New Orleans Edition

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 1, 2005

A commentary this morning on NPR by Chris Rose served as a reminder of how hard it can be to remain stoic in the face of disaster. Yours truly,Mr. X …dealing with smaller problems…

Harlan McCraney: Presidential Speechalist

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 16, 2005

The power to craft words into moving speeches is an awesome power, especially when you’re crafting speeches for the President of the United State. Harlan McCraney is that master crafter. As an aside, Andy Dick is quite funny in The Aristocrats, which you should see. Yours truly,Mr. X …me talk pretty one day…

I have joined the Pod people

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 16, 2005

The FedEx guy delivered my brand spanking new iPod mini today, shipped straight from the Apple factory in Shanghai where it had “Die of exhaustion rather than boredom” laser-engraved on the back. My arm-band holder for said iPod arrived at the same time, which bodes well for KMFDM-fueled half-marathon training runs in the near future. …

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Don’t Mess With Texas

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 10, 2005

H.L. Mencken* once said, “A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.” Nemo linked me to a Texas District Court order, 943 F. Supp. 782, regarding a change of venue. The Defendant (Colonial Penn Insurance Company) moved to have the case moved from the Galveston division to the Houston division, citing …

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That’s a big ad

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 9, 2005

A damn big beer ad. Speaking of beer, I’m planning on running the annual DC Area Hash Beer Mile this Friday. (Note: we do a full sixer, not this four beer crap.) Any suggestions for brands or strategies for drinking without vomiting? I’m guessing that chugging a sixer at the beginning or the end would …

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Knapp on the state of empire

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 28, 2005

Tom Knapp has written something that you ought to read: Since going back to an all-volunteer force after Vietnam, the military has depended on incentives to get young men and women to enlist. One of those incentives — unstated but definitely at play — is that while the kid is building a college fund and …

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An Invitation

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 21, 2005

I received this in my email last night: Mr. X,Congratulations, it is with great pleasure that I invite you to join the American University Law Review. I sincerely hope that you will choose to become a member of our staff. Law Review offers many challenging and rewarding experiences, and I look forward to your joining …

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The Best Defense

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 12, 2005

During my Wills, Trusts, & Estates class tonight, we covered the sad case of Azcunce v. Estate of Azcunce, 586 So. 2d 1216 (Fla. App. 3rd Dist. 1991). The father executed a will naming his three children at the time: Lisette, Natalie, and Gabriel. He then had a fourth child about a year later, Patricia. …

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A Million Ways to Be Cruel

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 1, 2005

OK Go has a brilliant dance number set to their song, A Million Ways to be Cruel. Hat tip: Johnny Law. Yours truly,Mr. X …off for the weekend… UPDATE: NPR’s All Things Considered did an interview with the lead singer of the band and his choreographer sister.

Preemah Fakiay or: Be Careful, Young Pedantic Lawyer

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 29, 2005

Michael Gilleland points out a quite funny example of what happens when pedants try to impose historical usage on people who have been using a language quite nicely, thank you: The same may be said of all the professions in which the ‘dead’ languages are not merely the toys of pedagogues but the constant tools …

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Banana Man and Vegas

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 29, 2005

Small mid-week distraction. The sweet, surreal, tropical stylings of Banana Man. I’m back from Las Vegas (actually I got back on Sunday) with more money than I left with. Didn’t play any poker, despite staying at the Rio, where the 2005 World Series of Poker was being held. I did see “Jesus” in the hallway, …

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We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 21, 2005

When working on making progress it is important to guard against ourselves. When life throws you a curve or someone chews you out, the first inclination of a human being is to look outward for the cause. Epictetus (Handbook 48) counsels that this is the path of the uneducated person; a philosopher will do the …

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My Soul Brother

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 16, 2005

I’ve added this upstanding law student to my blogroll. I think he has captured the essential key to success in the legal acadamy: drunkenness. Yours truly, Mr. X …a kindred spirit…

Expeditors International: Coolest. Company. Ever.

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 13, 2005

Expeditors International, a non-asset-based freight forwarding concern, is also the coolest company ever. They have a dedication to their customers, employees, and shareholders. They also have a dedication to honesty and straightforwardness that would make Mencken proud. Now call me a geek, but I really enjoy reading their SEC 8-K filings. SEC filings are normally …

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Debt forgiveness and positive change

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 13, 2005

Tom Knapp posts some very good criticisms of the current foreign aid regime, in light of recent announcements of $40 billion in debt forgiveness for African nations. The fundamental point about foreign aid going to oligarchs in the borrowing countries is an important one: First of all, the idea that the money was lent to …

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The Sage of Baltimore

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 10, 2005

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything philosophical, so here are some words of wisdom from H. L. Mencken, the Mencken Creed: I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind – that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage …

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Magic Commerce

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 10, 2005

Like most libertarians, I was disappointed that Professor Barnett‘s arguments did not prevail in Gonzales v. Raich. Not surprising (in fact, it’s surprising that it was only a 6-3 decision), but still disappointing. Justice Stevens managed to find interstate commerce in the intrastate, private growing of cannabis for personal, state-approved, medical use. I’ve been having …

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Tokyo Plastic

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 8, 2005

Candy for the eyes and ears: Drum Machine Music Box Yours truly,Mr. X …digital crack dealer…

Gardening With X

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 7, 2005

So, I’m poking around in my garden a couple of weekends ago, raking and weeding and whatnot. Walking around the side of the house, I see the blackberry cane that I had planted a week or two prior. It’s showing no visible signs of growth, just sitting there like a thorny stick. This would be …

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Almost Enough to Convince Me to Teach

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 7, 2005

Michael Gilleland posts an awesome Mencken quote (but really, aren’t they all) about teaching. A man who knows a subject thoroughly, a man so soaked in it that he eats it, sleeps it and dreams it — this man can almost always teach it with success, no matter how little he knows of technical pedagogy. …

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Who doesn’t like jetskiing?

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 3, 2005

Generally, the Drew Carey remake of Whose Line Is It Anyway? pales in comparison to the original Channel 4 version of same. However, this movie, in which Richard Simmons is a ‘prop,’ is so funny that you may actually soil yourself. You have been warned. Yours truly, Mr. X …my sides still hurt…

Confronted by mortality

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 26, 2005

I was confronted by my own mortality this morning. I didn’t wreck my car or motorcycle, nor was I otherwise physically injured. I woke up, got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror. And there it was. Death was staring me in the face. He didn’t come as a tall …

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Games

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 24, 2005

A few links for those who need something to waste their time with. This site has pretty much every video game ever, in a web-accessible version. Hat tip to Jeremy for finding it. Ward Farnsworth’s Predator at the Chessboard is a great resource for beginners looking to learn about chess tactics. Hat tip to Professor …

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Observations from the weekend

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 23, 2005

It is with sincere apologies to those of you who can’t get enough long and serious posts about international affairs that I present some observations from my weekend. When running around Arlington in a toga, blitzed on wine, trading underwear with a strange woman will seem like a good idea. While panties can be quite …

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But at least we didn’t flush the Koran

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 20, 2005

According to a confidential Army report, interrogators brutally abused prisoners until they died at a prison camp in Afghanistan. The Guardian reports: The New York Times carries a graphic account of Dilawar’s torture and death. His legs were beaten so badly that he could not bend them to kneel, and he was chained for days …

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America Is Awesome!

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 19, 2005

Myke’s been ranting on again about how the Fourth Estate is really a Fifth Column treasonously aiding the ‘enemy’ in the War on Terror. This latest round from the enemy 5th column we call our “free press” has got me thinking. Also, in the entry previous, he remarks: There’s a difference between dissent and enemy …

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Many Words

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 18, 2005

“He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink.” –John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705) Yours truly,Mr. X …succinct today…

Mojo’s Bootleg Shack

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 12, 2005

A friend of mine turned me on to Mojo’s Bootleg Shack. Free Mojo Nixon bootlegs! How freaking awesome? Remember what the Dead Milkmen say in “Punk Rock Girl“: We went to a shopping mallAnd laughed at all the shoppersAnd security guards trailed us to a record shopWe asked for Mojo NixonThey said he don’t work …

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Beware the Jihad!

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 5, 2005

Another entry in the mindless entertainment that punctuates my panic dept. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has received a communique from a new terrorist group. In the interest of all of our safety, he has reprinted it. An excerpt: Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is …

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Don’t Stop Me Now

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 3, 2005

We interrupt this week of freaking the hell out about exams to bring you a twisted little Flash movie. Don’t Stop Me Now is a surreal little adventure culminating in an awesome Vandals cover of an equally awesome Queen song. Enjoy. Yours truly,Mr. X …back to writing…

Important Legislation in Idaho

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 21, 2005

The Idaho legislature has proposed House Concurrent Resolution 29, to honor the creators of Napoleon Dynamite. All of the reasons for the resolution are great, but this one seemed to come close to violating the collegial spirit of the legislature by impugning the character of other legislators. WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives …

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Westlaw Gets Punk’d…or does it?

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 13, 2005

De Novo reports that LexisNexis has a quiz on its site that’s a glorified slam on its archrival, Westlaw. All you aspiring legal writers, the following attempt at a persuasive question is generously referred to as ‘ham-handed’ (Hint: The answer’s not A.): Which legal research system’s headnotes are not comprised soley of the court’s own …

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The Dresden Dolls Rock

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 9, 2005

After work today I got on my motorcycle and rode down to the main AU campus to see a free Dresden Dolls show. Billing themselves as ‘Brechtian Punk Cabaret,’ this duo combines powerful piano, passionate lyrics, and great drumwork with an ambience of a Weimar-era cabaret. White-faced minions mingled through the crowd passing out pinwheels …

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U.S. Catholics would support changes

By Nicholas Sarwark | April 4, 2005

According to CNN, U.S. Catholics would support changes in Vatican policy towards birth control, stem cell research, and marriage of priests. In other shocking news, the sky is blue and water is wet. For more insightful discussion of the previous papacy, listen to last Sunday’s Metro Talk segment. Yours truly, Mr. X …loving the pope …

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Spider Porn!

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 31, 2005

Professor P.Z. Myers has a wonderful examination (with pictures!) of the mating rituals of spiders. Another important and dangerous step is flagging down a willing female. Spiders often have elaborate courtship rituals, with fancy dancing, wig-wagging palps, and fragrant pheromones, all working to convince the female, who is a ferocious predator, that the male is …

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Sin City

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 30, 2005

…is the first movie that I’ve really, really wanted to see in a long time. I saw the trailer at the Uptown before watching The Aviator. Absolutely breathtaking. From JM McNab’s description, I just want to see it more. The stories are well thought out and often surprising, but it is the execution of the …

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I Love Women

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 23, 2005

This is not some sort of declaration that I’m not gay or bi, although I’m not (NTTAWWT). It’s rather that I appreciate women as women, in all their many forms. They’re beautiful and soft and kind and a whole lot of fun to be with. Outer Life has an excellent paean to women that more …

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The Law of Monkey

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 21, 2005

David Wong’s The Law of Monkey explains why people are the way they are. Picture a monkey. A monkey dressed like a little pirate, if you wish. We’ll call him Slappy. Imagine you have Slappy as a pet. Imagine a personality for him. Maybe you and he have little pirate monkey adventures and maybe even …

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Truer words were never spoken

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 14, 2005

Our Criminal Law professor requires a short paper for the term in addition to the traditional end-of-semester exam. While he was answering questions about the paper, a fellow classmate asked whether the paper should be as extensively footnoted as a law review article (where there is typically a 1:1 ratio between text and footnotes). The …

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Win some, lose some

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 11, 2005

I played in one of the Party Poker multi-table freerolls last night for four freaking hours. Placed 30 out of 2299. Got knocked out through my own stupidity. Dealt QTd, flop came KJx, and I pushed all-in. Got beaten by AKo. Not good to get punchy late at night. On the other hand, I won …

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“Have fun, don’t die”

By Nicholas Sarwark | March 8, 2005

Carrington Vanston, one of my favorite Canadians, has a sobering look at the “African Cliff.” Sex, being normal and natural and healthy and fun, is not something people will abstain from. It’s not something people have ever abstained from. It’s not something people will ever abstain from. And it’s not something people should abstain from. …

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Corpus Delicti

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 24, 2005

According to the ‘Lectric Law Library Lexicon, “corpus delicti” is defined as: The body of the offence; the essence of the crime. It was a general rule not to convict unless the corpus delicti can be established, that is, until the dead body has been found. Instances have occurred of a person being convicted of …

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Epictetus Recap

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 24, 2005

I have a backlog of really good Epictetus quotes from Thus Spoke Epictetus that I wanted to share. “It is difficult to unite and combine these qualities–the diligence of a man who devotes himself to material things, and the constancy of one who disregards them–yet not impossible. Otherwise it would be impossible to be happy.” …

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WWHSTD? Kill himself, apparently.

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson capped himself last night. A man of superhuman genius, Dionysian appetites for mind-altering substances, and a deep and abiding insanity, Thompson was one of my heros. The gonzo ethic, balls to the wall at all times, served as an inspiration. I always wanted to meet the good Doctor. Now I don’t get …

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I Can Die Now

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 19, 2005

I’m a poker player and all around degenerate gambler. Gambling’s a vice, but it’s my vice. That and drinking. Lately I’ve been playing online at Party Poker. A big sea full of fish. If I could stop being such a maniac, I’d probably do better, but that’s another story. So I’m playing a little low-limit …

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On Choosing Better Targets

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 17, 2005

Greenpeace protesters decided that they wanted to interrupt energy trading in London as some sort of counterpoint to International Petroleum Week (“I scream, you scream, we all scream for light crude.”) According to the Times story, young energy futures traders do not the best targets make: What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial …

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Lightening the Load

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 16, 2005

As most of you know, I work full-time while taking 9-10 law school credits a semester. This semester has been pretty killer, with trial memos, classes, work, and general life stuff piling on. Always wanting to be the super-hard law student, I signed up for the moot court qualifying competition. As part of the competition …

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HoT: Libertarian Girl Is Russian Bride/Ugly Guy

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 14, 2005

Looks like our favorite Ann Coulter wannabe is in fact a Russian mail-order bride (link no longer good). My suspicions of something funny going on were raised when I found the same blog post on two different vapid pink pages of crap, and they have been confirmed by Catallarchy. For those with strong stomachs, there’s …

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Second Amendment Challenge to D.C. Code Dismissed

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 8, 2005

According to Matt at Stop the Bleating!, the D.C. Circuit dismissed an NRA-supported challenge to the D.C. gun laws. The good news is that the dismissal was procedural; the court held that the appellants didn’t have standing unless there was an imminent threat of prosecution. The reasoning seems a little stretched, applying a different standard …

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Life Imitates Art: Stripes Edition

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 8, 2005

According to the New York Daily News, the guards at Camp Bucca, a military prison in Iraq, have been having some interesting hand-to-hand combat competitions. In front of a cheering male audience, two young women wearing only bras and panties throw themselves into a mud-filled plastic kiddie pool and roll around in a wild wrestling …

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The Cuddly Menace

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 7, 2005

Myke sent me an urgent warning about The Cuddly Menace. Spread the word while there is still time. We must unite to fight the Zogg. Yours truly, Mr. X …sounding the distress beacon…

Rockin’ Bush Track

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 3, 2005

The Hammer of Truth clues us in to an 18-minute mashup of our fearless leader. It’s groovy. Yours truly, Mr. X …kicking it…

Hostage Development

By Nicholas Sarwark | February 2, 2005

The Hammer of Truth reports that a very special hostage has been captured by Iraqi terrorists. Damn you Cobra Commander! Yours truly, Mr. X …real American hero…

Ah, the joy of welfare

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 31, 2005

Germany, that paradise of social welfare services, has implemented welfare reform in light of rising unemployment. If unemployed workers refuse to take a job, their benefits are cut. Germany also legalized prostitution two years ago. Can you guess the logical result? According to the Telegraph story, a 25-year-old woman is about to lose her welfare …

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If the question is wrong, the answer doesn’t matter

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 30, 2005

Saturday’s Thus Spoke Epictetus quote: “‘What good do I get from following your teachings?’ What greater good do you look for than this? You were shameless and shall be self-respecting, untrustworthy and you shall be trusted, dissolute and you shall be self-controlled. If you look for greater things than these, go on doing as you …

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Marxist Limerick

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 27, 2005

Found in the comments of this insightful post about suicide bombing at The Virtual Stoa. There was a great Marxist named Lenin Who did two or three million men in That’s a lot to have done in But where he did one in That great Marxist Stalin did ten in. Yours truly, Mr. X …giggling …

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Jefferson on Ancient Philosophy

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 27, 2005

Michael Gilleland has a wonderful letter of Thomas Jefferson’s, opining on ancient philosopy. As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. Epictetus indeed, has given us what was good …

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Weekend Recap

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 24, 2005

Friday night was dinner at Alero, complete with pitchers of margaritas and a lot of overloud and inappropriate dinner conversation (thanks, Jaisen). After dinner I went home to prepare for the first year moot court competition in the morning. That was the plan, but after the sleep deprivation on Thursday night, I just sacked out. …

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Thank you for driving badly

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 23, 2005

Washington, D.C. drivers have an annoying habit of speeding up, then stopping. It’s like stop and go driving is their ideal mode of transportation. Owning a sports car has taught me to prefer the opposite, a smooth driving style of matching speed to traffic conditions to minimize stops and starts. As I commute every day, …

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Rat Pack Cocktail Party

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 16, 2005

American Express has this points program to allow their loyal cardholders to shop for useless crap as a reward for charging lots of useless crap on their cards. Wonder of wonders, I found a non-crap item in their catalog and I had enough points to order it. What, you ask, was the item? Three Rat …

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Scalia v. Breyer

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 14, 2005

Having to work, I caught most of the discussion between Justices Scalia and Breyer held at my law school via C-SPAN (first on the web and then in the car), but I got to school in time to see the last bit from one of the multiple viewing rooms on campus. As I was telling …

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OMG: No Weapons! Color me shocked.

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 12, 2005

Apparently after wasting lots of time and money on a wild goose chase, the White House has decided to end the search. About freaking time. But wait, there’s more. Chief U.S. weapons hunter Charles Duelfer is to deliver his final report on the search next month. ”It’s not going to fundamentally alter the findings of …

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Libertarian Girl: Vapid and now Plagiarized

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 11, 2005

Libertarian Girl has been a busy blogger in the last month. So far she’s done her best to associate the moniker “Libertarian” with vapid, insensitive, reactionary drivel. Examples: Opining on GWB’s judicial appointments without knowing anything about them: I don’t know the specifics of each of his appointments who were filibustered by Democrats, but I …

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Judgements over appearances

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 11, 2005

In my ongoing quest to find the right way to live I subscribe to Thus Spoke Epictetus, a service that emails an Epictetus quote each day. Today’s quote: “A man is not indeed like a stone or a log, that you can show what he is by just pointing a finger, but you show what …

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Balloons are the new clowns.

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 6, 2005

Be careful around balloons. Like clowns and Santa Claus, they will kill you. Hat tip: Allyson. Yours truly, Mr. X …super freak…

Satisfaction

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 6, 2005

Ministry of Sound has some seriously cool stuff. This video by Benny Benassi has it all. Hot chicks, power tools, hard beats, and synth vocals. Hat tip: cyberbutterfly. Yours truly, Mr. X …rocking out…

Real Life vs. The Internet

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 5, 2005

Johnny Law sent me a link to this hilarious educational video from Red Vs. Blue explaining the differences between real life and the Internet. Pardon me my friend, but I am Nigeerian royiltyn and I need you to send me money. Please ignore the fact that I don’t know how to spell Nigerian or royalty. …

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Parking ticket…or is it?

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 5, 2005

Walking back to my car from the metro tonight, I saw a foreign piece of paper lodged beneath my windshield wiper. Great. Another $20-35 donation to the DC budget for violating some obscure parking regulation. When I got to my car, it turned out that the paper was not a dreaded ticket, but a business …

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Tsunami = War on Terror Opportunity?

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 4, 2005

According to Colin Powell, American efforts to provide tsunami aid may help fight terror. “I hope that as a result of our efforts, as a result of our helicopter pilots being seen by the citizens of Indonesia helping them, that value system of ours will be reinforced,” Powell said. I suppose I’m hopelessly naive and …

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Let’s start a gulag!

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 2, 2005

According to a Washington Post article: Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials. Okay, we’re not going to try them, deport them, charge them …

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Give some money to aid tsunami relief efforts

By Nicholas Sarwark | January 2, 2005

Sulekha.com is doing a dollar-for-dollar match for funds donated to Association for India’s Development (AID) relief program for tsunami survivors. AID is a local NGO in India and in my experience, established local NGOs are more efficient in spending relief dollars than the big players who swoop in after a disaster happens. Anyway, give some …

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GWAR!

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 29, 2004

Dwight and I went to see GWAR last night at the 9:30 Club. It rocked! I was covered in blood and guts and urethral pus. John Kerry was decapitated, Paris Hilton was disemboweled, and Laci Peterson’s unborn fetus sprayed us all with goo, and that was just the first half hour. By the end of …

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One Eighth Done

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 19, 2004

My exam-induced hiatus is over. I took my Torts exam last night; four hours of pure stress. The best part about it is…well…it’s over. Not that the class wasn’t great, but there’s nothing very good about spending four hours writing answers to weird hypothetical questions. Now I have three weeks of relative normalcy before I …

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Shocker: Tobacco settlement money being misspent

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 3, 2004

According to a report by the Center for Tobacco Free Kids, New Hampshire spends none of its tobacco settlement money on smoking prevention. ‘New Hampshire’s failure to spend even a penny of the millions of dollars it receives annually from the tobacco settlement to protect its kids would be criminal if this was a private …

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Wisdom from MDFMK

By Nicholas Sarwark | December 2, 2004

I was listening to Control¿ off of MDFMK’s self-titled release and there’s a lesson for Libertarians and other anti-authoritarians. Fight the power And the power will fight back You’re only as good As the system you hack We shouldn’t expect to dismantle oppression without a fight. We should expect ridicule, hatred, media blackouts, and worse. …

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70s Pop, Remixed

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 30, 2004

Warner Brothers has released a new remix album, What is Hip?, Volume 1. Old pop songs from their catalog, mostly from the 70s, remixed by modern artists. Best of all, for those try before you buy people, there’s a free player on their website. With the strangely compelling sounds of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy …

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Turkey Day Weekend Recap

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 30, 2004

Thanksgiving with the family, stuffed to the gills with turkey and pie. In between gluttony, I played lots of gin with my grandfather and my sister had her fourth birthday celebration. I stayed over and hung out most of Friday, eating and playing cards. Occasional reprieves from the studying are nice. Over the weekend I …

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Killer Shrimp

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 25, 2004

As my Torts exam approaches, it’s good to see that all this proximate cause stuff is useful in the real world: A piece of grilled shrimp flung playfully by a Japanese hibachi chef toward a tableside diner is being blamed for causing the man’s death. Making a proximate-cause argument, the lawyer for the deceased man’s …

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Twain’s Writing Advice

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 24, 2004

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910) That’s some damn useful advice. Twainquotes.com has more of his writing quotes, but oddly doesn’t have the one above. The Mark Twain Wikiquote site does, …

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Should a Law School Take Sides?

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 23, 2004

Will Baude has a thought-provoking commentary about law schools taking sides on political issues at Crescat Sententia: The trouble with Dean Koh’s sentiment is most clear with his suggestion that a school should not be neutral “when it comes to questions of law and justice.” The trouble is that people– especially professors and students of …

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Killing the Monkey

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 23, 2004

I turned in my open memo for Legal Rhetoric last night. After a month of reading and synthesizing Connecticut case law on prescriptive easements, it’s a relief to have it all behind me. No more thinking about poor Ms. McGregor and her rose-lined path to the lake that mean Mr. Zuckerman wants to fence off. …

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Good and Bad from the Republicans

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 18, 2004

Good: It looks like Senate tradition will win out over conservative mass emailing/calling, resulting in Arlen Specter being named chairman of the Judiciary committee. Bad: The Republicans changed their party rules to allow Representatives under indictment to serve in leadership positions. So much for ‘sauce for the goose…’ One of the NPR commentators pointed out …

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I welcome our Skull & Bones overlord

By Nicholas Sarwark | November 4, 2004

Well, that’s over with. What a successful campaign. Bush/Kerry managed to work the American people up to a fever pitch with bugaboos of Supreme Court nominations, gay marriage, and other elements of the culture wars, ensuring that they won the election. Shockingly, on November 3rd, Kerry nicely conceded and everyone became friends again. Almost like …

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No injunction granted in debate case

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 12, 2004

From Michael Kielsky: The Arizona Libertarian Party and co-plaintiff Warren Severin were represented by attorney David Euchner. Arizona State University was represented by Carrie Brennan of the Attorney General’s office. Commission on Presidential Debates was represented by Glen Hallman of the firm of Gallagher & Kennedy, physically in court, as well as Lewis Loss, General …

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Debate Lawsuit Update

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 12, 2004

There will be a hearing this morning in Maricopa Superior Court on an order to show cause issued against Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Each side will be given 30 minutes for oral argument. See all of the related lawsuit documents at The L Factor. Here’s hoping that David Euchner, lead …

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Hijacking Media for Badnarik

By Nicholas Sarwark | October 6, 2004

Last Friday, the Libertarian Party of Arizona filed a lawsuit against Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates, alleging that the University’s sponsorship of the October 13th debate amounts to an illegal campaign contribution to Bush and Kerry. David Euchner, the self-described “gonzo lawyer” who filed the suit, has written an article at …

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It’s time to come back from Iraq

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 28, 2004

Al Lorentz is an Army Sergeant currently serving in Iraq. He recently wrote a brilliant article entitled, “Why We Cannot Win“. In it, he lays out, with hard facts and the perspective of an experienced civil affairs officer in country, what is wrong with our Iraq policy. First, we refuse to deal in reality. We …

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Whose Reign of Terror ?

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 21, 2004

I got out of torts class early tonight because my professor, Andrew Popper, had to moderate a debate, entitled “Whose Reign of Terror at the Department of the Interior? A Debate About Cobell v. Norton,” sponsored by the Administrative Law Review. We were encouraged to attend and it seemed a bit more interesting than going …

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Update: Let Badnarik Debate

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 16, 2004

I just called the office of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Apparently Ms. Brown is out of the office today, but I left my name and phone number. Keep up the pressure, people. Yours truly, Mr. X …202.872.1020…

Let Badnarik debate

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 13, 2004

The following is the text of a letter that I wrote to Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates regarding Michael Badnarik‘s inclusion: Dear Ms. Brown, It has been suggested by numerous op-ed writers on editorial pages throughout the country that your organization, the Commission on Presidential Debates, is a partisan organization …

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“And did I mention that I don’t lie?”

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 13, 2004

I had an awesome day at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. People kept asking if it was lonely working the booth for Michael Badnarik in a sea of Democrats and I replied, “No, most everybody here is opposed to the War in Iraq, opposed to the Patriot Act, and for gay marriage; just like my …

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Vote for Inclusiveness, Freedom, and Peace

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 10, 2004

I’ve survived another week, barely. I’m not exactly behind on my studying, but I’m not exactly caught up either. I should be in the midst of drafting a predictive memo for a negligent hiring case, rather than just briefing the source cases, but hey, that’s what weekends are for. Then again, this one has a …

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Secret law, secret testimony

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 7, 2004

The DOJ has asked to keep their arguments secret in the case brought by John Gilmore, the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, challenging the requirement to show ID before boarding a plane. “We’re dealing with the government’s review of a secret law that now they want a secret judicial review for,” one of Gilmore’s …

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Jack Valenti is an ass

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 7, 2004

Props to Scott for letting me know that Carrington Vanston is at it again with a wonderful essay on the stupidity of Jack Valenti. In fact, the only thing that’s ever made me want to pirate movies more than that annoying must-sit-through-it-again FBI Warning was the pre-show PSA by stunt man Manny “don’t call me …

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Gun safety lesson

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 5, 2004

Apparently Monroe County Coroner David Toumey should practice a little more before giving any more gun safety lessons. Perhaps he should remember the rule, “don’t check to see if a weapon is unloaded while pointing it at your own leg. Yours truly,Mr. X …a public service announcement…

Oreos, Pigface, and relief from convention burnout

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 3, 2004

Ben Cohen, the Ben of Ben & Jerry’s, made a little cartoon to educate us about the federal budget. Mmmm, Oreos. My friend Brian sent me an email last night about a Pigface song that spoke to him. Excerpt: I was just listening to Pigface’s “Notes From Thee Underground” (1994, Invisible Records); and the lyrics …

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Loose ends

By Nicholas Sarwark | September 2, 2004

I had a good weekend. Friday night I went out with the peeps to Cafe Japone for sushi and some really bad karaoke. If I can get pics from Tina, I’ll post ’em. Went to visit the family down at Fort Belvoir on Saturday. Got to play Viking King Kubb, an awesome outdoor game I …

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The first quarter-century, a retrospective

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 27, 2004

25 years ago I was born in Phoenix, AZ. I’ve managed to graduate from college, get a good job, buy a house and survive my first week of law school. I’ve dated a lot of cool women, made a lot of cool friends, and thrown a few good parties. I’ve fed refugees in Albania, been …

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A sane(r) view of terrorism

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 25, 2004

The Washington Post has a great article by Gene Weingarten about living with terrorism. He also did a follow-up online chat with readers about it. Well worth reading. We often forget that a) terrorism is just a tactic and b) there’s not a lot to be done about it. Good reminders. Yours truly, Mr. X …

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Less and less sleep

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 25, 2004

Last night was my long night. Torts from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Legal Rhetoric from 8:00 – 10:00 pm, then home to read for contracts until about 1:30 am. I’m a little bit tired and frazzled today. My Torts class is taught by Andrew Popper. He was head of the admissions committee that whittled the …

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Contracts Killa

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 24, 2004

Well, I survived my first class last night. Contracts, with professor Teemu Ruskola (it’s Finnish). We did lots of hypothetical scenarios involving promises of pens and party invitations and explored some of the different theories behind contract law. Interesting subject matter. It’s really starting to hit home that the left side of the bell curve …

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The rubber hits the road

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 23, 2004

Tonight’s my first night of class for law school. I’ve already briefed three and a half cases (need to finish the one for Legal Rhetoric) before class has even started. The realization that all of those people who filled out the middle of the curve didn’t get into school with me has started to hit. …

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The law school journey begins

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 19, 2004

I’m sitting in room 101 of the Washington College of Law, waiting to have my ID picture taken. The line is so long that it looks like we’ll get to pick up the finished ID sometime tomorrow. Cheap movie tickets await, but I doubt I’ll have any time anymore to go to the movies. Ah, …

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All I wanted were some shoes…

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 18, 2004

Carrington Vanston has a great article that should make us all very happy that most web designers are stuck on the web and have not yet escaped into the real world. When I stepped out of the cab, the shop exploded. Not into flames, but into advertisements for adult video stores. Yours truly, Mr. X …

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Swords, drunks, and a better president…

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 17, 2004

After work last night I went out to see Takeshi Kitano‘s remake of Zatoichi. It was a long day at work, but the trailer convinced me to go. Damn, what a good movie. “Beat” Takeshi is cool, as always (go rent Brother), the violence is stylized to the point of high camp, and the song-and-dance …

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Danny Diaz, Fascist for Bush

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 12, 2004

Michael Badnarik was campaigning in Santa Fe on Wednesday. The Santa Fe New Mexican interviewed him, mentioning his poll numbers. New Mexico is the first building block in an aggressive strategy aimed at growing long-term party support, he said. A Rasmussen poll commissioned by his campaign revealed earlier this month that he had the support …

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Choices, choices

By Nicholas Sarwark | August 10, 2004

Received today from a disgruntled Democrat: “Responding to President Bush’s challenge to clarify his position, Sen. John F. Kerry said Monday that he still would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq even if he had known then that U.S. and allied forces would not find weapons of mass destruction.” Full story:In Hindsight, Kerry …

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Gambatte!

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 26, 2004

Nemo and I competed in the Third Annual Annapolis Kendo/Iaido Club Invitational Kendo Tournament in the shodan/nidan division. I placed third and he placed second (maybe I should go to practice or something). The Washington Kendo Club team (Nemo and I in the front, with our little plaques) Yours truly, Mr. X …catching up…

Life imitates art, super-size edition

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 16, 2004

In Wednesday’s Onion: “In spite of billions of dollars spent and decades of research, scientists at the University of Chicago said Monday that the scientific community is no closer to finding a cure for the potentially fatal disease of obesity.” – Report: Scientists Still Seeking Cure For Obesity In Friday’s USA Today: “In a major …

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Cyrano

By Nicholas Sarwark | July 15, 2004

Went to the Shakespeare Theatre last night to see Cyrano de Bergerac. I’ve seen almost 20 plays put on there and this was definitely in the top two. Incredible pacing, great performances, wicked swordplay, beautiful set and costume design. It’s a must see.

Mmm, Kool-Aid…

By Nicholas Sarwark | June 8, 2004

Online polls are like Kool-Aid for Libertarians. Just this morning I received an “ACTION ALERT” from some (I hope) well-meaning Michael Badnarik supporter about the urgent need for me to vote in an online poll about who I’d be voting for in November. Badnarik was at 68% when I clicked. The danger of these polls …

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Heading to Atlanta Tomorrow

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 26, 2004

Flying to Atlanta after work tomorrow to attend the Libertarian National Convention and support Aaron Russo‘s bid for the nomination. Russo has done more outreach and received more support from people outside the party than any Libertarian candidate I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been involved, and he doesn’t even have the nomination yet. …

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Onward and upward…

By Nicholas Sarwark | May 17, 2004

It looks like it’s about time for me to enter the 21st century and start a blog. What vanity website would be complete without pedantic screeds on topics of interest to me that might also be interesting to…well…me? Yours truly, Mr. X …back in black…