2016-17 Final NHL power rankings and playoff predictions

I’ve created somewhat elaborate spreadsheets to rank NHL, NCAA Men’s Basketball and Football, and NFL teams by averaging a number of basic and advanced statistics as well as power rankings produced by various experts. The NHL playoffs start tonight. Here is (1) how my spreadsheet ranks all of the teams in the lead, and (2) my predictions for what will happen in the playoffs: NHL Power Rankings, 2016-17 (end of regular season) Washington Montreal Chicago Columbus Pittsburgh Minnesota San Jose Edmonton Anaheim Boston Nashville NY Rangers St.

Condensed Ninth Circuit opinion upholding injunction on Trump's immigration ban

Here is a slimmed-down version of today’s excellent opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refusing to remove the nationwide injunction temporarily stopping Trump’s Executive Order on immigration. That order bars people from seven predominately Muslim countries on the basis of their nationality and religion. I explained in an op-ed yesterday why I think the order is unconstitutional. You can read the full Ninth Circuit opinion here; the version below includes most of the opinion but strips out most of the procedural discussions, including the discussions of whether the States of Washington and Minnesota had standing to sue.

Why Trump's discriminatory travel ban is unconstitutional

My op-ed explaining why President Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional appeared today in The Independent.

If you would like to be notified of future posts and publications, please subscribe to this blog by email or follow me on Twitter. Thank you for reading.

Developing a language-learning program (high-frequency sentence identifier)

UPDATE: I devoted most of my nights and weekends this year to building the program described below with the help of Kostyantyn Grinchenko, an excellent Ukrainian freelance developer. Then, after realizing that we had stumbled upon a breakthrough idea that could revolutionize language learning and help many people become fluent readers of their target language, I assembled a remote team of freelance and volunteer developers, designers, native-speaker audio recorders, and translators to help me develop it into a webapp (and future mobile app): WordBrewery.

Learning blackjack, part 2: strategy

I wrote a complete version of this post a couple of days ago on a plane, but somehow lost the file. But then, I am writing this in part to fix it in my memory and build my understanding, so there’s no harm in writing it again. Below is what I have gleaned about basic blackjack strategy, primarily from two sources: the iPhone app Blackjack 101 Free and the book The Most Powerful Blackjack Manual by Jay Moore.

Learning blackjack

In two weeks, I am going to Las Vegas for my brother’s bachelor party. It is inevitable that I will gamble a bit and lose that money which I gamble; I consider this an entertainment expense, not an opportunity to make money. Nevertheless, it seems wise to attempt to limit the damage—or at least acquire some knowledge as a consolation prize—by becoming well-informed about precisely how the casino will be taking my money.


My homepage is due for an update. It has remained essentially unchanged since I first built it in 2009. Similarly, the two blogs I kept on and off from about 2003 until about 2011 can safely be declared defunct. It is time for a fresh start and a new website that better reflects my current interests and is compatible with my new career as an attorney. With respect to the latter: none of my posts on this blog will deal with law or politics.

Books I found helpful during the first year of law school (1L)

Last summer and fall, I did a bit of research to try and identify books and study aids that might be helpful during my first year of law school.  There are hundreds of products out there, and some are considerably more useful than others.  I wanted to put together a list of the books I found to be most valuable for any incoming law students (or self-educators interested in reading about law) who might be interested:

Recommended books and media

Here is a list of the books and media I’ve read over the years that I have either (a) enjoyed the most or (b) learned the most from. Within each category, authors are listed alphabetically. Where more than one book is listed for an author, I’ve listed the books in order of preference. Fiction/Literature/Literary Nonfiction: Dante Alighieri, Inferno Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine; Fahrenheit 451Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; My Antonia Albert Camus, The Stranger

Rethinking the Great Depression and the New Deal

I’ve become increasingly interested in the history of the 1930s, and I just finished Eric Rauchway’s The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction.  It has become increasingly clear to me that there are major holes in the dominant historical narrative about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Roosevelt administration.  The standard, high-school-textbook version of the story goes something like this: “Greedy stock market speculators caused the stock market crash of 1929, which triggered the worst depression in American history; President Herbert Hoover believed in an outdated laissez-faire economic philosophy, so he did nothing; thankfully, President Roosevelt was elected, and his New Deal policies saved capitalism and helped the common man survive the Great Depression; and finally, World War II was an enormous boon to the U.