Monday, April 30, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007


"[Hap], you've been in a good mood lately...are you getting action?!"

Seriously. Someone said that to me. And I have to say, NO! Maybe I was in a good mood b/c for a few days, the weather was amazing, and classes had ended and I had finished editing this article, so the pressure was less than usual.

Because if I were "getting action", I'm pretty sure things would be shittier. Drama-filled. Emotionally tumultuos. Etc.

Just an observation.

Back to tax!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Plethora of Anti-Global Warming Videos

I feel like we're at some sort of tipping point. The environment is becoming a problem at the forefront. Sure, in the 1970s or 1960s, we had Rachel Carson and Silent Spring and the first Earth Day. But today, we've got GLOBAL WARMING. An Inconvenient Truth. Happy Feet. EATING LOCAL!

I wish I could be more eloquent, but I've got tax on the brain. So I'm going to share a few videos my students have shared with me.

(And as my student pointed out, note who is doing the "backbreaking work".)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

George W. Bush Is a Joke

Let's see...there's the war in Iraq, the firing of AGs in the midst of ongoing investigations, his "healthy trees" and "clear skies" initiatives, which were really just pro-deforestation and pro-pollution rules, the ridiculous tax breaks ... and now this.

April 25, 2007
OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry

WASHINGTON, April 24 — Seven years ago, a Missouri doctor discovered a troubling pattern at a microwave popcorn plant in the town of Jasper. After an additive was modified to produce a more buttery taste, nine workers came down with a rare, life-threatening disease that was ravaging their lungs.

Puzzled Missouri health authorities turned to two federal agencies in Washington. Scientists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which investigates the causes of workplace health problems, moved quickly to examine patients, inspect factories and run tests. Within months, they concluded that the workers became ill after exposure to diacetyl, a food-flavoring agent.

But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, charged with overseeing workplace safety, reacted with far less urgency. It did not step up plant inspections or mandate safety standards for businesses, even as more workers became ill.

On Tuesday, the top official at the agency told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing that it would prepare a safety bulletin and plan to inspect a few dozen of the thousands of food plants that use the additive.

That response reflects OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court.

The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them.

“The people at OSHA have no interest in running a regulatory agency,” said Dr. David Michaels, an occupational health expert at George Washington University who has written extensively about workplace safety. “If they ever knew how to issue regulations, they’ve forgotten. The concern about protecting workers has gone out the window.”

If the Democrats end up having an ameoba in a bowtie as its candidate, I'm pretty sure I'd still vote for it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

These Are Interesting Times

Barack says America is ready for change. While it might be easy to take his statement with a grain of salt (you know, politics and all; how many times have we heard presidential candidates say the same thing in our lifetime?), at least in the area of global warming, there really does seem to be a lot going on. I haven't even seen An Inconvenient Truth. But maybe you have. And then there's all the pictures of polar bears sitting on floating blocks of ice, doomed. The Mass. v. EPA decision that the Supreme Court handed down a few weeks ago. Ethanol and other alternative fuels. Cape Wind. And now a new development in Massachusetts - using land use / local laws to get at problems that the state and federal governments are either too slow to get to, or have to jump several legal hurdles to get to. The most interesting part of this is that there is "no legislative approval" required.

Mass. steps up climate rules for developers
Pollution, traffic to be assessed

By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff | April 22, 2007

In a major change to Massachusetts environmental policy, private developers will now be required to estimate the greenhouse gases their large-scale projects will produce and reduce them with measures such as energy-efficient lighting, alternative fuels, or commuter shuttles.

Effective immediately, developers planning projects large enough to warrant a state environmental review will have to assess how the projects contribute to the pollution that leads to global warming, Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles told the Globe. Not only will the state look at direct emissions from smokestacks and heating with fossil fuels, but it will consider the indirect effect of thousands of workers driving to a new office park.

Large housing developments, office projects, and mixed-use developments that combine retail, industrial, and residential uses will be affected. The change by Governor Deval Patrick also applies to factories and power plants that require state air quality permits and to buildings constructed or at least partly funded by the state.

"This policy puts greenhouse gases into the mainstream of environmental policy and regulation," Bowles said Friday. "We can no longer be indifferent to greenhouse gas emissions -- any more than we are to any other form of air pollution."

As a policy change, the measure goes into effect immediately, and requires no legislative approval. However, beginning Tuesday, an advisory committee made up of air quality consultants, environmental engineers, and state environmental officials will begin shaping a protocol for how developers can measure their anticipated greenhouse gases and take steps to reduce them. Those guidelines should be complete by July 1. Developers submitting plans until then will be given broad latitude to comply, said environmental affairs spokesman Robert Keough .

Click here to continue reading.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


It's almost 70 degrees out.

That means I'm sitting at my desk with the window open.

Oh, finals crunch time.

Barack, The Response

Tonight, I attended the Barack rally. Although some people paid $2300 to be there, b/c it was held on campus, there were a lot of tickets sold at $23. Maybe Barack didn't raise a lot of money, but I think he got a lot of young people inspired. He was treated like a rock star with the chanting and the shouting and the shaking of hands afterwards. It was, in a word, inspiring.

I'm not solidly in his camp. I was certainly swayed by his charisma, but I don't want to align my allegiance with him prematurely without investigating the issues and making a substantive decision, instead of a gut one. Yeah, I might think that Hillary is too divisive to win, but is that really fair and educated?

Barack presented serious ideas for change. Get out of Iraq, period. Universal healthcare. Invest in early education instead of prisons. Close Guantanamo. Lead, and be leaders in the world once again. And lead by changing our policy.

He also said some interesting things. To paraphrase, he admitted that he would make mistakes and that he would get weary. He called on us, as citizens, to keep the movement going forward. That probably struck me the most. I mean, at first, I was like, hmm, I don't know if I want my president to admit that he will make mistakes and will falter. But then, I found it refreshing and so truthful. Just because a guy gets to the top and is surrounded by the best advisors, does not mean that he's not going to make mistakes. And I think it's a sign that Barack is from a new generation, a different generation, than the one that gave us George W. and Clinton. I'm not sure they would ever admit to making mistakes. I don't think they ever have. Bush has his WMDs, and Clinton has his I did not inhale.

Barack's speech also made me realize just how much shit there is going on in this world. Darfur. Iraq. Global warming. Not to mention the Virginia Tech "massacre" and now the guy who killed himself and a hostage at the Johnson Space Center. I'm not sure we're any more evil than generations before us, but these are heavy times. But these are also times that are ripe for change. I have never been so inspired to participate. Even if it's not with Barack, it's got to be with something. Someone. I hear that there will soon be a "lawyers for Obama" group forming. Sign me up??

After the rally, I went with some friends to a bar and had some pitchers of beer and some wings. It was so fun. The conversation was so fun. And intelligent. It was last night, too. I feel old.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

I have no words. I am silenced by this image, courtesy of the NY Times, but credited to Alan Kim of the Roanoke Times.

April is starting to suck. A lot.

And we'll always have 9/11. I didn't really know it was going on until early afternoon, when I went to to check the marathon results. I quickly tuned my tv to CNN. And for the first time in a long time, I cried. I had not cried in response to a tragedy since, well, since before 9/11. Because that was so overwhelming I think it dulled my senses.

For what it's worth, that was my response. And that is all for now.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Today, I was running a quick errand, and the guy behind the counter asked me where I was from. I didn't want to play the game. (Mostly because he is the attendant at my local liquor store and, well, who wants to fuck with him?) So I told him, "I'm Chinese, but I'm from New Jersey."

What does he do? He grabs a piece of paper with some numbers scribbled on it, points at one of them, and says, "This is a number in China. Do you know where this area code is?"

No, sir, no I don't.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Two Stories


My BFF called me the other day. I hadn't spoken to him in quite some time b/c of mutually hectic schedules. He called me to tell me the sweetest story. He was hanging out with some people and they started talking about best friends. And some of the people couldn't think of one. And he called me and said, I'm so lucky to have you!


While on the trip last weekend, a bunch of us were hanging out in a hotel room, drinking some beers, shooting some shit, just having a good time. Somehow or another, a few of us ended up playing truth or dare. Mostly it was truth, except for me, for whom it was all dares. I did two dares.

First, I was supposed to scour the hotel and find some boys. I ended up finding some right outside at the ice machine, and after a few moments, I brought them in. Turned out, they go to law school in our city, etc. etc. Also, last week, I was organizing a reunion for the people I worked with last summer. Some people who were hired last fall to start next fall were also on the email list. One of them was one of the guys who I found in the hallway. He's cool, thankfully, b/c it could have been embarassing.

My second dare was to kiss this guy. I was really mortified and scared, but I ended up doing it. I went up to him, grabbed his face, and planted an innocent kiss on his lips. M, whose room we were hanging out in, his head whipped around towards us. I didn't think anything of it, b/c I think i would have done the same had I seen anyone kiss anyone else. But then it kind of came up the next night, and I got the distinct sense that he did not like me kissing the guy. This angers me because he has no right to be annoyed when I have had to put up with soooo much of him and his girlfriend. It's like everywhere I turn, there she is, even when she's not in this country. This also saddens me, because it brought me two steps back. At least it helped me get over P.

Also, I see there is the distinct possibility that I am reading too much into it. But my gut says no.


I am buying a condo. Although I put the offer in last month, the closing is at the end of June. Here are some pictures:

The "Second" Bedroom

"My" Bedroom

The Living Room (there's a fireplace off-frame)

The Future Dining Area (I'm thinking about buying that couch and the shelving...)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April 4, 2007

It's snowing.

I tried to document this, but I could not. It's hard to take pictures of snow with my dinky camera. You'll just have to take my word for it. And the fact that I live in New England.


Mass. v. EPA

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the landmark case Massachusetts v. EPA. In the case, states were suing the federal environmental agency to do something about carbon dioxide (and other) emissions from cars, which, the states claimed, harmed the public health and welfare by causing global warming. The Supreme Court sided with the states. Although it did not hold that the EPA MUST do something, it held that the EPA COULD do something.

In today's NY Times, George W. Bush is quoted as saying:
"Whatever we do,” he said, “must be in concert with what happens internationally.” He added, “Unless there is an accord with China, China will produce greenhouse gases that will offset anything we do in a brief period of time.”

(See "Bush Splits with Congress and States on Emissions".)

Here's what I have to say to you, President Bush. QUIT BEING A FUCKING PETULANT CHILD WHO WON'T SHARE HIS TOYS IN THE FUCKING SANDBOX. China is a "developing nation." We are developed. And if we didn't have fucking Wal-Mart taking over our country, we'd be doing pretty damn well. So quit comparing us to a developing country and stand up as the fucking world leader as you try to make us be with our fucking wars on terrorism and do something about this. The point of being a leader is to be the first, not to follow. Moron.

That is all.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Shine Shine Shine

This past weekend was the law school softball tournament at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There is a lot to say, there is a lot I felt, but mostly, there are a lot of bruises.

From the guy who drove his two cleats into my two ankles, to the balls I didn't catch and bounced into my shins b/c I was afraid of the batter swinging his bat into my un-helmeted head, to the countless times I bumped into the arm rests on our bus, to general klutzyness, to the ball I dropped on my eye...

Yes, I dropped a ball on my eye, which made me drop to the ground. There was some intense pain. "Let us see if you're ok." Tentatively I remove my arms from my head. "Am I bleeding?" "No." "OK, then I'll be ok." And I am. But look!

I had always wanted a black eye. It had been a dream. I'm somehow feeling less than satisfied. It is more purple today then yesterday, when I took this picture.

I am wrecked. More later.