Paul L. Caron
Dean




Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Downside of an iPhone

Jayne Volleyball Fruit (090309) One of the things I love about my iPhone is the ability to multitask my way through the day.  I pound out email whenever and wherever I can -- waiting in line at the grocery store, before and during breaks in my kids' games, while watching Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert before I go to bed, etc.  I especially like digging through email on my way to and from the parking garage at work.  Today, I discovered the downside of that strategy.  My daughter has her first volleyball game of the season, and we volunteered to provide the pregame meal.  So this morning I put in the trunk of my car a cooler of drinks and a huge fruit salad that my wife made last night, and planned to bring them to the high school later this afternoon after stopping off at Potbelly to get 20 sandwiches for the girls.  It was a brilliant strategy -- to save time in not having to go home before the game, I would put the fruit salad in the faculty refrigerator at the law school.  Of course, I had to check email when walking from my car to the law school while carrying my laptop and the fruit salad ...  So does a good father/husband (1) tell the team, "Sorry, I dropped the fruit salad"; (2) tell the team, "Sorry, Mrs. Caron forgot to make the fruit salad"; or (3) leave an hour early and buy outrageously overpriced pre-cut fruit at Kroger's?

September 3, 2009 in Law School, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Bittersweet Day

Reed (sr day -soccer - with Paul) My excitement today in teaching our Introduction to Law course to a section of our eager and talented 1Ls is tempered at having to bid farewell to my son Reed, who has left home for his freshman year of college.

Reed, it was a gut-wrenching and poignant weekend, as we hustled to get everything in order for your trip.  I will never forget our sweet and tender conversations, as we relived the past 19 years and looked forward to your future in college and beyond.  My heart aches that I will no longer know the daily joy of living in the same house with you, but I am comforted by Ecclesiastes 3:1:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

It is time for you to move on to the next season of your life. You are ready -- emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually -- to take on the challenges of college.   I am delighted that you are only nine hours away, and I am counting down the days until parents weekend and your first college soccer game.

Although I am bursting with pride at your many academic and athletic accomplishments, I am prouder still of simply who you are and the man you are becoming.  Remember always that your mother and I love you beyond all measure. And that God loves you infinitely more.  Being your father has been the great honor and privilege of my life.

August 17, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Five iPhone Apps for Lawyers

IPhone Five Apps for the Lawyer, by Lauren Hirsch:

It's official. The iPhone has come into its own in the legal world. It took a little time, and lawyers are notorious Luddites (you can pry the WordPerfect out of their cold, dead hands) but they do like Bright Shiny Objects, and nothing fills the lapel pocket like an iPhone.

The iPhone finally cracked the law-firm standards stranglehold by virtue of its compatibility with Microsoft Exchange, which freed lawyers from the non-choice of "would you like a Blackberry, or a Blackberry?" Granted, the Blackberry still seems to have a better handle on business needs, but for some, the iPhone is worth getting to know.

It should go without saying -- I will say it, though -- many of the productivity apps that are useful to everybody are useful to lawyers, so two of these apps are not strictly law-related. (See if you can spot them! It's a brain teaser and a post!) Also, certain obvious apps don't exist yet, such as a standalone LexisNexis or WestLaw legal research app. That said, the web will suffice for now. In fact, though I've artificially constrained myself to only standalone applications, the iPhone really shines for accessing web research sites given that Mobile Safari is (mostly) a full-featured browser. So, without further ado, here are five apps that give a glimpse into what the iPhone can do for attorneys.

(Hat Tip: Voir Dire.)  See also The Tax Code For Your iPhone.  For much more, see iPhone J.D.:  Lawyers Using iPhones, A Trip Down Memory Lane:

Since I started iPhone J.D. last Fall, I have reviewed over 100 iPhone apps and written about a number of other topics that are still relevant today. Well, maybe "100" sounds too high—sometimes I discuss several different apps at the same time instead of devoting a full post to a single app—but suffice it to say that I have written about many different apps that attorneys and others might enjoy having on their iPhones. You can always search for old posts by using the search box at the top right of every page, but I thought it would be useful to have a single index of all of the major posts on iPhone J.D. so that you can easily browse through prior posts. Moreover, in my law firm alone, I know of a large number of people who bought an iPhone very recently, and for new iPhone users who are relatively new to this site, browsing the index is a good way to catch up on what you have missed so far. There are a lot of great apps out there.

So here is a list of the more significant posts on iPhone J.D. since I started the website on November 17, 2008, including reviews of iPhone apps, reviews of other items and other significant posts. I have also added a link at the top right of this website called "iPhone J.D. Index" and I will keep that index updated in the future. As of today, however, here is the full index for your browsing pleasure.

August 10, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tax Prof Vegan

As the father of a new vegan, I enjoyed the posts by Tax Prof Neil Buchanan (George Washington) on the one-year anniversary of joining the 1% of Americans who are vegans, especially his concluding thoughts:

I have always loved animals. I now express that love by refusing to contribute to their pain and death. That is an anniversary worth celebrating.

August 8, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breakthrough Cincinnati

Breakthrough I spent a wonderful afternoon at graduation ceremonies at Breakthrough Cincinnati -- the local chapter of the nationwide Breakthrough Collaborative.  The program provides six weeks of academic classes (math, science, English, history, and foreign languages) for inner city students from a faculty of high school and college students.  Both of my kids taught in the program -- they got as much (or more) out of it as the students.  I had tears in my eyes at the rousing affirmation at the end of the program:

We are Breakthrough Cincinnati.
We believe in the power of young people.
Through hard work, determination and discipline,
we can achieve our goals
We believe in ourselves.
We are Breakthrough Cincinnati

It (almost) made me excited about starting classes in two weeks!

August 1, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back Home in Cincinnati

Love CincinnatiAlthough I loved my seven weeks in San Diego, it's wonderful to be back home with my family in Cincinnati.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to teach at two great law schools -- the University of Cincinnati and the University of San Diego are very different (small, public, secular v. large, private, Catholic), but they are remarkably similar in having terrific deanssuperb faculties, talented students, fantastic staffs, and excellent libraries.  In addition, San Diego has a well-deserved reputation as "America's Finest City," and Cincinnati is a fantastic place to live and raise a family.  We knew we were called to be here when my wife found out she was pregnant with our first child the morning of my interview with Cincinnati at the meat market.  It was cool to return this week to a recent New York Times profile of Cincinnati, along with our church's great message (God Loves Cincinnati), video (What We Love), and song (I Love My City).

July 25, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Farewell, San Diego!

Usd_photoThis is a bittersweet day for me, as I leave San Diego after seven weeks to return home to Cincinnati.  This was my sixth summer teaching at the University of San Diego School of Law, my first as the Herzog Summer Visiting Professor in Taxation.  My thanks to the kind folks at USD for having me back again, and to my 65 Tax I students who worked so hard (and explained to me who Lady Gaga is).   San Diego is truly "America's Finest City".  But even more enjoyable has been renewing acquaintances with the many friends we have made over the years here.

July 24, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Form 1040: The Puzzle

I previously blogged my purchase of a Form 1040 Puzzle, which I have added to my extensive collection of tax bric-a-brac.  Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington) reports that she and her colleague Aviva Orenstein have completed side one of the puzzle -- note the (loop)hole in the income section!

Tax Form Puzzle

Aviva says that it took about as much time to complete the puzzle as it takes to do her taxes, but it was a lot less stressful!

July 15, 2009 in Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Taxes and the Declaration of Independence

Declaration_1 From the TaxProf Blog vault:  a July 4th post by Neil Buchanan (George Washington) during a guest blogging stint here:

I thought I would take another look at our oft-mentioned and seldom-read Declaration of Independence to see what it has to say about taxes and other issues of import. Herewith, a quick (and admittedly incomplete) summary of the contents:

Obviously, the most important issue addressed in the Declaration was the ongoing violence in the colonies. Among its more memorable descriptions of conditions at the time, the Declaration reminded the world that King George III "has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people." The founding fathers were understandably focused primarily on matters of life and death.

Beyond those immediate concerns, though, the bulk of the Declaration expresses, in essence, a thirst for politics. That is, the major non-war-related complaint is that there is no locally-elected legislature passing laws for the colonies. Our founders were willing to lay their lives on the line, in other words, to create legislatures.

For those of us who are law professors and lawyers, it is interesting that the Declaration also seems to express (or at least imply) a desire for lawsuits and defense lawyers. The king "has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing Judiciary powers" and "depriv[ed] us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury." (Current readers are likely to split into two camps in their reactions to those statements, with some saying "If they only knew what they were getting us into," and others saying, "Yes, lawyers are an essential ingredient of a stable nation.")

The Declaration also notes that the king had prevented colonists from trading with foreign nations, which was an especially sore point for our resource-rich and young nation. (There is also, I should say, a rarely-quoted--and inflammatory--comment about the American Indians, reminding us that even the Founding Fathers made controversial statements.)

Finally, though, what about taxes? Exactly one statement appears on the subject: The king had assented to Parliament's laws that "impos[e] Taxes on us without our Consent." That's it. For some reason, I always thought that taxes played a bigger part in the Declaration. All it says, though, is that taxes are unacceptable if we do not impose them on ourselves.

The Declaration of Independence, in addition to calling for peace in our country, called for four basic things: the right to pass our own laws, to operate our own courts of law, to trade with other nations, and to create our own tax system. Simple, elegant, complete. No wonder we still read it.

Chris Bergin, President and Publisher of Tax Analysts, provides his perspective on July 4th:

Long ago I got tired of the crap that this country was born out of a tax revolt.

For me, this country was born out of the belief that human beings should be free. We haven't always gotten it right. But for more than 200 years, we keep getting better at it. And whether I agree with him on every issue or not, each time I look at our President, I take great pride in him and great pride in this country.

In the United States of America, taxes are what citizens pay for a civilized society. This means that each and every one of us has a say in how much tax we pay and where the revenue from what we pay should go. In these tough times, knowledge is the greatest currency, especially when it comes to our money.

July 4, 2009 in Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smartphone Buyer's Guide

For those in the market for a new smartphone, Gizmodo has a wonderful Smartphone Buyers Guide: The Best of the Best:

As the dust settles from the last two weeks of mobile madness, one question remains unanswered: Which of the new generation of smartphones should you actually buy? We've collected everything you need to know.

We've selected the five phones that most feel like modern handsets to us—the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S, the Palm Pre, the HTC Magic (or, as we soon expect, the T-Mobile G2) and the BlackBerry Storm—and broken them down by hardware, software and cost. This is a guide in the strictest sense, meaning we aren't declaring winners or losers, just giving you the information you need to make your own choice.

As I blogged yesterday, you can now raid your kid's college fund to buy one!  (Hat Tip:  Above the Law.)

June 17, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Off to San Diego

Usd_photoI am off to San Diego for my sixth summer teaching Tax I at the University of San Diego School of Law, my first as the Herzog Summer Visiting Professor in Taxation.  San Diego is truly America's Finest City --  the climate and environment are simply spectacular.  My family is joining me for the first week, and I am especially looking forward to touring several Southern California colleges with my daughter, who will be a high school senior in the fall.

June 6, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Graduation Day

Reed (sr day -soccer - with Paul) Reed, congratulations on your high school graduation today.  Although I am bursting with pride at your many academic and athletic accomplishments, I am prouder still of simply who you are and the man you are becoming. 

After spending many years as your coach and later sideline cheerleader, I was awed to watch you receive your school's best athlete award.   But even more touching than your considerable talent is the way that you play, in sports and in life.

At your last tennis match of the season, a grueling contest against the team that eventually finished third in the state, their coach sought me out to say that in all of his years in tennis, he had never seen anyone with your combination of hustle, drive to win, and sportsmanship.  He said that although his players were more technically proficient with better strokes, he would love to have seven players like you on his team.  After watching you applaud literally every time an opponent hit a passing shot throughout the season, I was delighted but not surprised when you won the city-wide sportsman of the year award.

You are an amazing combination of talent and humility -- both your basketball and soccer coaches say they never before had a player they had to constantly implore to shoot.  In basketball, you finished in the Top 10 in the state in field goal percentage, but you always thought pass first, shoot second.  As a soccer center midfielder, you preferred to set up your teammates for goals rather than score yourself.  Your special gift is that you make those around you better, on the athletic field and off.

My heart aches that you will soon leave for college, and I will no longer feel the daily joy of living in the same house with you (although I will save a small fortune in honey nut cheerios, microwave popcorn, and Gatorade).  But the void will be filled with a different kind of joy, as I watch you develop into a remarkable young man. I am delighted that you will be "only" 9 hours away -- you can expect to see me planted on the soccer sidelines next fall as often as I can.  Remember always that your mother and I love you beyond all measure.  And that God loves you infinitely more.

June 5, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

17th Birthday in NYC

Statue of Liberty I just returned from a whirlwind 56-hour trip to New York City to celebrate my daughter's 17th birthday.  Jayne, I had a spectacular time -- visiting two colleges, power-walking from Times Square to Battery Park (and then deciding to invest in an all-day subway pass), watching you excitedly rummage through a Greenwich Village music store, discovering your California-favorite Jamba Juice, having lunch with you at a Vegan restaurant (while I secretly longed for a chicken sandwich), enjoying late-night dinners and ice cream on Broadway, seeing two fantastic musicals -- Wicked and Altar Boyz (with a lead character wearing a University of Cincinnati jersey), and shopping for your birthday present at Bloomingdales (paying more for a pair of jeans than I have ever spent on a suit).  I won't repeat my blubbering like I did last year over your 16th birthday, but I want you to know that I love you beyond measure and will cherish every day of your last year at home before you leave to make your way in the world.  And thanks for enduring your weird father's NYC sight-seeing requests:

Continue reading

May 20, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Congratulations, Adam Steinman!

Steinman Congratulations to my friend and colleague Adam Steinman -- the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees today approved his promotion to full professor with tenure, effective September 1, 2009.  Adam is an amazingly productive and thoughtful scholar in the civil procedure and federal courts area, award-winning teacher, and wonderful institutional citizen.

I was on the appointments committee the year we hired Adam.  Our Monyeball article (What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483, 1539-44 (2004)) had just come out, arguing that pre-hiring publication is the only measure that accurately predicts future scholarly success.   Adam had published several significant pieces before entering the meat market, so I naturally was a strong supporter for this and many other reasons.  I am thrilled that Adam's spectacular success provides some additional support for the Moneyball thesis.  I can also say without equivocation that Adam is the nation's premier faculty tax rapper:


May 19, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Goodbye, Class of 2009

Cincinnati_logo_0507_3The University of Cincinnati College of Law sent off the Class of 2009 into the world today at our graduation ceremony.  They are our 176th graduating class, making us the fourth-oldest conitnuously operating law school in the country.

It is always a reflective day for the faculty, as we watch with pride as each of the graduates march confidently across the stage to collect his or her diploma from the dean.  It is hard to believe that almost three years have passed since I welcomed 1/3 of them to law school in my week-long Introduction to Law course.  The highlight of the ceremony was the address by Cris Collinsworth, UC College of Law Class of 1991 and eight-time Emmy-award winnings sportscaster, who last month was selected by NBC to replace John Madden as analyst on Sunday Night Football.  Chris's speech was great, second in commencement speech annals to Conan O'Brien's:

May 10, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Dreamed a Dream

By now, most of you have probably seen the incredibly powerful rendition by Susan Boyle, an unemployed 47 year old Scottish woman, of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables on the Britain's Got Talent television show last Saturday:


There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

April 18, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A 16-Year Old's Reflections on Snow Days

Snow Day Cincinnati recently shut down for three days because of a few inches of snow.  My 16-year old daughter wrote this touching article for her school newspaper on how snow days are different as we grow older:

I almost wish I didn't have these snow days off school.  It was depressing sitting in my house all day, working away to meet adult-like goals rather than simply enjoying the unexpected free time to play in the snow or sled like I did when I was younger. ...

And so the sleds lay dormant in our garage.  Each member of the family worked quietly and separately in different rooms.  Our driveway even lacked the telltale crunched-in snow footprints left by excited children running around in the snow.  Now, the snow seems more of a nuisance than an actual blessing. ...

Snow days used to be a magical experience of hot cocoa, extra hours of sleep and snow angels made by wet and slightly cold children on the crisp blanket of white.  Now, my snow days are business transactions, time spent typing a seemingly worthless and pointless paper on the changing family structure in America. ...

I somehow feel that I am losing an integral part of my childhood as I transition from teen-hood to adulthood.  With only a year and a half left at home, it's sad that I am unable to soak up every moment of my remaining time at home without worrying about the consequences of time spent just having plain old fun.

For more of my daughter's writing, see:

February 8, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome Aboard, Ken Hirsh

Hirshk Kenneth J. Hirsh, formerly of the Duke Law Library, begins his tenure today as Director of the Law Library and Information Technology and Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.  I have served on the Board of Directors of CALI with Ken for the past four years and am thrilled that we were able to attract a person with his background, experience, talent, and leadership ability to take the helm of our library.  From the UC press release:

Mr. Hirsh is a graduate of the University of Miami (A.B. 1974) and received his J.D. from the University of Florida in 1977. He practiced law in Florida for nearly ten years before obtaining his M.S. in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University in 1989. He then joined the Law Library at Duke University School of Law and served as Reference Librarian (1989-1994), Manager of Computing Services (1993-2001), and Director of Computing Services (2001-2008). Mr. Hirsh also has served as a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke since 1989, teaching Legal Research and a course in Technology in the Practice of Law.

Mr. Hirsh’s extensive experience in both reference and information technology at one of the country’s finest law schools will serve the College of Law and its Library well. His accomplishments at Duke have been as an innovator – using his legal education, practice background, and technical expertise to bring new technologies to bear beneficially on the work of law students and faculty.

He likewise has been a nationally prominent leader in two of the foremost organizations in his field, the American Association of Law Libraries (“AALL”) and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (“CALI”). Mr. Hirsh served as President of the AALL’s Southeastern Chapter and currently serves as Secretary of CALI and a member of its Board of Directors. CALI honored him with its Excellence in Service Award in 2000. The AALL similarly hailed Mr. Hirsh’s contributions, honoring him for distinguished service in 2004. AALL has named its distinguished service award in the area of computing services for Mr. Hirsh.

As I previously blogged, this is an incredibly exciting time at Cincinnati, and we are thrilled that Ken has come aboard to help implement the College's ambitious strategic plan.

February 2, 2009 in Legal Education, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fingerprints of God

A timeless reminder for those of you with children, and indeed for all of us as children:  Fingerprints of God, by Stephen Curtis Chapman (Hat Tip: Brian Spiess):

January 23, 2009 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Tax Canon Redux

Among the permanent left sidebar resources on TaxProf Blog is Vic Fleischer's 2003 listing of the Tax Canon -- ten articles (and a couple of books) that comprise "essential reading for those interested in developing a cultural literacy about tax policy." On Saturday, The Tax Lawyer’s Blog announced "the Online Tax Canon, a compendium of the top 10 free online sources of tax law, advice and information," one of which is TaxProf Blog:

TaxProf Blog - The only blog in the Canon, Professor Paul Caron posts several times a day providing readers with links to popular tax articles and papers and analyses of recent tax developments. A great one-stop-shop of all things taxation.

December 29, 2008 in About This Blog, Miscellaneous, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In Hoc Anno Domini

The Wall Street Journal has published this wonderful editorial each Christmas since 1949, In Hoc Anno Domini:

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

Read the rest here.

December 25, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Legal Version

Check out the original and legal versions of the classic poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas [click on chart to enlarge]:

Twas_the_night_before_christmas_pag

Continue reading

December 24, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

1040_lrg  Form 1040 Toilet Paper ($3.49 per roll):

Does it pain you to fill out a tax form each year? Does knowing that the IRS takes a large chunk of your salary give you the runs? This product isn't deductible, but it'll sure make you feel better. A collage of the 1040 IRS Form is printed throughout the whole roll!

   

  

December 23, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

From the Treasury Department Historical Association:

Ornament_2_2Eleven Christmas Tree Tax Ornaments, including my favorite: the 1993 ornament issued on the 80th Anniversary of 16th Amendment:

THA's fifth annual ornament depicts the first Form 1040 as a commemorative of the 80th Anniversary of the authorization to collect tax on income. The ornament measures approximately 3-1/4 by 3-1/2 inches....On January 5, 1914, the Department of the Treasury unveiled the new Form 1040 for tax year 1913. 

Irs_notecards2_4IRS Notecards:

THA's Internal Revenue Service Building notecards depict six works of art displayed in the IRS National Office Building, each showing various architectural features of the New Deal-era IRS headquarters. The top-fold cards measure about 4-1/2 by 6 inches and arde packaged 12 to a box, 2 of each of the 6 prints, with envelopes.

Other items include:

December 22, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

IRS Chocolate Bars ($1.45 each; $72.50 for case of 50):

CandyBarIRS1040DKchoc_L

December 21, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

1969 magazine ad:  Face the IRS with a Coke in Your Hand ($9.99):

 Coke Ad

December 19, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

Irs_action_figure For sale on eBay:  an IRS action figure -- Irwin R. Schyster (for $9.99):

The action figure is modeled after WWF wrestler Mike Rotunda:

In the WWF, Rotunda became Irwin R. Shyster (I.R.S.) and he is perhaps best known for this role, more than any other role he has played during his career. Irwin R Shyster was a typical "tax-man" gimmick who harassed all of the faces and fans, urging them to pay their taxes, thus not enduring himself to the fans and other wrestlers (in the storylines).   

Irs_action_figure_2_1

His signature lines:

        • "I'm gonna write you off!"
        • "You can pay me now, or you will pay me later!"
        • "It's time to cut the crying, and start paying!"
        • "Even the dead have to pay taxes!"
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December 19, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

IRS Tapes On eBay:  Willie Nelson, Who'll Buy My Memories:  The IRS Tapes (current bid: $20.50)):

As part of a settlement with the IRS, Willie Nelson recorded Who'll Buy My Memories (which is why the album is sometimes referred to as The IRS Tapes). The record was originally marketed exclusively on late-night television, its proceeds earmarked toward paying off Nelson's sizable tax debt, but has since found its way into record stores. These performances are unique in Nelson's body of recorded work because the entire album is performed solo, providing fans with a close approximation of what it might be like to have Willie come to their house and pick a few tunes.

Perhaps because of the circumstances under which it was created, the mood on this record is overwhelmingly somber. Melancholy is a mood that suits Nelson well, however, and the result is a touching and intimate collection. All 25 songs on Who'll Buy My Memories are Nelson originals. In choosing the material to include here, Nelson omitted the most obvious hits, opting instead for a more interesting selection of personal favorites.

(Hat Tip: Josh Bank.)

December 19, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

On eBay (with a $1.99 starting bid):  this bumper sticker:

Obama Bumper Sticker

December 18, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Cincinnati Christmas Tragedy

As I have noted a couple of times on this blog, my familly and I are privileged to attend a wonderful church here in Cincinnati -- Crossroads Community Church.  For the past two years, the church has put on a free Christmas show, which is attended by over 25,000 people over its week-long run.  At last night's opening performance, something went horribly wrong.  Keri Shryock, a 23-year-old Xavier University graduate student playing the role of a wise man, was killed when she fell while being suspended 20-feet in the air by an overhead cable.  We are all shocked and devastated by this terrible accident.  Here are some details from the church and the local paper.

December 18, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

Mortimer Available on eBay:  Mortimer Caplin IRS Commissioner Signed Autograph:

This is an authentic hand signed item and is NOT a preprint.  Buy It Now price:  $9.99.

From Wikipedia:

First in his class at University of Virginia School of Law, and Editor-in-Chief of Virginia Law Review, Caplin served as a law clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge Armistead M. Dobie. He then practiced law in New York City from 1941 to 1950, with time out for military service in the United States Navy. ...  In 1950, Caplin returned to UVA as professor of law, specializing in tax and corporate law and publishing extensively in these fields. ...  Following President John F. Kennedy's election, Caplin ... in January 1961 was appointed Commissioner of Internal Revenue. ...  Caplin remained at the IRS until July 1964 when he resigned to form the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale.

December 17, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Read a Tax Prof's Blog, Help Feed the Hungry

An anonymous benefector has agreed to donate $1 to the Oregon Food Bank for every visitor to Lewis & ClarkTax Prof Jack Bogdanski's Jack Bog's Blog today. Jack's blog is the 11th most popular blog run by a law professopr, averaging 2,500 visitors per day -- so here's hoping traffic at least doubles today (I've already done my part).

December 17, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

Britney Spears Available on eBay: Britney Spears Original Belly Button and Fair Tax Combo:

As Britney Spears is the most searched for term on the Internet, "hook it up" with The Fair Tax idea for the Fresh way to pay tax. A "Britney Belly Button" and "the Fair Tax" button are two beautiful things.

Two buttons for $4.00 + low shipping price.

Both buttons are 3.5 inches for great visibility. Covered in protective mylar to make them keepers for life! Buy a bunch today....

December 16, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person

1913_tax_form_1Continuing a TaxProf Blog holiday tradition, I will offer some gift ideas for that special tax person in your life.  Today's suggestion:  For Counsel (Products and Gifts for Lawyers) sells an exact reproduction of the original 1913 Form 1040:

Four pages long, including one page of instructions. Impressively framed in classic mahogany with beaded edge and segmented mat of ivory. Brass plate mounted on the mat states: "1913 Inaugural Form 1040." Framed dimensions are 30" by 24". Comes with Plexiglas and all accessories for hanging.

Please email me other tax gift suggestions. 

   

December 15, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Belated Thanksgiving

IMG_0294 Thanks to Neil Buchanan (here, here, here, here), Vic Fleischer (here, here, here, here), and Ruth Mason (here, here) for filling in for me while I was away on a family mission trip with my wife and two kids at Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico.  We worked in two orphanages and two poor neighborhoods alongside sixteen wonderful people from St. Mark's Church in Burlington, North Carolina.  We helped put on a concrete roof (see picture on the right), build a water cistern, convert a rock-filled patch of ground into a soccer field, serve meals, and love on dozens of orphans.  It was easily the most strenuous and impactful week of our lives.  To learn more about the fabulous work Back2Back is doing in Mexico and Africa, check out the recently-published book, Reckless Faith.  Better yet, please consider a year-end gift to support their wonderful mission.

December 1, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Tax Treats

Jim Maule (Villanova) has a neat Halloween suggestionIRS Chocolate Bars:

CandyBarIRS1040DKchoc_L

October 31, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Proudly Cincinnati

My wife and I attended the kick-off event for the University of Cincinnati's Proudly Cincinnati $1 billion capital campaign, where they unveiled this awesome video:

October 31, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Schadenfreude at the Hampton Inn

New York Times:  Waiting for Schadenfreude, by Judith Warner:

[I]n the whole winner-take-all-era ushered in by the boom years of the late 1990s ... [t]he model for success narrowed. The goal posts marking success grew more out of reach. For all the people who did something with their lives other than doggedly, single-mindedly — and successfully — pursuing wealth ... life got harder and scarier and more confusing.

Many of us who’d proudly decided, in our twenties, to pursue edifying or creative, or “helping” professions, woke up to realize, once we had families, that we’d perhaps been irresponsible. We couldn’t save for college. We could barely save for retirement. If we set up a “family-friendly” lifestyle, we threw our financial futures down the drain. ...

So, like just about everyone, we worked hard and treaded water, but felt we were entitled to do better than that. And if we lived in the New York area, or another similarly wealthy area where the spoils of the new Gilded Age were constantly thrust in our faces, we felt ... a little something more: we knew that we were losers.

For those of us who have hated this period — the wealth worship, the wealth gap, the elevation of everything suspiciously shiny and irrationally bubbly and stupidly ebullient, there should be some feeling of vindication. But it just isn’t coming. A great emptiness — and a gnawing kind of fear — has taken its place. ...

Schadenfreude is impossible because the fat cats — the ones who bent the rules, the ones who pushed the envelopes, the ones who paid lower taxes because capital gains were most of their income, the ones who opposed regulations on the banking and mortgage industries — are taking us down with them. ... We’re all losers now. There’s no pleasure to it.

Tom Smith responds in "We Are All Losers Now":

[P]eople so tormented by relative financial unsuccess that they end up crying do not appreciate how costly it is in personal terms to commit oneself to making a lot of money. ... []n Plato's Republic, or perhaps another of his tedious dialogues, ... Socrates says to some rich, old gent something like "I observe you are not an asshole. Am I right in thinking you inherited your money rather than made it yourself?" He then goes on to say people who made a lot of money are overly fascinated by it and their own skill in having gotten it. In my experience, that is really true. I also observed older men making what looked to me terrible sacrifices, especially of their families, in pursuing their careers at the big DC law firm I was at. One story that made the rounds was of an associate who took a call from the daughter of a top partner. She was in the ICU after a suicide attempt. He was working to finish something for a client, and refused to take the call, which had been put through to the conference room. He sent an associate to take the call and tell her he could not come to the phone. The daughter pleaded with the associate, the associate went back to the partner, but she could not get him to come to the phone.

The thing is, markets are pretty efficient. Wealth has a price, and it's far from free. To get it, you have to compete with others who not only have as much brains as you do, but who may well be willing to give up more than you to get it. I used to think I liked money more than most people, but that was before I met the people who really like it, or really want it anyway, and are willing to do a lot more than I am to get it. ...

Fight Club got that right in its excoriation of working in a job you hate so you can buy shit you don't need. ... But honestly, this attitude of, I became an artist, non profit worker, teacher, writer, whatever, and now I'm not rich like the guys who went into banking, boo hoo hoo -- I mean, honestly, cowboy up and get a life. If you feel this way, more stuff is probably the least of what you need.

This really resonates with me, as I am on the first of many college trips with my kids over the next two years.  I picked my son up after he took the SAT yesterday, and we drove ten hours listening to and debating Bob Woodward's State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III.  As I sit typing this in a Hampton Inn, following a a dinner at Applebee's, there is no place I would rather be. 

October 5, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tax Toilet Paper

1040_lrg If your tax bric-a-brac tastes are more low-brow than yesterday's Form 1040 Puzzle, you can bid on your very own roll of Form 1040 toilet paper:

Does it pain you to fill out a tax form each year? Does knowing that the IRS takes a large chunk of your salary give you the runs? This product isn't deductible, but it'll sure make you feel better. A collage of the 1040 IRS Form is printed throughout the whole roll!

The toilet paper is also available here and here

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Form 1040: The Puzzle

Thanks to Leandra Lederman, I am the proud owner of a Form 1040 Puzzle, which I have added to my extensive collection of tax bric-a-brac:

Form_1040_puzzle_box

August 26, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Firefox: The Researcher’s Browser of Choice

Firefoxthumb_2Great post on Res Ipsa Blog:  Become an Efficient Researcher: Top Twenty Firefox Add-ons that Make Firefox the Researcher’s Browser of Choice:

Firefox was introduced in 2004 as a free open-source replacement for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Firefox offered improved security and introduced tabbed browsing, an integrated spell checker, and a download manager. Today, Firefox is the second-most popular browser, with almost twenty percent of the browser market share. The popularity of Firefox continues to grow primarily because of its speed, ease of use, and the availability of free “add-ons” which allow users to add additional features to customize the Firefox browser.

As the amount of scholarly material available on the web increases, so to does the need to an efficient means to find, sort, organize and cite the material. Below are twenty of the best tools available on Firefox that researchers can choose from to build a customized, highly efficient research tool.

August 24, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

WKRP TaxProf Blog in Cincinnati

Fans of the WKRP in Cincinnati TV show might remember the theme song:

Dave Rifkin (Attorney-Advisor to Tax Court Judge Juan F. Vasquez; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown) welcomed me back from San Diego with this ode:

Baby, if you've ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I'm living on the net in Cincinnati,
TaxProf Blog in Cincinnati.

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the rankings
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby click on me once in awhile.

I'm at TaxProf Blog in Cincinnati.

Of course, the obvious question is who is my counterpart on the show -- I voted for Andy Travis or Dr. Johnny Fever; my wife and kids, alas, say its Les Nessman.

WKRP TaxProf Blog in Cincinnati.

July 27, 2008 in About This Blog, Celebrity Tax Lore, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Farewell, San Diego!

Usd_photoThis is a bittersweet day for me, as I leave San Diego after seven weeks to return home to Cincinnati.  This was my fifth summer teaching at the University of San Diego School of Law, and I have had a wonderful time. My thanks to the kind folks at USD for having me back again, and to my 73 Tax I students who worked so hard (and laughed at most of my jokes).   San Diego is truly "America's Finest City" -- the climate and the environment are simply spectacular.  But even more enjoyable has been renewing acquaintances with the many friends we have made over the years here.

July 25, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TaxProf Blog Named "Top 100 Law and Lawyer Blog"

TaxProf Blog has been named one of the The Top 100 Law and Lawyer Blogs by Criminal Justice Degrees Guide.  In particular, TaxProf Blog is one of the fifteen blogs named in the Law Professors category along with über blogs such as InstaPundit, Lessig, and The Volokh Conspiracy.  I am particularly proud that six of the fifteen law professor blogs honored are members of our Law Professor Blogs Network:

In addition, our Chinese Law Prof Blog is named in the Foreign Law category and Legal Profession Blog is named in the Legal Ethics category.

July 2, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Randy Pausch: Time Management

Last fall, I blogged the incredibly moving last lecture of Randy Pausch, a 46-year old computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and father of three pre-school children who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  The lecture has become a worldwide phenomenon, spawning over 2.6 million YouTube views and a new best-selling book. (For an update on his condition, see his blog.).  Randy says his recent lecture on Time Management at the University of Virginia is an even more important legacy:

June 3, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Off to San Diego

Usd_photoI am off to San Diego for the summer to teach Tax I at the University of San Diego School of Law.  It is a wonderful city and school, and I am looking forward to renewing acquaintances with the many friends I have made in my four previous summers there.  I am especially excited at having my 16 year-old daughter and her friend join me on Thursday for a week-long vacation.  She will be leaving the nest in two short years, and I get misty just thinking about it.  I plan to play Steven Curtis Chapman's wonderful Cinderella song several times over the next week:

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone.

June 2, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

TaxProf Blog Named "Top 50 Law School Blog"

CollegeDegrees.com has named TaxProf Blog one of the Top 50 Law School Blogs:

This popular, informative, and easy to read tax law blog, written by Paul Caron, a professor at the University of Cincinnati Law School, offers topics touching on a range of issues that will be of interest to students, professors, and practicing lawyers alike. There’s even a post about Wesley Snipe’s failure to pay taxes and how the decision in the case could affect future tax enforcement.

Seven of the Top 50 Law School Blogs are members of our Law Professor Blogs Network (including six of the twelve blogs honored in the "Types of Law" category):

May 29, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sweet 16

Pict0050_2Jayne, 16 years ago today you entered this world, enriching our lives beyond measure. The years have flown by, and my heart aches that we will never again play basketball in the driveway, hit baseballs in the park, or go to Fall Out Boy concerts together.  But the void is filled with a different kind of joy, as I watch you develop into a remarkable young woman.  I am secretly happy that your breathtaking beauty, buoyant intelligence, and exuberant personality are, thus far, intimidating to most of the boys in your sophomore class.

Although I am bursting with pride at your many academic and athletic accomplishments, I am prouder still of simply who you are and the person you are becoming.  Your recent mission trip to South Africa embodies your fervent faith, serving heart, and fortitude and maturity way beyond your years.

I have made more than my share of mistakes through these 16 years and in many ways have not been as good a father as you deserved. But I want you to know that I love you beyond measure and will be cherishing every day of these next two years before you leave our home to make your way in the world. I am especially looking forward to our upcoming vacation together in San Diego, and hoping it will be as memorable as our time together at the JH Ranch Father-Daughter coming-of-age camp (and our trips to Washington, D.C.)

I cherish the story you wrote in sixth grade, My Daddy, which I keep on a special shelf in my office:

Sometimes it is hard to let people go.  One moment, you are swinging them up in the air and giving them kisses, and the next moment they are gone.  A huge bit of your life, snipped away bit by bit. ...

Even though his work day is tiring, my Daddy always has time to hit balls in the park with me or to play basketball in the driveway until the sun sets and it grows dark and we can't see the basket anymore.  Then we meander inside and watch the news as I sit between my Daddy's knees, watching my life unfold.  Him growing older.  Me growing older.  My life beginning to unravel like a ball of yarn.  Snip by snip.  Bit by bit.

I remember him lifting me up high in the air and twirling me around in high arches as the salt water sprayed my fat little legs.  I watched him, trusting him, loving him.  He is my Daddy.  He swung me around like I was nothing and everything at the same time.  My hair static and free.  I was loving every minute of it.

I remember piggy back rides to my bedroom. Me feeling like I was on the top of the world, that I could touch the sun. My fingers brushing the top of the ceiling, as Daddy warned, "watch the fingerprints," even though I knew he didn't care.  It was wonderful to know that somebody out there was willing to stop and give me a lift to wherever I needed to go.

I remember Daddy pushing me on the swings, with each arc going a little higher.  In my mind, I could see myself touching the sky, with Daddy behind me, lifting me up.  "Look, Jayne, you're flying," yelled Daddy as the wind whipped my white hair.  I was free, more free than I had ever been in my entire life.

I remember soccer games with Daddy as coach.  The drills which seem so simple now caused me years of frustration.  Games that he made fun.  And as he passed me on to a new coach, I realized that as I grew older, I was letting go, snip by snip.

I remember playing baseball in the park.  Me hitting balls 2 feet in the air when I was lucky, which most of the time I was not.  My Daddy saying I was getting better.  A litter of brand new white balls behind home plate, the smell of sand in our noses.  All that was left was Daddy and me, and baseball, together.

I remember being with Daddy at the pool, begging him to go under -- that was the moment he became Dad, just Dad.  No longer a Superman figure afraid of nothing.  I saw his humanness and I balked.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Superman.  In my mind, I thought, this isn't Daddy.  Daddy's the one who kills spiders in the bathtub, and isn't afraid to check closets for monsters or to watch scary monsters.

Gradually, I began to realize, this is Dad.  Human, someone who makes mistakes and who is willing to risk anything for his family.  Yes, he isn't Superman.  He's someone better.  My Daddy.  As I go through my adolescent years, I am losing bits and pieces of my life.  I realize now that I can't touch the sky, and I'm almost as tall as my Daddy.  Sometimes, it's hard to let people go, like it was hard to let Superman go, and eventually my Daddy will have to let go of me.  I know that he is always there to hold on to as long as I need to, and there will always be a thread connecting me to him, no matter how far away I am.  My Daddy, my Superman, me and him, a team.

May 20, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Goodbye, Class of 2008

Cincinnati_logo_0507_3The University of Cincinnati College of Law sent off the Class of 2008 into the world today at our graduation ceremony.  They are our 175th graduating class, making us the fourth-oldest conitnuously operating law school in the country.

It is always a reflective day for the faculty, as we watch with pride as each of the graduates march confidently across the stage to collect his or her diploma from the dean.  It is hard to believe that almost three years have passed since I welcomed 1/3 of them to law school in my week-long Introduction to Law course.  Highlights of the ceremony were:

  • The address by William R. (Billy) Martin, head of Sutherland's White Colar Criminal Defense Practice and University of Cincinnati College of Law Class of 1976.  Billy regaled us with lessons he has learned from his many high profile cases, including his representation of Larry Craig, Allen Iverson, Monica Lewinsky's mother, Michael Vick, and Jayson Williams.  (For more on his career, see profiles in the Cleveland Examiner, Law Crossing, Wall Street Journal and Wikipedia.)
  • The Class of 2008's selection of Max Huffman as the receipient of the Nicolas Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award.  I got to know Max as a student (Class of 1998) and as a colleague while he served as our Visiting Assistant Professor of Law during 2005-2007.  He will be starting this fall as tenure-track visiting professor at Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Law.  It is great to see a former student (especially one as talented as Max) enter the legal academy (with the added bonus that Indianapolis is only 110 miles from Cincinnati).
  • The recognition of two institutional pillars at the College who are retiring this year:
    • Bill Rands, a tax professor here for 30 years.  Bill was a wonderful mentor when I began my teaching career at Cincinnati, and is a dear friend.
    • Barb Watts, our Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, who is retiring after 27 years.  Barb has an incredibly broad portfolio -- she serves as both our Associate Dean for Acadenic Affairs and our de facto Dean of Students, and handles both jobs with enormous skill and good cheer.

May 17, 2008 in Law School, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday as (Athletic) Destiny

Growing up in Boston, my goal was to play first base for the Red Sox.  After a mediocre high school and college career, I hung up the spikes for good.  It turns out the my failing owed more to my July 27 birthday than to my inability to hit a curveball:  The Boys of Late Summer:  Why Do So Many Pro Baseball Players have August birthdays? (Slate), by Greg Spira:

Since 1950, a baby born in the United States in August has had a 50% to 60% better chance of making the big leagues than a baby born in July. The lesson: If you want your child to be a professional baseball player, you should start planning early. Very early. As in before conception.

The table below lays out the full month-to-month data. ...

American League Birthdays.
The pattern is unmistakable. From August through the following July, there is a steady decline in the likelihood that a child born in the United States will become a major leaguer. Meanwhile, among players born outside the 50 states, there are some hints of a pattern but nothing significant enough to reach any conclusions. ...

The magical date of Aug. 1 gives a strong hint as to the explanation for this phenomenon. For more than 55 years, July 31 has been the age-cutoff date used by virtually all nonschool-affiliated baseball leagues in the United States. ... (There is no such commonly used cutoff date in Latin America.) The result: In almost every American youth league, the oldest players are the ones born in August, and the youngest are those with July birthdays.

The authors of Freakanomics chronicled a similar birthday effect with January-March birthdays in European soccer.  Unfortunately, I did not learn of this birthday effect in time to help my kids, who have both managed to become quite good high school athletes despite having non-advantageous May and June birthdays.

Note to Bill Henderson and the Empirical Legal Studies team:   what is the optimum birthday for a law professor?

April 21, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)