Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- April 23-May 6, 2006

This page includes posts from April 23-May 6, 2006 in the usual reverse order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

May 6, 2006
Shameless Self-Promotion

This afternoon I posted my newest golf book review, which you can read here.

Misfits on the Links is a pretty funny satire of some of the standard personality types one meets while on the golf course.

May 6, 2006
Support your OC/CO blogger

Jeff Goldstein is a former resident of Ocean City, Maryland, and a current denizen of Denver, Colorado.

He's also a prolific blogger and friend.

Goldstein is seeking some additional support for his blogging expenses, so I'd appreciate it if you clicked here and chipped in.

May 5, 2006
Never thought of a final exam in quite that way

Law Professor Ann Althouse asked an intriguing question that brought back some old memories:

Do law students know (or believe) that we lawprofs mean for the exam to be a rewarding educational experience?

Personally, I'd have to say not at all--except perhaps in one instance.

This may have something to do with the fact that I graduated from law school three years before Professor Althouse, and did not have the advantages (if any) of the current trends in law school pedagogical theory.

For the most part, I had the impression that my law professors weren't trying to create the kind of experience she's describing.

In at least one instance, I thought the professor was seeking affirmation of his own political leanings--and woe to the law student who argued for any other result than what was clearly expected as a liberal-oriented response.

It seemed that another professor was primarily happy to see that his students mastered the Gilbert Law Summary for the particular legal area covered in the course, as opposed to anything that had been covered in class.

I say this because one of my housemates was registered in the same course as I was, and attended it exactly twice--on the first day of class and on the last day. He crammed for the final with a copy of the law school equivalent of Cliff Notes, and aced it.

On the other hand, I'd been to most of the classes, read all the cases, and managed to eke out an infuriating C+ on the final.

Frankly, I did not feel particularly rewarded by this combination of results, and still don't 28 years later. But I'm not bitter.

The one exception that came closest to Professor Althouse's ideal was an ancient adjunct professor's final exam in Wills, Trusts, and Estates.

The multi-part final set up several different situations. In each case, we were expected to write out a cogent legal argument for a particular result, and then provide an equally convincing argument for the opposite side. We were then required to explain which side had the better legal points in its favor, and why.

This examination came closest to matching what I eventually realized was a highly useful intellectual exercise while engaged in the actual practice of representing clients.

The fact that I was among the few who earned a very high grade in that test may have also had something to do with my fond memories of it--but I really do think it was a great way to engage law students in an experiment that matched the thinking process that lawyers should follow in the real world.

UPDATE: Welcome, Althouse readers! And thanks to Ann for the link!

May 3, 2006
A natural remedy

While at the Shawnee Country Club practice range the other day, I saw one of the young staffers approach the artificial turf hitting mats, while holding a bottle of Tabasco® hot sauce in one hand.

He carefully poured the fiery liquid over the rubber tees on the mats.

This frankly seemed like a pretty odd thing to do, so I asked him about it.

“This helps keep the foxes from chewing off the tees,” he said.

I could easily imagine how it would—unless, of course, the foxes were from Louisiana.

May 3, 2006
A mostly good combined approach to immigration enforcement

The alleged 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants already in the United States present a daunting problem for anyone thinking about changing this country's halting efforts at reforming its immigration policy.

That's why I applaud the efforts of Mickey Kaus and others who take a practical, serious approach to dealing with the immigration equivalent of the elephant in the living room, while also looking to establish reasonable enforcement programs.

For example, Kaus' explanation of the long-term benefits of a real wall at the border to block or impede future illegal immigration makes a lot of sense. It's even more acceptable when he ties it to a bona fide record check of new hires, while recognizing that not insisting on similar record checks for existing employees would essentially "grandfather" them into a form of semi-legal status, addressed through an eventual formal guest worker program:

Would this "grandfathered" solution--leaving existing illegals working in their current jobs--amount to legalization or amnesty, and thus act as an incentive to would-be illegals still on the other side of the border? I don't think so,  because the benefit of already being here--being left alone--would only be valuable to the extent border controls were effective. If the border remained porous, existing "grandfathered" illegal workers would only have obtained the ability to avoid border controls that were meaningless anyway. If the border controls weren't meaningless, would-be illegals now in Latin America and elsewhere would have an incentive to sneak into the country and work--in the hope of being grandfathered-in later--but by the same token they'd have less ability to do so. (They'd have to get over a wall and get around an effective system of employer-based document verification.)

Kaus also recognizes that current illegals who change jobs would then face the problem of somehow evading the risk of removal under a toughened record check scheme, perhaps by shifting to the underground economy or by self-deporting.

My only quibble with his suggestion is that he didn't seem to address a different risk under this scheme. Some of those grandfathered illegals could decide that their best bet is to stay in their existing jobs to avoid the new enforcement policy. This would make them ripe for exploitation by employers whose commitment to the bottom line is more powerful than their commitment to the law.

I don't have a solution to that problem, which in some respects is a continuation of some of the exploitation that occurs under the current, fragmented approach to immigration law.

On the other hand, I do not want the search for a perfect solution to block the application of a (mostly) good policy.

May 1, 2006
No Mexican, So Yes to Italian

At lunchtime today three of us decided to go to the Corralejo Restaurant in Dover, a fine Mexican eatery that we often enjoy.

It usually has a busy lunch trade, so we left a bit early.

However, this time the restaurant was closed. Through the windows we could see dozens of chairs upside down and resting on top of the tables. The normal crowds simply weren't there.

On the other hand, Sorrentino's Restaurant, the Italian place just next door, was fully open and doing very well.

We walked over there and had a fine meal instead.

I wonder how many other open businesses enjoyed the benefits of the decision by others to boycott the day.

Frankly, it just doesn't seem like it was such a great idea.

April 30, 2006
Back from the blog break--and Pinehurst, too

For a large part of the recent blog break, I was on a fact-finding mission to Pinehurst, North Carolina.

The trip furnished plenty of material for a travelogue for the golf column, which you can read here.

A few other features about the trip didn't make their way into the column, which is one of the reasons why this blog can be so handy.

For example, we played The Pit, which as the name implies is an adaptive re-use of an old borrow pit a few miles south of the Pinehurst Resort area.

It's hard to convey how confining some parts of this golf course can be without using a photograph to illustrate it.

So, here's what golfers face on what's described as the signature hole, a par-3 we played from 162 yards:

You can feel your shoulders squeezing in as you stand on the tee--and that's not helpful for a good swing, by the way.

There were also some potentially useful lessons learned during this trip.

For example, here's a par-3 hole on the East Course at the Foxfire Resort:

If you hit your tee shot just to the right of the large tree you can see standing to the immediate left of the green, the ball will bounce right and roll to within a foot of the hole for a tap-in birdie.

That's how I played it, anyway.

However, if you hit your tee shot 2-3 feet left of that point, it will stay behind the tree, forcing at least a bogey.

That's how my friend Nick played it.

He seemed to think there's something unfair about this.

Even so, it's not as if I didn't have similar tales of woe on other occasions.

For example, here's a picture of the ninth hole at The National Golf Club, a difficult Jack Nicklaus design in Pinehurst:

Based on recent personal experience, if a 5-iron is hit into the wind with a nice draw from the blue tees, the ball will land on the green.

It will then bounce twice and drop into the pond behind the green, one yard past the edge of the back side.



Contact Information:

Fritz Schranck
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969

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