Yesterday was not an awesome day.
I was tired from my run on Saturday and a late-ish night so I slept in. Amy got up with the dogs. When I woke up, our country was deep in the fallout from the worst mass shooting in the history of the U.S. I was shocked by the shooting, then angry about some of the responses, and then ultimately – with Amy – just sad about the whole thing. Love is so much more powerful than hate, and there is so much hate in the world right now.
So I went for a long run. That didn’t help much so I took a nap and laid down on the couch and read the book at the top of my pile of infinite books. Other than being with Amy and seeing Mark Pincus and Dick Costolo in a cameo on Silicon Valley, reading The Curve was the best part of my day.
Jeremy Blachman, the co-author, wrote a book a decade ago called Anonymous Lawyer which I loved. It almost inspired me and my partner Jason to write a book titled Anonymous VC, but Jason decided to make the video I’m a VC instead. Jeremy sent me an advanced reader copy (ARC in the book trade) of The Curve so my simple task was to read it.
I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m surrounded by them (Jason used to be a lawyer and some of his best friends are lawyers). I didn’t go to law school but I’ve become very involved at CU Law and Silicon Flatirons around their entrepreneurship initiatives (Phil Weiser and Brad Bernthal are close friends.) I’m not deeply involved in politics, but about 25% of the people I interact with in politics went to law school.
The Curve is a super snarky take on law school. It chronicles the year of a fictional law school in New York – one at the bottom of the barrel. One of the protagonists is a first year law school teacher who quit his job as a high powered New York corporate lawyer to achieve more meaning in his life. The cliche “be careful what you wish for” comes immediately to mind.
It’s a fun, quick read. I enjoyed the dramatic twists, the sarcasm, and the characters, especially as the book cranked into the second half. Once it hit it’s full speed around page 100, there was no stopping it.
If you are a lawyer, or a law school student, or just know a bunch of lawyers and law school students, this book is for you.
And … this just in. Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Nice job on the marathon Reid and Jeff!
I woke up to a flurry of grumpy stuff about our government intermixed with lots of posts wishing everyone a happy 4th of July. The dissonance of it bounced around in my head for a while and – when I was on my walk with Amy and Brooks the Wonder Dog – I finally asked Amy a few questions to calibrate my reaction to some of the stuff I had read this morning.
For example, in the “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me category”, the U.S. Postal Service Is Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement. I don’t send physical mail anymore (except for the occasional post card to a friend or thank you letter) so I’m not sure I care, but then I realized all my post cards were probably being scanned into a computer somewhere and I shouldn’t be writing messages like “The NSA Is Spying On You” on my postcards (or on blog posts, for that matter.)
Then there was this awesome, long post on TechDirt by Rob Hager titled Snowden’s Constitution vs Obama’s Constitution. It does an outstanding job of explaining the Snowden situation in the context of the Fourth Amendment and the concept of reasonableness. And there are some great hidden gems in the article, such as the notion that Hong Kong is rated above the US for “rule of law” and “fairness of its judiciary system.” Oops.
“By international standards, the US and its judiciary rank below Hong Kong on a 2012-13 rule of law index . While American propagandists routinely imply that the US system is a paragon against which all others must be measured, in fact, objectively, Hong Kong ranks #8 and #9 respectively on absence of corruption and quality of its criminal justice system, well ahead of the US’s #18 and #26 rankings . The World Economic Forum – which certainly suffers no anti-US or general anti-plutocrat biases — ranks Hong Kong #12 in its 2012-13 index on judicial independence. That is substantially higher than the appallingly low US ranking of #38 on the same index, which is proportionately not that far ahead of China’s #66 ranking. If due process was his priority, Snowden was clearly no fool in choosing sanctuary in Hong Kong, though he is aware of the coercive and corrupting power that the US can and does bring to bear on virtually any country. Though China is better situated than most to resist such pressure, it appears that even China preferred not to pay the cost. Or perhaps his security could not guaranteed as effectively in Hong Kong as in Moscow, for the time being.”
Then there was the semi-expected self-referential “what is a journalist” articles such as Snowden’s leaks force media self-examination and Jeff Jarvis’ There are no journalists. I love Jeff Jarvis.
“Journalism is not content. It is not a noun . It need not be a profession or an industry. It is not the province of a guild. It is not a scarcity to be controlled. It no longer happens in newsrooms. It is no longer confined to narrative form.
So then what the hell is journalism?
It is a service. It is a service whose end, again, is an informed public. For my entrepreneurial journalism students, I give them a broad umbrella of a definition: Journalism helps communities organize their knowledge so they can better organize themselves.”
After our walk Amy sent me another article about the Fourth Amendent – If PRISM Is Good Policy, Why Stop With Terrorism? that included additional applications of PRISM to child pornography, speeding, and illegal downloads.
Then I noticed my friends at Cheezburger supporting the latest Internet Defense League Standing Up for The Fourth Amendment campaign, which as a member of the Internet Defense League, I also support.
After all of this, I was able to convince Amy to go to see White House Down with me this afternoon. I love going to afternoon movies, and it’s awesome to live in a country that not only shows a movie like this, but allows it to get made!
Happy 4th of July. For all of its flaws, America is an amazing and resilient country and I’m proud to be an American.