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April 17, 2003

Who's Starting What?

These people say they want to take away Michael Moore's Oscar for "Best Documentary" because his film is "fictional," meaning it does not contain just the facts, ma'am. Sure, Moore is an infamous truth-stretcher, but lots of stories stretch the truth to make a point. But if we want to talk about truth-stretchers, what about the people behind this "revoke the oscar" business? They only care because they disagree w/Moore. All are "true patriots" and defenders of "freedom," I'm sure. A couple of clicks from the revoke the oscar site gets you to this site that implores you to "never forget who started it." Funny how they don't tell us who "who" is or what they mean by "it." Those details probably don't matter, though—just never forget, ok? Of course, one look at this site and we'll never forget who's selling it.

If you enjoy the complete lack of concern good "patriots" show about sticking to the "facts," pick up the most recent edition of Harper's and read this transcript of a Feb 4th interview between Jeremy Glick and Bill O'Reilly on FOX News' "The O'Reilly Factor." Glick's father was a Port Authority worker who died in the 9-11-01 destruction of the World Trade Center; yet, despite that, Glick is outspoken in his condemnation of the 2001 U.S. attack on Afghanistan, as well as the recent occupation of Iraq. This makes O'Reilly apoplectic; he comes apart like a robot on bad code: "That does not compute. Error. Error. That does not compute!" For superfun, check out this mp3 version of the interview. Obviously, the last thing O'Reilly wants is to remember—or even talk about—who started "it."

Posted 08:50 AM | Comments (4) | general politics

Just Ask

If you're the poor soul who came here looking for "a person who knows everything," you've come to the right place. Ask away.


Posted 07:54 AM | meta-blogging

Decision's Day After

Browsing the discussion board for students admitted to GW I find this (which you probably can't access, but I wanted to save the link):

I talked to the dean in charge of Financial Aid during the preview day about the Loan Repayment. He said that currently, it only applies to certain public service jobs. Govt repays something like $8k a year each year you work in a DA’s office or as a public defender. They do not do this for DOJ or other government agencies. Repayment for that depends on the agency in question, most of which dont.

Basically, look to spend a year or two in the private sector to put a dent in the debt.

I so don't want to believe this is true. When I visited, I talked with the Public Interest Liason in the Career Development Office about the LRAP, and he, of course, made it sound a bit better. He estimated that in recent years, only 21-22 graduates each year have participated in the program, which is obviously not many. Perhaps what he didn't tell me (and what I think I failed to ask), is what types of jobs are eligible. Looking again at the program's details, the criteria for eligible jobs seem reasonable and the major limiting factor will probably be the income cap. The "target income" the program tries to give grads is $35k, which isn't much, but it is enough to live on. I hope. I assume the reason so few people use the LRAP is simply that it's not too hard to find a job that pays more than $45k, and since the LRAP will pay a max of $8k/year, you'll come out ahead just skipping the LRAP altogether.

LRAP aside, in the interest of staving off second thoughts—or answering them when they come—I want to note one more rather important argument I considered in the decision about where to go to school. It's a bit abstract, but I get the impression that while American is concerned with helping the people who get screwed by social structures (bad laws or absence of laws, bad social policy or lack of policy, etc.), GW may be a better place to learn how to change those social structures so that fewer people will get screwed in the first place. For example, if you're concerned about domestic violence, it seems you could work on the issue on two levels:

1) You could represent and work with clients who have suffered abuse to help them, one-by-one, get justice and go on to better lives; or,

2) You could head to a larger group like NOW (for example) to try to change—via legislation and test cases in court—the social policies that seem to encourage domestic violence in the first place (e.g., certain aspects of welfare policy, maybe).

If you choose option 1, you're working "in the trenches," which is incredibly noble, absolutely necessary, and completely worth doing, but progress is slow, case-by-case, and the cases will probably just keep coming. If you choose option 2, you're working on the structure in the hope that your work will have wider, and perhaps more lasting effects. So the idea is to work on option 2 in order to obviate the need for option 1. (It's not that simple, I know, but I'm just trying to make the point.) Of course, you can always do both kinds of work, and I'm sure both American and GW will prepare you to do either or both. However, it also seems that going to a "better" (meaning higher ranked) school will put me in a better position to work on those larger, structural issues. It may be as simple as the connections the different schools help students make. American seems to promise lots of connections to grassroots, legal aid type public interest work; while GW might promise more connections to things like think tanks, national lobbying groups, government offices, etc. Of course, I could be wrong.

Anyway, it's time to think about other things. Decision made, time to get behind it. For those of you who haven't yet enjoyed a visit to GW, the newly-christened Left Coast Expat recently posted some nice pics of the Law School buildings and "courtyard." It's urban, with personality and a certain charm. Downtown D.C., very easy to get to, close to all that D.C. is famous for. It's all good.

Posted 07:53 AM | Comments (8) | law school

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