Pandora stations!

August 4th, 2013

Here are my Pandora stations, exported via Pandora’s music feed code generator and redesigned via my limited skills at CSS. Enjoy!

Looking Backward: the coach scene illustrated

June 12th, 2013

As a history lecturer, I have for many years used the coach scene in Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887 as a way to describe the deep sense of insecurity that Americans lived with during the Gilded Age. I often read the passage to students in my courses on the late nineteenth century United States. But I have always wanted an illustration to accompany the scene as I discussed it; something that I could put up on a PowerPoint slide.

At last my student Lois Rosson, a gifted artist, has granted my wish, producing this representation of the text for my course on the United States from 1877 through 1914:

Art by Lois Rosson []

Art by Lois Rosson []

Looking Backward is about a well-to-do Bostonian who falls into a deep sleep in the year 1887 and wakes up in the year 2000. All the world’s economic problems have been solved, he learns. Humanity has transformed itself into a vast cooperative “industrial army.” So successful are these utopian reforms that the protagonist of the novel, Julian West, feels that he must explain to his readers what life was like back in 1887:

“By way of attempting to give the reader some general impression of the way people lived together in those days, and especially of the relations of the rich and poor to one another, perhaps I cannot do better than to compare society as it then was to a prodigious coach which the masses of humanity were harnessed to and dragged toilsomely along a very hilly and sandy road. The driver was hunger, and permitted no lagging, though the pace was necessarily very slow. Despite the difficulty of drawing the coach at all along so hard a road, the top was covered with passengers who never got down, even at the steepest ascents. These seats on top were very breezy and comfortable. Well up out of the dust, their occupants could enjoy the scenery at their leisure, or critically discuss the merits of the straining team. Naturally such places were in great demand and the competition for them was keen, every one seeking as the first end in life to secure a seat on the coach for himself and to leave it to his child after him. By the rule of the coach a man could leave his seat to whom he wished, but on the other hand there were many accidents by which it might at any time be wholly lost. For all that they were so easy, the seats were very insecure, and at every sudden jolt of the coach persons were slipping out of them and falling to the ground, where they were instantly compelled to take hold of the rope and help to drag the coach on which they had before ridden so pleasantly. It was naturally regarded as a terrible misfortune to lose one’s seat, and the apprehension that this might happen to them or their friends was a constant cloud upon the happiness of those who rode.”

Read the rest of this entry »

A Spotify Vietnam era hit song playlist

September 12th, 2012

Any suggestions for the list are welcome.

Don’t forget about the Income-Based student loan repayment plan

September 10th, 2012

If you are graduating soon, and are worried about repaying your loans, don’t forget to look into the Income-Based repayment plan. This program allows you to make lower monthly payments:

Under IBR, your monthly payment amount will be 15 percent of your discretionary income, will never be more than the amount you would be required to pay under the Standard Repayment Plan, and may be less than under other repayment plans.

Basically you pay that amount for up to 25 years and the rest of the loan is forgiven. But, notes The New York Times, “participation has lagged because borrowers are either not aware of the program or are turned off by its complexity.”

Find out whether you are eligible here. And here is a YouTube video about the program that was posted in 2011.


Grad scam alert: there is less to some internships than meets the eye

May 6th, 2012

Here is an infuriating story from The New York Times about prestige internships that are really just minimum wage grunt jobs without the wages.  Take fashion merchandising graduate Melissa Reyes, who landed an internship with the Diane von Furstenberg fashion empire in New York City:

She often worked 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., five days a week. “They had me running out to buy them lunch,” she said. “They had me cleaning out the closets, emptying out the past season’s items.” Asked about her complaints, the fashion firm said, “We are very proud of our internship program, and we take all concerns of this kind very seriously.”

The takeaway from this? Go ahead and apply for unpaid internships, but ask for specifics about what you will be doing, and keep in mind the Department of Labor’s six rules for this kind of work:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If the description of the internship you are offered doesn’t bear much resemblance to educational training, you probably want to think twice about joining that particular team.

Beware of ‘bait and switch’ law school tuition scholarships

May 1st, 2011

I’ve already written about the soberingly bad job market for new lawyers on this blog. Since my last post on the subject, the situation has gotten even worse. Here’s The New York Times on the subject in January:

a generation of J.D.’s face the grimmest job market in decades. Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.

But wait, it gets even worse, the NYTimes has just released a disturbing expose on law schools that give students first year tuition scholarships, tell them that they can keep the scholarship as long as they keep their grades at a B level or so, but don’t tell them that many of those recipients lose their grant right quick.

At Golden Gate and other law schools nationwide, students are graded on a curve, which carefully rations the number of A’s and B’s, as well as C’s and D’s, awarded each semester. That all but ensures that a certain number of students — at Golden Gate, it could be in the realm of 70 students this year — will lose their scholarships and wind up paying full tuition in their second and third years.

Think law school is a sure bet to a great career? Read on.

The Tyger, by William Blake

February 11th, 2011


“The multiplication of values that buying on margin made possible in a rising market worked with impartial and fearful symmetry when values were on the way down.” David Kennedy, Freedom From Fear, page 38, paragraph two.

Job market for new lawyers worse than ever

October 31st, 2010

From The Wall Street Journal.

“The situation is so bleak that some students and industry experts are rethinking the value of a law degree, long considered a ticket to financial security. If students performed well, particularly at top-tier law schools, they could count on jobs at corporate firms where annual pay starts as high as $160,000 and can top out well north of $1 million. While plenty of graduates are still set to embark on that career path, many others have had their dreams upended.”


Henry the Cat becomes Youtube/Droid X camcorder star

October 14th, 2010

My cat Henry is obviously a little skittish about the smart phone exposure, but she gets back to her nap soon enough (yes; Henry is a she. It’s a long story).

Wired Nation

September 7th, 2010

New Politics 117 “Wired Nation” site is up! Check it out here.