Friday, October 28, 2005

Off-topic: Internet access in every seat

Consider this quote:
We are housed in a building that has been completely refurbished for our use and which is equipped with the finest technology, including Internet access in every seat in every classroom.


Torgo heard recently that most of the classrooms now have a switch to disable internet access during class.

The comment is off-topic because it really has nothing to do with the quality of the law school. Rather, Torgo wonders if students have reverted to passing paper notes in lieu of IMing each other in such classes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Top ten reasons to move AMSOL to Florida

10. Law clinic program would be able to add significant medicare/medicaid law experience.

9. Higher hispanic population guarantees less chance that the locals will mispronounce the name.

8. Frequent hurricanes will give students real life experience in insurance law.

7. Disneyland world. Epcot is a good comparison piece to the crystal palace.

6. Student budgets will go farther because flip-flops are considered dress apparel.

5. Real cohibas have to be cheaper there.

4. Florida law still allows for slip and fall tort recovery.

3. There aren't all those evil manufacturing corporations littering the job announcements.

2. No snow. ever.

1. With all those retirees, cable TV subsciptions have to be cheaper.

Monday, October 24, 2005

AveWatch site opens

Announced in comments today, there's a new web site, AveWatch.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nie wiem, wollę nie wiedzieć: Talking Point: Founder's Syndrome

Nie wiem, wollę nie wiedzieć: Talking Point: Founder's Syndrome

Looks like this AMSOL alum is telling us something...

Torgo might not be smart enough to figure it out though. Torgo is a slow reader.

Whose AMSOL?: Memo from Dean Dobranski on Recent Board of Governors' Resolution

Whose AMSOL?: Memo from Dean Dobranski on Recent Board of Governors' Resolution

Torgo thinks you should click that link and check it out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oxford Dictionary: Absurd

According to the Oxford Dictionary on my machine,

We call something absurd when it is utterly inconsistent with what common sense or experience tells us (: she found herself in the absurd position of having to defend the intelligence of a cockroach).

Ludicrous applies to whatever is so incongruous that it provokes laughter or scorn (: a ludicrous suggestion that he might escape unnoticed if he dressed up as a woman), and ridiculous implies that ridicule or mockery is the only appropriate response ( | she tried to look younger, but succeeded only in making herself look ridiculous).

Foolish behavior shows a lack of intelligence or good judgment (: it was foolish to keep that much money under a mattress), while unreasonable behavior implies that the person has intentionally acted contrary to good sense ( | his response was totally unreasonable in view of the fact that he'd asked for their honest opinion).

Preposterous should be reserved for those acts or situations that are glaringly absurd or ludicrous. For example, it might be unreasonable to judge an entire nation on the basis of one tourist's experience and foolish to turn down an opportunity to visit that country on those grounds alone, but it would be preposterous to suggest that everyone who comes to the U.S. will be robbed at gunpoint.

the definition itself is: (of an idea or suggestion) wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate

Friday, October 21, 2005

"Naples has Great Weather"

"My goal now is to have the finest Catholic university and law school in the world. We were going to move the campus to Domino's Farms, but we couldn't persuade the township to buy the idea of a university here. So I prayed about it a lot, and my answer was to put it in the Naples, Fla., area. I'd vacationed there many times and enjoyed it. Naples has great weather, and there are few Catholic universities in Florida, or even in the Southeast. We have an interim campus down there now, and the permanent campus will open in 2006 with architecture in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The main chapel on campus will have the largest seating capacity of any Catholic church in the U.S." link here, Fortune Small Business

Great Weather. Great, indeed.

May God spare those living there from harm from this storm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Price Game: What Deal bought Dobranski?

Once the law school became fully accredited, Dean Dobranski was finished with his work, he could retire a well achieved career, with that project as the cherry on top.

Torgo wonders if it's something like this: Dobranski Foundation (note to anyone with full LEXIS access, look up the filings on these corps). As far as Torgo can tell, that foundation is connected to an Anthony Dobranski.

A foundation is the right idea, though, after all, Chris Dobranski needs a job somewhere.

What was the price? Five years on founder's row in Ave Maria town?

Torgo wants you to come up with the pacage you think was offered and accepted in order to make the purchase. Also include the value of unvested portions in the Ann Arbor school you think will be converted as part of the follow-through.

The 25 Story Crucifix was a Ruse

Looking at and through the pictures and pretty depictions, Torgo can't seem to find the Crucifix anywhere in any town plan. Not even the town center, which is

linked here.

Alas, maybe the Crucifix will be a later addition, but it was certainly made part of the Michigan plan, and Thom wasn't going to live without it. Maybe they are afraid that sun beams will be magnified by the glass chapel and burn a hole through the Crucifix, much like Torgo did to ants with a magnifying glass as a child.

Oh wait, what's to stop that from happening to passersby? Oh my.

Turns out the necessity for the 250-foot tall monument was to ensure that Ann Arbor township would say "No". Bad Zoning Board! Now look what you did! Thom has to take all his toys to Florida.

Pot Shot: that new chapel is very Michigan, not Florida

If anyone here has been to Naples, they know that it looks very Italian or at least the designers did well to impart a feeling of European colonization to some degree.

An article by Micahel Rose on written in response to Fr. Fessio, shows two chapels:

(Image from

Which picture looks like it belongs near Naples, Florida?

H.L. Menken, the well worded atheist, had one thing right and wrong about America when he said "No one ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American public," because the cruxnews article reported that some donors balked and withdrew cash after seeing the hydroponic vegetable garden proposed for Our Lord to live in.

Then again, retired people like it warm. Maybe it's an attempt to save on heating bills.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Better add some height to that crucifix

The Arch of Triumph is sought to become the world's tallest monument... Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, they are aiming for 700 feet. (nearly 3 times the height of the crucifix).

At that height, the monument may be visible from Ann Arbor.

Perhaps this is the real reason for the desire to move to Florida after all!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Can anyone else fact check this?

Torgo thinks he may have a mistake to correct here.

Is the 25 story crucifix part of the Ave Maria town plan?

Anybody seen it in public print anywhere?

On a tangent, it is interesting to consider the engineering that would need to go into such a thing that tall in hurricane alley. The crash and slide scenario is enough to make your head spin.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Wanderer: Probing Law School

Apparently advanced online-edition has print date 6 days from now at:

Torgo is a slow reader and will comment later.

Inter-blog Props

Torgo lifts the shovel to hail mention on "Open Book", an Amy Welborn blog.

Of course, Torgo would not have noticed had he not been lurking at Fumare.

Mess is probably correct terminology. It's not a disaster, nor is it a diseased thing yet. Diagnosticians see pathology and then mark clues as to cause. Then, upon seeing similar clues elsewhere, they probe to determine if there is the same cause and if so, what prognosis is, and perhaps to see if there is cure or mitigation.

So, Torgo is not very smart, but Torgo likes to spread all the pieces out on the table and let diagnosticians do their thing. Torgo just asks questions as it happens.

As it stands now, there's a bunch of pieces on the table and just like when one dumps a puzzle box out, it looks like a mess, that's what we have here.

Of course, Torgo dug up a link at AMUGRAD: Gaudentes in Veritate, too.

Devil in the Details.

The devil hides in details.

Check out this quote:
"There are no current plans for law school to move"
From a Detroit News piece dated May 18, 2003. Look in the sidebar under Mr. Monaghan's picture, about the bottom of that column.

Anybody else remember the big pictures in the library right before or right after exams? The big show put on after 5 one day. Did I imagine that? Can you remember what everyone was talking about the next day?

>>"There are budding talks about moving the law school as well," [Monaghan} added.
"It's being discussed; it's something for the (law school's) Board of Governors to hash over."

I guess the Board of Governors needed to be worked over a little, not to mention accreditation set backs if it was planned on being moved.

By the way, I still love this quote, ""I thought we were doing something to complement the community. I don't understand the opposition. In Florida, they welcomed us with open arms."

Whether Michigan was not welcoming is a matter of spin -- no plans for a 25 story Crucifix have been put before the Florida zoning boards yet.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Smell Tests

Torgo smells something.

X is comprised of 12 members.To do anything, more then 6 members must approve. 1 member does not approve of something that a strong member of X would want X to approve.

X ejects the 1 member.

Something smells. X had no need to eject the one member on vote power. There's something else to it.


T grants Blackacre to M contingent on A. T devises Blackacre to F. A happens.

Divine Irony

I don't remember who, and it may well have been H.L. Menken, but someone commented that "Americans don't do irony."

Nevertheless, I find it important to announce that Charles E. Rice is the Notre Dame Professor and member of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors.

Charles T. Rice is the Director of the Collier County Probation Office.

Please make a note of it.

Surely, Torgo isn't the only one who finds some humor in this fact.

Ave Maria, FL is in a Nice Place

As you may or may not know, the town of Ave Maria is near Immokalee and in the Everglades.

We have nice animals here like the Burmese Python, that likes to take on alligators larger than itself. Certainly helps keep the stray cat population down, too.

read more: Huge, Freed Pet Pythons Invade Florida Everglades

(Photograph courtesy South Florida NRC)

Follow-up: Pipe Dream: Ask Questions, Get answers...

Mark Washburn reports on his "Gulf Returns" blog that Ave Maria construction starts .

Good. That's encouraging, actually.

The underlying news article is here at

Among the comments:
Developer Barron Collier Co. of Naples promises the new town of Ave Maria will offer something now rare and valuable in Southwest Florida: housing for low-income workers and young families.

By the fall of 2007, the first homes should be ready for occupancy. At buildout, the town can have 11,000 dwellings.

"A lot of these people are small, kind of entrepreneurial. They have shops, maybe one or two restaurants. They are taking a leap of faith as well," Gable said.

Pulte Homes will be the primary builder for the first three neighborhoods aimed at the luxury, 55-and-older, and young family markets.
Barron Collier itself will develop affordable housing for low-income residents.

Dwellings in Ave Maria will be available at less than $491,000, the median home price in Collier County, he said.

Ave Maria Development itself will develop the more affordable housing, including multifamily as well as houses.

Look at that article, it's really worth your time.

I hope the article truly reflects the actual fervor. Although, the speculation remains as to how well it will pan out.

Follow-up: Pipe Dream

Torgo knew there was a reason for that tautological post below. But AnAMSOLGrad never finished it. Turns out that the facts had not yet all arrived.

The CWN article about the development of ND2TM mentions this:
Originally Monaghan had planned to build Ave Maria University in Michigan. But high land prices, tight zoning regulations, and adverse community sentiments prodded him to look elsewhere.

High land prices? As high as Naples?

To the credit, the development plan included cutting the University in on the deal, as the original press release in CWN notes:
After some negotiations, Barron Collier agreed to donate the land for the new university, and enter into a partnership. Paul Marinelli, the president of the development company, said: It's a truly unique approach to educational and land planning. Developing both academic and community features at the same time allows us to create an environment where living and learning form an integrated whole. The campus will be an intrinsic part of the town, and participating in town life will be an enriching aspect of the university experience.

"After some negotiations"

Barron Collier is in the business of making money. There's nothing wrong with that -- we need money to do things. But let's figure this out a little more.

Half of the land is university; half the land is revenue earning. Developers measure success of development by return on investment. Costs of development are rolled into the price per acre, plus a mark-up. The mark-up is the profit.

So the math is something like this Profit = (sale price) - (cost of purchased land) - (cost of developing including zoning, lobbying, advertising, and actual work and materials) - (incentives and pay-outs for commissions) - (cost of buildings, which may include profits to construction comps and brokers)

Per acre is the better way to do it. Developers carry numbers in their heads of costs per acre for types of developing. They expect to make X dollars per acre in profit. Rumors are that the party line is announcing that 50% of the profit goes to the school. More than likely, that 50% is a mark-up on the original profit.

So, the developer is only getting half the revenue expected because the school acreage generates no cash. So the immediate profit margin is probably doubled on the half of the town that will sell, so the mark-up is twice.

Now, consider that this number needs to be doubled in order to make half for the school. So mark-up is probably 4X what is normal.

That's not bad, but it relies on having customers who want to pay the premium mark up for the value or for the vision.

There are people out there with that kind of cash, but who are they? Are they students? Are they people who make the salaries for staff and faculty of Ave Maria? Or are they most likely retirees?

It is conceivable that people will pay this kind of mark-up in an already inflated real estate market, but it's also conceivable that there will need to be discounting and incentives offered to generate revenue. Disney has been doing this kind of development for years.

Housing Covenants?

Speaking of Disney, has anyone yet considered what kind of housing covenants will run on this land in Ave town? Now, there's some fun speculation. Anybody who has worked in a foundation workplace can attest to the expectations placed on employees to have a certain appearance and circumscribing their speech. Imagine that applied to a neighborhood (this thought is scaring Torgo). No news of such things are floating around nor has Torgo heard any rumors, but patterns are patterns and Torgo suspects at least some parts of town will be covenanted.

The other question is how long does it realistically take to get all of this moving.

developing yet more...

Pipe Dreams of Endowments... (developing)

Someone said that the party line currently promulgates the notion that real estate development of Immokalee will provide for the best endowed school in all the country.

I suppose money is what is most important after all.

However, CNN Money article: The Most Overvalued Housing Markets.
Naples, Fla., came in third at $276,827, 62 percent higher. "Signs are emerging," [the author] wrote in the report released today, "that the five-year boom in house sales and price appreciation may be losing its heat."

Little too late to be looking for high profits.

Thom thinks a $10,000 is an appropriate amount for a student wardrobe. So I can't begin to imagine what he thinks affordable housing prices at.

Chesterton wrote in The Outline of Sanity:
The remedy in the economic and social sphere is a reversal of that centralization which eliminates private property in any meaningful sense, and thus eliminates real freedom. The Church – and so too, Chesterton, as Her loyal son – has always maintained that political and social freedom without economic freedom is a cruel illusion. Human freedoms granted in man-made Constitutions by the stroke of a pen can be revoked by a similar stroke of the pen. Political freedoms can be extinguished by political repression, albeit justified; more commonly they are extinguished by ensuring that universal suffrage is about as useful as Confederate bank notes. Economic freedom in the modern world is simply the right to compete with others for a job which provides wages; it is an illusion which can be quickly shattered by the shedding of jobs, corporate restructuring, or budget cuts.

In contrast, the man who owns not merely his mortgage paperwork, but his own house and land, who grows his own food, who draws water from his own well, is not so easily treated in such a cavalier fashion. He is always the free man, the man who chooses what, where, when and how – choices that are frequently less open, if at all, to his wage-earning counterpart who is a slave in all but name. Living among other free men with the same freedom, independence and self-sufficiency, he is confronted with a social fabric that by its very nature demands that he use his freedom with a clear understanding of the needs and rights of his neighbor.

I wonder if Thom's houses will be priced so this goal is achievable.

I wonder if he ever read the first paragraph of that quote, or uses it for leverage.


Theme Song and Video (!)

Theme song


I suppose that is enough fun for the day

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

First one over the side

Today, from the office of Dean Dobranski:

"It is with sadness and regret that I announce that the Associate Dean of External Affairs, Michael Kenney, will be leaving Ave Maria School of Law at the end of December.
"He will be assuming a new position as the Director of Planned Giving in the Development Office of the University of Notre Dame.
"Dean Kenney has been with the law school from the beginning and has been the person most responsible for the recruitment of our outstanding group of students. He will be sorely missed, but I know all will join me in wishing him well in he new undertaking."

Surely, the PR machine will give us a reason as to how this is purely coincidental. Maybe it is. Torgo waits...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Untangling Annotations of a Tautological Yarn

[TORGO found this post laying around in the archives as he has been cleaning up around here... a henchman's work is never done....]

Greetings Readers,

I'd like to direct your attention to this article: Disputes Among Friends. It appeared in the August edition of the Catholic World News. That publication lists Fr. Fessio on its masthead (note the article mentions "CWR asked Father Fessio—who is the publisher of this magazine, as well as chancellor of the new university—to comment on the these disputes.").

Well, I admire any plan to make Notre Dame's New Rival, however, the internal integrity of a Catholic institution ought to match the words it holds out to the public lest it be seen as a whited sepulchre. After all, you will know them by their fruit. cf. Matthew 7:16, 20 ("Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.") compare Proverbs 1:31 ("Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and shall be filled with their own devices.") (I'll leave the last part of this Biblical symbol for the reader to find in Micheas). So far, the fruits have been ravaged lives, the feelings of broken promise, and a bunch of hen clucking. This site is no exception to the hen clucking, but hopes to make some sense of the situation that people may see why Ave Maria Law School has had such strikingly different results (read: fruit). see Ecclesiastes 8:7 ("Because he is ignorant of things past, and things to come he cannot know by any messenger."). There are inconsistencies in the stories we've read and I've pointed out to you, kind reader, in previous posts. This article intends to compare those inconsistencies with comments in the article above.

The article starts a premise:
But when the Ann Arbor township where Domino’s Farms are located refused a request to change the zoning to permit an educational institution, he looked for alternatives, and eventually settled on the new site in Florida, where Ave Maria University is part of a larger plan to develop an entire new town: Ave Maria, Florida.
That premise somewhat agrees with an earlier post you read here on this blog. It's peculiar to see it repeated again in this type of interview, however. That is, until you read the next thought.
During its early days of operation, the critics of Ave Maria University came almost exclusively from secularists or “progressive” Catholics, who were uncomfortable with the prospect of an orthodox Catholic intellectual powerhouse.

Hello? Tacit admission? What were the several years earlier in Ypsilanti, Michigan? No wonder the people in Michigan feel like disposable latex gloves -- even the contributions, personal sacrifices, and energy they spent towards the "original recipe" (you heard it here first) Notre Dame Rival are forgotten. Nice.

First, some faculty and staff members at Ave Maria College in Michigan objected vehemently to plans for the move to Florida, charging that the administration of Ave Maria University was acting unethically—if not illegally—in winding down operations at the Michigan campus.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Thom Monaghan Fires Warning Shot across the Bow...

Indeed, Thom wants to make everyone know that he intends to flex his termination clauses in the Ave contracts.

By Paul Likoudis
(print date September 29, 2005)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - When the Board of Governors of the Ave Maria School of Law meets this week, one of the major issues on the table is the reappointment of the longtime board member Dr. Charles E. Rice.

As this issue of The Wanderer goes to press, rumors are swirling around Ann Arbor that Dr. Rice will not be reappointed - rumors that the law school dean, Dr. Bernard Dobranski, says "are not accurate."

From Lynchburg, Va., where he was on his way to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars meeting in Charlotte, N.C., Dr. Dobranski told The Wanderer in a telephone interview that he does not know what recommendation the nominating committee of the board will make with regard to reappointing Dr. Rice, adding: "why the confidential deliberations of the board are even being discussed is very strange to me."

"I simply do not know what will happen, " he reiterated, concerning Rice's appointment.

But others at the law school, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week - as well as its full accreditation in early August by the American Bar Association in the shortest time frame possible - say the board intends to drop Rice, who has opposed the law school's founder, Thomas Monaghan, by voicing opposition to his plan to move the school to Florida, where it would join Ave Maria University.

Monaghan was in Rome and unavailable for comment: Rice declined to speak to The Wanderer.

Dr. Rice, professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, is a visiting professor at Ave Maria and an original member since the Board of Governors' inception. At the meeting of the nominating committee of the board, Rice was not renominated to his position.

The type of controversy that has dogged Ave Maria College and Monaghan's actions now threatens to engulf Ave Maria School of Law in similar chaos.

Dropping Rice from the board, however it occurs - either by imposing term limits for all board members or by some other means - would be, say sources in Ann Arbor, a public relations disaster for the school.

As one source said: "Charlie Rice is an icon in conservative Catholic circles. His bona fides go back 40 years, and dropping him would send up a lot of red flags for that community."

Rice as a member of the board is opposed to the move to Florida, a position shared by many of the faculty.

In fact, Ave Maria School of Law's origins go back to Rice's vision. For nearly 40 years, Rice has been teaching his students at Notre Dame that the American legal system, the teaching of law in American law schools, and contemporary legal practice were in crisis, and that Catholics in the legal profession have a moral obligation to change the culture. Indeed, eight of the 25 members of an extraordinary faculty are Notre Dame graduates, several of whom graduated first in their law school class.

"So removing Charlie is really a drastic move. It makes no sense," said this source.

Members of the Ave Maria Board of Governors are:
[see list here but note that as of this posting, Charlie Rice still appears]

Most, if not all of the members, are expected in Ann Arbor this week for the school's fifth anniversary celebrations. How they will react to Rice's rumored removal is yet to be seen.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

RSS Feed Link now Operating

go here:


We're Back!

Due to popular pressure, and due to the CIA broadcasts detected on my fillings of late, pheonix has risen and will be adding content again.

PLEASE NOTE: the email has changed. seems the old one became the target of a mail server from somewhere.