Saturday, November 29, 2003

Contracting to use religious law

I know Ben's been reading about this a bit; Eugene Volokh has a post about it here.

Friday, November 28, 2003

This plaintiff shouldn't be complaining. (How Appealing)
I think it's way cool the President took a secret trip to Iraq, political move or not. Better that kind of political move than this kind.
Japanese-Americans try a takings case in the Federal Circuit. They've moved a bit beyond the six year statute of limitations. In their defense, I think the statute of limitations should've started when Richard Epstein wrote this. They'd still be tardy, though. (How Appealing)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

You know how I said no one cares about the judicial nominee stuff? Here's proof - even Jeopardy contestants don't know (or care).
Democrats' Ads Show Personal Side - Washington Post


In Gephardt's ad, which features old pictures of him with his son, the lawmaker says: "Thirty-one years ago, our 2-year-old, Matt, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Our health insurance paid for experimental treatments that saved Matt's life. But in the hospital, we met a lot of parents who didn't have insurance. I'll never forget the terror in their eyes." The campaign has tested the phrase "terror in their eyes" before focus groups.

It's always good to use a focus group to best capitalize on people's fears. Meanwhile, you cashed in on your child's illness. You're two for two, Dick!
Kucinich's appeal attracts attention: More than 80 women are vying for a date with Dennis - CNN


"'As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady,' said the twice-divorced Kucinich."

Kucinich, 57, added that he wants a dynamic, outspoken woman who wants world peace, universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy.

Don't we all?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Blogging from the airport: You can read an account of Posner's speech at GMU Law here. (How Appealing)

And, if you're wondering, the airport isn't very busy. I waited 5 minutes for my Potbelly sandwich (they're the best, by the way). I've waited 3 times that long. I guess everyone's leaving tomorrow.
Apparently Gregg Easterbrook's sports column will be back, but at I think this is a good thing. I can only describe his previous comments as weird (I guess anti-semitic is another). I don't think he actually feels that way, and I don't think he'll say anything like that again.
More South Park Republican stuff. I just like the picture.
U.S. economic growth revised up: GDP grew at a blistering 8.2 percent pace in the third quarter, faster than originally thought - CNN

I don't know anything about economics, but all this news seems really good.
Gov.'s Cuts to Hit Poor, Universities - LA Times

...and it's all going to the rich! So they can build larger houses and add a second swimming pool! The bastards!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Speaking of curses, the Seahawks have one brewing. An officiating error also killed their playoff run a few years ago in a game against the Jets. You can only ask for so much in one weekend though, since the Huskies won.
The Red Sox are very popular these days. First Mia Hamm marries Nomar, then A-Rod says he wants to go there, now Curt Schilling says the same. So does DeMarlo Hale. Too bad none of this will help if they don't find that damn piano.
Rumors of a Hagar/Van Halen reunion. The thing is, they were at their best with Roth in terms of manic energy, but they were at their best songwriting-wise with Hagar, and he can actually sing. Roth could fake-sing in the early 80's, but now he's worthless. So I think this is the best combo, as long as Hagar will do the old songs (he previously refused to do anything more than Jump, as I recall).
Mars's die-hard fan: An eroded, delta-like fan feature on Mars suggests water had a lasting presence on the planet -

Personally, I think it looks like Jesus.
Photos of the total solar eclipse. Don't look at them directly.
Democrats' Win in Hong Kong May Hurt Them in Long Run - NY Times

I'm thinking: Kucinich saw the poll numbers in New Hampshire and Iowa, got desperate, and looked for a country in which his views were more appealing.
Saudi TV Comedies. It's the next big import to the US. Imagine "Who Wants to be a Martyr?" I kid. Islamic countries need the occasional joke at their expense; they've been getting off scot free the last year or two.
Camel Crossing Ahead: A New Sahara Highway - NY Times

Good. The traffic where the Sahara met Libya was getting just ridiculous, as the picture in the article illustrates.
The shot-putters in the 2004 Olympics will get a taste of history. Better not break any ruins...can you break a ruin?
Volokh wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court for some really cool people in a right to publicity case. Even cooler, he mentions Michael Crichton's dinosaur. (How Appealing)
Interesting parallels are implicated between (presumably) Dean, McGovern, and even Barry Goldwater in this 1972 WSJ article.
Bush Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey - CNN

The turkey is an enormous GOP donor, no doubt.
Jonah Goldberg doesn't quite buy the whole "South Park's Republican" thing. However, he seems to focus more on the typical viewer's politics than the content of the show. I would agree that all sorts of people watch the show, but I also think there's more to the message then laughing "every time Kenny's killed," which Jonah mentions.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Student Group Lists Professors It Considers Too Politized - Washington Post

Here's a quote:

Many professors see the list as manifesting an intolerance for criticism under the banner of post-Sept. 11 patriotism. They point to the USA Patriot Act and to legislation that has passed the House that could grant the federal government increased monitoring power over university international studies programs that receive federal funding.

So let me get this straight: The professors don't like the list because it manifests "an intolerance for criticism." It seems this intolerance for criticism works both ways, guys.

Remember when I agreed with Instapundit that Ted Rall was a "loathesome human being"? Here's why (check out the comic).

UPDATE: WSJ's on it.
The Washington Post has a great account of the background bargaining for the Medicare bill here.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Alan Dershowitz makes a fool of himself. How do I know? Because even Barry Scheck won't defend him, and he'll defend anybody. (from How Appealing)
You can be sanctioned under FRCP 11 for not heeding opinions the Federal Circuit requires you not to heed. This opinion seems totally wrong to me (and the dissenter). How can it not be "warrented by existing law" to make an argument that's only contradicted by cases that aren't law? And do I make any sense?

Read it here. (from How Appealing)
THE HUSKIES WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 27-19!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE STREAK IS MAINTAINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quote from ESPN: "The Cougars just cannot beat the Huskies."

This just made my year!
Washington Post editorialist Charles Krauthammer, a chess afficionado, has some interesting thoughts on the Kasparov v X3d Fritz match. Of interest to me was his observation that the computer's lack of ego means it will show weakness; in one match, it made a pointless move, signaling it had no good moves to make. Ben knows alot more about chess than I do, but I thought that was interesting. has funny stuff on protesters, Mark Geragos (Michael Jackson's attorney), computer PC-ness, and U of C's controversy over gender-specific bathrooms. Yes, gender-specific bathrooms are controversial.
Illinois overhauls government ethics laws - CNN

The article notes that the reforms were spurred on by former governor Ryan's drivers license scandal, in which people who couldn't get licenses got them illegally from the secretary of state's office. In California, we attempted to solve this problem by simply making it legal. What a simple, elegant solution.
Kerry Moves to Revive His Campaign - On several stops in New Hampshire, he offers a new populist theme in hopes of improving his flagging poll numbers in the Democratic race - LA Times

I think it's weird that a candidate's views can be so malleable that when the old views fail, you just "unveil" new views on everything. It worked for Clinton I guess, but Kerry is no Bill Clinton. In political terms, this is a bad thing.
Gay Couples Follow a Trail North Blazed by Slaves and War Resisters - NY Times

Article or editorial? I can't tell, even after reading it.
Watching Chief Justice Rehnquist on C-Span 2. He just referrenced David Currie for his work (50 U Chi L Rev 466 (1983)) on the least-distinguished Supreme Court justice, Gabriel Duval.

Here's a quote from Currie's article:

Appointed in 1811, Duvall endured until 1835. In constitutional cases he was recorded as having delivered one opinion in twenty-five years, and it can be quoted in full: "DUVALL, Justice, dissented." The occasion was the Dartmouth College case, in which three of his colleagues had written opinions totaling ninety pages to explain that the state had impaired the college's charter; Duvall managed to dispute them all in just three words.
This Forbes article has a rundown of all sorts of cool wifi electronics, like a remote that downloads the tv listings as it sits there.
Elderly cockroaches become doddery with age - New Scientist

The article notes: When the team put the insects on a mini treadmill, adults that had reached the ripe old age of 60 weeks took around half as many steps per second as one-week-old individuals. Many of the old-timers develop a stumbling gait as their front foot catches on their second leg.

The article doesn't note: The cockroaches nonetheless contend they can drive "perfectly fine, damnit" and also grow to have an odd obsession with Country Kitchen Buffet.
Steel shower halts Taipei building - BBC

This building has a history of problems. It's completion will be two years late, a crane fell off of it and killed 4 people, and now stuff falls from it and hits a school.

The article mentions that "the landmark overtakes Kuala Lumpur's 452-metre Petronas towers, previously regarded as the world's tallest building."

I take issue with that, as does this site. The site notes in its way-cool graphic that "Petronas Towers are not included because we do not recognize them as ever being the worlds tallest building."

The Sears Tower is taller. This whole "antennas don't count unless they're useless" (as is the case with Petronas) stuff is stupid. Check out this graphic and see a Petronas/Sears Tower comparison yourself. The Sears Tower is still king in my book.
Georgia on "verge of revolution" - BBC

I assume Jimmy Carter is behind this.

Yes, I know it's that Georgia (now). I stand behind my statement.
Chirac Has a Hearing Aid (at Least, That's the Whisper) - NY Times

Dare I say, see no evil, hear no evil?
From Village Boy to Soldier, Martyr and, Many Say, Saint - NY Times

This is just weird. That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to giving my favorite player, Ichiro, this status.
Bush Ends British Visit With Fish and Chips and Blair - NY Times

Blair and Bush end with "pub lunch." Look at the picture. Stop torturing our teatotaling president!
Rogge reiterates confidence in Greek organizers' preparations - Greek Embassy Press

The fact that the Olympic committee keeps saying this is just more reason for concern. As Barbrady of South Park would say: "Move on folks! Nothing to see here!"

The Apple Cup

Huge game tomorrow for the Washington Huskies, as the Seattle Times notes. Must win, or else live in infamy. Kickoff is at 5:30pm Central.
Doubts Create a Voter Split Over Bush - LA Times

At the bottom of this LA Times article it notes:

"In another measure of the evolving social structure of U.S. politics, those who drink wine with dinner prefer a Democrat over Bush for 2004 by 7 percentage points. Those who drink beer back Bush over a Democrat by 23 percentage points."

So basically you're saying that Democrats are whiners.
David Broder says Republicans are smart.

And let me add what an amazing step foward it was that the New York Times added David Brooks to its editorial staff. Bill Safire is the Al Hunt of his paper no longer.
Lt. Gov. Novoselic? Rocker likes how it sounds - Seattle Times

Krist Novoselic, of throwing his bass up in the air and hitting himself on the head at the MTV video music awards fame, might run for lieutenant governor of my home state of Washington.

Krist is actually an underrated bassist. Then again, so am I (since no one knows of me), so I guess I should show him some support. And guitar tossing injuries are an overlooked area of health care coverage. He could assign Dave Grohl to special task forces and stuff. I can only begin to imagine the great things Krist could do.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Phony Class Action Nabs Alledged Murderer - Overlawyered

"Seattle police tied a suspect to a murder by sending him a solicitation to obtain money in a class action over parking tickets--thus obtaining DNA from saliva on the return envelope."

Now that's what I call slick police work. Ha.

Actually, today I joined my first class action. Yes, that's right folks, today I "opted-in." It's a suit against EB Games for reselling old games as new. You can check out if you're a potential class member here.
Eugene Volokh points out this policy of LA County, forbidding the technical term "master/slave" relating to computer equipment.

I'm no computer expert, but I believe another technical hardware term is "male/female" connections. The fact that male comes first is insulting to me, I must say. But these are petty issues compared to the phrase "black and white," which continues in common use despite its conspicuous exclusion of latino/as, asians, and other cultures.
Japanese court rules women have land rights - Paper Chase

This restriction seemed to only apply to a certain 1906 land deal, but geez, it's about time.
Some Wyoming residents are weary -- in response to the question "What's your address?" -- of having to answer "F-U" - How Appealing

You can see the picture here.


1. It's a bit of a stretch, given the 6 before the "F-U".

2. Nobody lives in Wyoming except Harrison Ford anyway, and Indiana Jones isn't that sensitive.
Divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel reinstates negligence and public nuisance claims against the manufacturers and distributor of the guns used in the Los Angeles-area Jewish Community Center shootings four years ago - How Appealing

When Judges Paez and Thomas put their heads together, they can do anything.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has a few posts about the decision around here.
Even Flow - Pearl Jam Tribute Band

I think I'm going to their concert tonight. It's a little weird to see a cover band of a band that's still very active, but their covers are too good to pass up. You can listen to their spot-on work (particularly the Eddie) here.

UPDATE: Saw them. Look nothing like Pearl Jam. Sound alot like them back in 1991. Fun.
Lest you think me too partisan based upon my posts tonight, let me note that Fox News is a joke, and the Ailes/Murdoc/O'Reilly behavior with these lawsuits make them, Fox News, and by extension, Republicans look like oppressive idiots.

And please don't think we all like Rush. Limbaugh, that is. Now the greatness of Rush the band - that we can agree on.
NRO: A Big Change in the War Over Judges? - There's new evidence the Democrats' strategy is backfiring. By Byron York

I'm still not convinced voters actually care about this, regardless of the numbers cited in the article. Even with Justice Moore, gay marriage cases, pledge, etc. I don't think people think about judges much. It's a lawyer thing. And even if they did, I'm not sure they'd notice the differences between a "Republican" judge vs. a "Democratic" judge in any area other than crim. When Bush says he wants "Strict Constructionists," I think the public's mindset is either "hmm, that has kind of a fascist ring to it, so it must be conservative" or "huh?"

I think the best the Republicans can gain from this judge stuff, in voting terms, is dub the Democrats "strict obstructionists" during election time, which makes them seem petty. People don't like pettiness. Plus, "strict obstructionists" is clever and I came up with it so that's that.

UPDATE: Sen. Feinstein is blocking almost all of Bush's nominees to get a Democrat on the Energy Commission. It's not a permanent block, just a hold, but since the Senate's session is almost over, these nominations would be held over to next term.

Diane Feinstein is one serious politician. She often crosses party lines, but can also be a hard-core partisan if she wants to. I think she has higher ambitions. A senator with higher ambitions, how could that be, you say? I'm just that good.
Excellent David Bernstein op-ed on the Solomon Amendment stuff. Chicago Law hasn't taken this up, and it doesn't look like we will. Maybe it's because Boy Scouts of America v Dale (note the maroonbooking) was in our write-on competition, so everyone's read it, and we have a severe dislike of being hypocritical.

Jonah Goldberg gets to be on the Return of the King DVD.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

NY Times: A Hard Road for Democrats in a Day of No "Soft Money"

The only thing I take away from the article is that campaign finance laws are stupid. This guy surely voted for the BCRA:

"Eliminating soft money is a pretty big hole," Representative Martin Frost, Democrat of Texas, said. "The party is working hard to make up some of that disadvantage, but it can't make it all up."

So basically, I passed a law to make it harder for me to use the old loopholes get money, so now I'm actively searching for new ones.

The stated purpose of the 1970's laws and beyond was to halt the "appearance of corruption." What's more corrupt, a system with no restrictions and full disclosure, or a system in which the rules are subverted and money comes through the back door?
The Big-R Republicanism of South Park

For a while now, South Park keeps inserting conservative/libertarian themes into its shows. This Opinionjournal piece noted it a few weeks ago, but the episode I saw tonight really brought it home for me.

It was a rerun called "Trapper Keeper" that spoofs the 2000 election recount, which was still going on. But it does alot more than that. A snippet from the Kindergarten presidential election:

Mr. Garrison: NO, children! I've recounted 106 times now and I keep coming up with seven to six! Except in the one instance where it came out seven to five, and one where it came out twelve to fourteen. IT'S OVER! IKE IS CLASS PRESIDENT!
Kid #2: Wait, there's still that absent kid.
Fillmore: Yeah. If Carlos is absent, we have to wait for his vote.
Mr. Garrison: Oh, will you grow up?!
Filmore's Supporters: [clamoring] Absent kids count! Absent kids count!
Mr. Garrison: Jesus! Alright, we'll wait for tomorrow so the absent kid can cast his vote! Now go home! [the kids leave]

I think it's fair to say that Trey and Matt (South Park creators) thought Bush had won, and that all the recounting was stupid and redundant at some point.

Here's a later point in the election:

Sally: Wait one minute!
Mr. Garrison: Oh, Jesus Tapdancing Christ!
Sally: I think the ballot were misleading. Some kids didn't understand whom they were voting for.
Mr. Garrison: There's a box next to Filmore's name and a box next to Ike's! What's not to understand?!
Filmore: [pointing at Sally] You're just saying that, 'cause you know you're gonna lose now!
Sally: No, I'm saying that because you are a boogerface!
Filmore: Well, just you wait, 'cause myuh famous aunt is on huh way wight now.
Mr. Garrison: Who's your famous aunt?
Filmore: My aunt Wosie, Wosie O'Donnell
Mr. Garrison: Your aunt Rosie O'Donnell is coming here?
Filmore: Yeah, she's vewy active in politics. So she's gonna set all this straight.
Mr. Garrison: [resigned] Oh no!

Now we've got a spoof on the ballot issues, and a comment on how idiotic celebrities are when they try to wield their powers to fix political problems they don't understand.

Rosie starts to take over:

Rosie O'Donnell: [sits on a chair with Filmore on her lap] Okay, so then what we're going to do is count everybody's vote by hand, and after that, we're gonna go over the votes again manually, and then-
Mr. Garrison: [throws a fit] Oh, STOP IT, STOP STOP IHIHIHIHIT! [the kids and Rosie look at him] Look kids, we're all in this kindergarten class together. We have to respect one another or else we're in for a terrible school year.
Rosie O'Donnell: We're just making sure that the kids that voted for my nephew don't get cheated.
Mr. Garrison: Half the kids in the class didn't vote for your nephew, so what about them? You don't give a crap about them because they're not on your side! People like you preach tolerance and open-mindedness all the time, but when it comes to Middle America, you think we're all evil and stupid country yokels who need your political enlightenment!! WELL, JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE ON TV DOESN'T MEAN YOU KNOW CRAP ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT!!! NOW GET YOUR ASS BACK ON FIRST CLASS AND RESPECT THIS CLASS'S RIGHT TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS!!! [Rosie and the kids gasp] …Oh, sorry I got a little off the subject, kids.
Rosie O'Donnell: How dare you?! I will not be preached at by a country bumpkin! [heads for the door and stands at the entrance] I'm leaving this podunk town, but in my place I'm gonna send more lawyers, statesmen and press than you have ever SEEN! [exits and slams the door shut]
Mr. Garrison: Oh no, children, I think I've just made this a whole lot worse.

The comments on liberal celebrity elitism are straight out of the National Review playbook.

Ok, last one:

Jesse Jackson: Is this the Kindergarten classroom?
Mr. Garrison: Jesse Jackson?
Jesse Jackson: That's right! I believe the African-American in your class were misrepresented!
Mr. Garrison: [covering his face] We don't have any African-Americans in our class!
Jesse Jackson: Oh. Bye. [turns and walks out.]

Enough said.

Now, it's always an iffy proposition to assume the political views of a spoofer. I think anything's game for South Park, including Republicans (Trey and Matt did "That's My Bush," and the funny cartoon in Bowling for Columbine, after all). But there's a definite strain of disgust about the behavior of liberals that you don't see much on TV.
Music advice: Aimee Mann, Magnolia Soundtrack. Not only is she great on her own, but she has the distinction of being the only guest musician in the entire 17 album (and counting) catalog of Rush.
The stock market does better under Democrats than Republicans

The NY Times journalist is skeptical of why this is, but I have a theory: When a Democrat is elected president, rich people take all their money out of their stocks to fund the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

PS This site seems funny.
A quick take on the Massachusetts Gay Marriage stuff

I know everyone's weighed in on this, so I'll make it short. If the Supreme Court of Massachusetts wants to be activist in the name of rights, at least do it with your jurisprudential standards first. Declare that laws discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation are now subject to strict scrutiny. But don't say that's there's no rational basis for a law protecting the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. That's just dishonest.

You can read the decision here. Dennis Teti has an excellent constitutionalist view of the marriage amendment's problems here. And CMC's Matt Spalding, now of the Heritage Foundation (where co-blogger Lauren worked), has some negative comments on the decision here, while Andrew Sullivan has some positive thoughts here (starting at "Equality").

UPDATE: No less than David Brooks has some more positive thoughts on gay marriage (if not the Massachusetts decision) here. John Leo has negative comments here.
More Washington Post: U.S. Scrambles to Rebuild Iraq Army

Just a few months ago, this headline would have seemed so odd.
Washington Post: Anti-HIV Drugs Increase Risk of Heart Attack .

Yes, and not committing suicide increases the chance of violent death. I'm going to stick with life anyway. Call me a risk taker.

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich vetoed the legislature's reforms to the death penalty system in an effort to preserve the moratorium indefinitely. Today the Illinois legislature overrode the veto. 115-0. That change would have passed even under the Articles of Confederation.
You've got to check out Michael Jackson's booking photo. Scroll down to see it. Yikes.
LA Times Article on UCLA, Cal Undergraduate Rejections

The article ponders: Why are people with 1400+ SAT scores getting rejected while people with under 1000 SAT are being accepted?

The article notes that 90% of the high-scoring students rejected were white or asian. But it does sample the exceptions to this rule, such as a Pomona student of Puerto Rican descent with a 1420.

This would seem to be quite a mystery. But it's not. The LA Times answered its own question in an article last month entitled "Overall, Race No Factor for Low-Scoring UC Applicants," which actually said exactly the opposite. (no longer free to read, but the Claremont Institute has a bunch of quotes from it here).

Here's a quote:

UC Berkeley, the original focus of the admissions debate, admitted low-scoring blacks and Latinos at twice the rate of Asians and whites with similar scores.

The definition of "low-scoring" was "applicants with scores of 1000 or below." I'm not writing here to say it's bad or unfair that some students are being admitted with low scores. In my opinion, so long as a student comes from an economically disadvantaged family, and yet shows signs of becoming a great student, Berkeley should admit them regardless of their SAT score. But the LA Times shouldn't hide the ball on what's going on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Onion hit on a glaring area of media bias that's been ignored for far too long - local sports. Take a look.
"[W]e cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found."

So sayeth Bush...
Tyler Cowen of Volokh has an interesting post on the ideal "conservative dinner party," based on on a poll done by Jesus is the top choice. But Ronald Reagan is a close second. I think that's funny.
Googlerace: Pick any word or phrase, and it ranks the presidential candidates based upon it. Al Sharpton seems to come up first alot in my searches. Funny, I always thought of him as a man of few words.
Harold Meyerson's op-ed in the Washington Post argues that the whole presidential race boils down to whoever wins Ohio. People from other countries must be amazed that New Hampshire gets to pick who runs for president, and Ohio gets to pick who wins.
Lotteried in to a dinner with Professor Hamburger, author of Separation of Church and State, tonight. Professor Hamburger is not to be confused with The Hamburglar.
An interesting article on the political ramifications of the Massachusetts decision:

"Once it becomes apparent (and it will) that a judicial decision in a single and notably liberal state threatens to sweep all of those laws aside and impose gay marriage on an unwilling nation, all hell is going to break loose."

Or all hell isn't going to break lose. For what it's worth (not much, I realize), I think Kurtz is underestimating people's political apathy. Plus, I think liberals are on the winning side of the rhetoric war here. It seems hard to oppose gay marriage without sounding like a bigot. Or at least without being labeled a bigot. Or perhaps I've underestimated how much people care about the marriage issue, especially in the south... Thoughts from the universe of readers (Tom) or co-bloggers (Brian)?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Michael Kamen, who led the San Francisco Symphony, died yesterday at 55. He was a pioneer in combining classical music and rock. You can watch him behind the scenes on this DVD - he was a pretty rock & roll type of guy himself. Too bad.
Lowry v. Franken: This is great. National Review should make conservative/liberal book reviews a regular feature.
Washington Post Article on Scaila and Racial Preferences

I thought this was interesting: The Washington Post describes Scalia's dissent from denial of cert in a racial preferences for minority businesses case this way:

Scalia's written objection broke the customary silence that surrounds the court's choices about which cases to hear.

A reader could infer from this that Scalia is breaking the mold, and thus has some kind of agenda, is radical, etc.

Too bad the Post is just plain wrong. That same day, Justice Breyer wrote a dissent from denial of cert. Justice Stevens wrote a defense of denial that day too. I see stuff like this all the time.

Basically, Scalia broke a "customary silence" that doesn't exist. C'mon Post, get your act together.
Incarcerated oppressed Wiccan criminals of the world rejoice! Judge Easterbrook is behind you.
The whistle language of the Canary Islands is making a comeback. Given how long it takes to say "go get a castanet," (a minute) I can see why it almost died.
Heading out to buy Mario Kart. That's one off the list.
For trademarks class we're reading a case called "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v Doughney," where the defendant registered the domain name "" and used it for his "parody" site, entitled "People Eating Tasty Animals". Anyway, he lost the site to PETA, but transferred the contents here:

Pretty boring site, but I think the email section is quite funny:

And don't miss this email in particular for a strong statement of moral relativism:

- Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2003

So I was watching Twilight Zone today, and an episode was on with Dennis Hopper as an American Nazi. It's an hour long episode, actually -- not sure how many TZs are. This is the quote played at the end -- imagine it in Rod Serling's voice and it's much cooler:

[Shadow of Hitler walking through a city street]

Rod Serling: Where will he go next, this phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare? Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Vincenz, Indiana; Syracuse, New York; anyplace; everyplace where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry. He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember that when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault, on a people or any human being. He’s alive because through these things we keep him alive.
One more funny thing about amendments: the Constitution sets out the form for its own amendment. But so did the Articles of Confederation, which required unanimous consent for any alteration (Art. XIII). Thus, one would naturally assume that to adopt the Constitution, unanimous consent would've been necessary.

But that's not what happened. The Constitution set out its own mode of ratification (Art. VII). The weird thing is, the Constitution wasn't law when it set this out - the Articles governed the nation until, at the latest, March of 1789 (see Owings v. Speed (1820)), or at the earliest, June 21, 1788, when the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified.

How can a document that's not law create its own method of enactment, when governing law has a conflicting method? The bottom line: Art. V's state convention requirements don't mean much. Once you have a runaway convention, they make their own rules. Given the nation we got out of it, I'm not complaining.

Arnold's the governor for real. Just in time for the holidays. Jingle all the way!

UPDATE: This whole Arnold thing got me thinking about his inability to run for president because of Art. II, Sec. 1. The governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, faces the same problem (she's Canadian). I know George Will thinks this is too bad. The Federalist Papers are silent on this clause, I believe. Maybe the "foreign invader" theory is outdated.

However, the fear with any amendment is the "runaway convention." Remember, the Constituion can be amended without Congress' consent - 2/3rds of the states legislatures can form a convention, and if 3/4ths of the states like the amendments proposed, they become law (Article V). If you think this prospect fanciful, read this book by CMC Professor Ralph Rossum. Fear of a runaway constitutional convention hastened the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment by Congress. This was a damage-control measure. For more amendment theory, read this book by Sandy Levinson.
I finished my comment. And look, I'm done an hour earlier than yesterday!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Seahawks win 35-14. They're now 7-3. That's right, we're a sports news site too. ESPN, watch out.
Sun-Times Book Review: Thomas Jefferson, Shameless Slavemaster.

Sun-Times book review of Garry Willis' work on Jefferson, by Steven Lyons. I don't like it.

The article starts by stating that: "Anyone who has read the recent revisionist histories of America's "founding fathers" will discover that the men most associated with the establishment of our nation were unabashed slaveowners: George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Monroe and Henry Clay, to name just a few. According to historian Garry Wills, even John Quincy Adams, an avid abolitionist in his post-presidential years, found a rationale of utility in the wicked trade: 'Slavery in the moral sense is an evil; but as connected with commerce, it has important uses.'"

It's "revisionist" to note that some of the Founders were slaveholders? Who didn't know this? Oh, and Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and John Quincy Adams are not even arguably "founding fathers." They came from an entirely different generation, each became a Democrat, and all were more state's-rights oriented and less concerned with the evils of slavery than their predecessors. Bunching these people together is misleading, because in arguing that the "men most associated with the establishment of our nation" were all slaveholders, Lyons is forced to omit figures like John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, who practiced what they preached.

I guess this is the part that most drives me nuts: "after reading his devastating account of Jefferson's unscrupulous defense of slavery, it is hard to imagine what is left to admire."

I can name a few things. The Virginia Statute of Religous Freedom. The Louisiana Purchase. Oh, and that little document called the Declaration of Independence. I think that one is pretty good. Dare I say, admirable?

Now I'm not a Jefferson person myself. I find his regenerative constitutionalism pretty silly. He, more than his neighbor Madison, perpetuated a regime he hated in principle, making him hypocritical. But I think his legacy is better than, say, Gray Davis'. But a reader wouldn't know it if they were reading the major papers in Chicago or LA lately.
Oh yeah, well, I'm up too.
I'm posting only to document that I'm up at this hour. Oh, the things I do for my journal. Or am I doing this for me? I can't remember anymore.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The Sonics, and, yes, Ronald "Flip" Murray, are kicking butt.
I think Dowd ascribes to the "Michael Moore school" of fact-checking. If anyone hasn't seen Bowling for Columbine, his central thesis is that the media culture, as imposed on suburban white kids, is the reason for America's extrodinarly high rate of gun deaths compared to other industrialized nations. His main proof for this was an interview with one old prosecutor who says that's what he thinks the problem is.

Just by looking at one site, you can see this is just a plain old lie. From an email I sent to Ben last year:

Here’s some useful data:

Percent of total deaths by assault (homicide):

White: .4%

Black: 2.8%

Almost ten times more white people died than black people in 2000 (2,071,287 white vs. 285,826 black), yet, get this, blacks and whites had almost the exact same aggregate amount of deaths due to assault (8,339 white vs. 7,867 black). That’s huge, and I bet the vast majority were by guns. In fact:

Gun homicide is the leading cause of death for black males aged 15 to 34.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics Reports. Vol. 47 (19), June 30, 1999.

That’s just a remarkable statement if you ask me. For white males of that age group, homicide of any type, let alone guns, isn’t even close to the top. Accidents (usually car), suicide, and cancer make up close to 70% of deaths, while homicide makes up less than 5%. Almost 50% are just from accidents. If you’re a black male between 15 and 34, you are more likely to be murdered by a gun than you are to die in an accident. That’s unbelievable!

To me, this means there is an extraordinary gun crime problem in black neighborhoods. I know, I know, that’s not news, but I didn’t realize it was this bad. If I was black, I’d feel totally ignored by the government, because it’s insane this isn’t being treated as a crisis.

It also shows how misleading Bowling for Columbine is. He glosses over the black gun problem by interviewing a prosecutor who says the problem is the suburbs more than the black communities. Give me a break. Basically, black gun death is the problem. Our numbers are only a little higher than other developed countries if black gun homicide is removed. Bowling for Columbine gives us some reasons why we still have that “little higher” rate. But the main problem is clear. I think the fact that Bowling for Columbine focuses on minor aspects of the problem is actually dangerous. We’ve got to recognize where the problem is.

As usual Dowd is saying stupid stuff, my favorite line being "[Dr. X] wants the myths about organ donation to be dispelled, so that people in emergency rooms will no longer worry that doctors will cut them loose if they've signed donor cards. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he says." And such ends the attempt at dissipating the myth. That's some hard-hitting journalism.
Ok, so we've established the Greeks don't like the Turks. But they like jews. Except for the Zorba guy - he's openly anti-semitic. Not Gregg Easterbrook junior grade accidental kind, full on. Got it?
This is Nintendo's last hope.
Note: this is Fleshbot, not Pimpbot.
USC: Where spoiled children come to play video games. And get credit for it.
Knowing international constitutional law, they'll probably make this a "fundamental right," along with the 143,000 others. At least Robert Bork agrees with me.

UPDATE: Wifi and Guiness, my two loves.
The last time Roger Ebert gave out less than a 3/4 star review? 16 reviews ago. Can you name 15 movies worth seeing that were released this month?

UPDATE: You should see Master & Commander though. Even Randy Barnett thinks so.
CNN's breaking news is that the Democrat Kathleen Babineaux won the governorship in Louisiana. They're saying it's special because she's a woman. But there's lots of women in government, and state government in particular. My home state of Washington has two female senators, a majority-female supreme court, and possibly a female governor soon.

Let's put it this way: it's more special that Bobby Jindal, the Republican, is Indian (not the "we took your land" kind, the "British took our land" kind). I can't name a single other Indian person in government, except in India. I hear it's more common there.
So the other day on Star Trek: TNG, Riker made a deal with some alien by offering "one-half gram of Anjoran biometic gel." If one-half gram of something is extremely valuable, what could be in it? Any regular readers of this site know, or care to guess?
Of all the ungodly vomit in the world -- they've bastardized my one true love. But not to worry -- my brother says there's no distributor so it's straight to video. And not a moment too soon, if you ask me. You didn't, I realize.
My college football team, the Washington Huskies, lost to Cal today 54-7. It's like they didn't even try. If they don't beat the Cougars next week, they'll break their 26 year streak without a losing season. Only Nebraska and Michigan have longer streaks. Of course, last year the unranked Huskies also needed to beat the No. 3 Cougars to keep their streak, and this happened.
The LA Times seems to think Gray Davis' legacy will be more than budget problems and the recall; it will include "laws on health care and gay rights, Indian gaming and limits on auto emissions." Only the LA Times could think this.

UPDATE: Maybe his legacy will be these folks.
I've added a commenting feature to the blog on a trial-run basis. Pretty much everything here is on a trial-run, actually. I'll get rid of it if some of our many readers start to get nasty. No First Amendment here, folks. Think Salt Lake City.
Welcome Lauren, my newest (and most beloved) blogger. Sorry Ben. Her specialties are: Economics, Health Care, and Greek cooking. Not necessarily in that order.
Goonies 2 coming. Never saw the first one, but everyone I know did.
Flip Murray. Remember the name.
Disney eventually hooks everybody.
First American Idol, now World Idol. Think won't be as interesting as it sounds, because bad pop around the world is about the same. What would be cool is if Kelly Clarkson had to face monk chants and Swahili clicking and stuff.
New bankruptcy stuff from Douglas I'll never understand. Sounds like some priority stuff that Ben might have learned by now from Secured Transactions. We're in a reified system, you know. Yeah, that's right, I was in that class. For one day.
BCRA decision could be coming as soon as this Monday. Seems to quick for me, but what do I know? Not much. But I do have a prediction: Mostly a victory for BCRA. Only Kennedy, Thomas, and Scalia will dissent to most parts. Everyone will get rid of the contribution restrictions for minors. 6-3 on soft money questions. Kennedy will at least dissent to the "electioneering communications" definition, but probably the whole ad-restriction regime too. Everyone will uphold the disclosure stuff. Opinion might be a bit of a mess due to all of the different issues to cover. Place your bets everyone.
Scalia issues the first opinion of the Supreme Court term. The girls usually get to go first at the Supreme Court, or so the theory goes.

Anyway, it was written by Jake's Luttig-Scalia precursor, who worked in a hypo concerning a party that might lead to "underage drinking or sexual activity." Nice touch.

Volokh guys are discussing appellate procedure (the stare decisis effect of panel decisions on later panels, to be exact), but a more in-depth discussion of this same question ocurred at How Appealing a few months ago relating to this Fourth Circuit decision involving some people jet skiing over a dam (the Robert C. Byrd dam to be exact, named after you-know-who. I bet he logrolled the appropriations for the dam too) because of improper signage. The case was just granted rehearing en banc, so they'll be more discussion to come.
Judge Kozinski jumps on the Commerce Clause bandwagon. This seems to fall right in line with the Lopez decision, which also involved guns. What does the private possession of a machine gun have to do with interstate commerce? Nothin', unless the good people of Vancouver, Washington are shooting people from Portland, Oregon. Which is understandable, if you've ever met someone from Oregon (Judge O'Scannlain excepted, of course, if he's reading this site like millions of others). Vancouver, WA happens to be the third fastest growing metropolis in the country, by the way. Portland isn't.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Instapundit is right, Ted Rall really is a "loathesome human being." Read here. Just loathesome enough to win the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism from CUNY, in fact.

For all of the many children reading this blog, let me define "social justice" for you, because it's not intuitive. Social justice means believing in everything Ted Kennedy says. Not doing was he does, mind you, just believing everything he says.
Rejoice! How Appealing is back.

UPDATE: And Howard's getting big. Great article. I've actually been a reference for a few of his posts, like here, where I was the source for the wrong and the right answer (basically because no one else cared), so I can modestly say that I'm the reason for his success.
The power of blogs: Now even the New York Times gets its news from them.
Welcome to Ben, the newest member of this blog. He'll add alot of good stuff here. For example, his first post consisted of "Booger" over and over again. Always topical. I deleted it.
Protesting and Cheerleaders put together. All they need is Carrot Top, and they'll have integrated the three most annoying things in the world.
The Wall Street Journal backs Doris Roberts for President.
If nothing else, the State Farm decision will take care of this one.
Chicago Law Extracurriculars

My Trademarks professor was in the news, but not for law or economics. From a Times Union article on expensive suits (courtesy of Ben):

Many consumers simply don't know about master tailors, who from a bolt of cloth can cut the fabric and hand-stitch a suit to the precise measurements of its purchaser. But it might not matter if they did. No matter how well made or good-looking it is, who ever heard of a Der Torossian? A Mazza?

After all, the same money can buy an Armani. William Landes, a University of Chicago law professor who wears only Armani suits, says: ''You get a certain amount of pleasure from knowing you are wearing such an expensive and distinctive suit.''

Also in the news: Tom Levinson, who sits behind me in Trademarks. Read his book.

UPDATE: I don't know what much of this means, but I do understand this part:

Daniel R. Fischel, our Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer: $10.0 million non-compete payment;

Daniel R. Fischel is this fellow. On his CV it says Nextera is "consulting experience." You'll see this kind of thing on a lot of law professors' resumes. I don't think they all pull in 10 mil on a given day though. Now that's what I call law and economics!
Oh, the silliness of political correctness. Even U of C's a victim now.
Things I want: I've currently got quite a stockpile. For Gamecube, I want Prince of Persia, SSX3, and Mario Kart. For PC, I want Call of Duty and Max Payne 2. For DVD, I want Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Two Towers Box Set, as well as Pearl Jam, Tenacious D, and Coldplay's live sets. I need this for my MIDI keyboard. I need a bed, but that's in the works. And of course, I always want this.

UPDATE: How could I forget my bass? It's shoulder strap can't attach because the screw to hook it on fell out, the plug has a short that makes horrible noises, and the humbucker switch fell into the body. How rock n' roll is that? Still, it's not rock n' roll to break entirely, so it needs fixing (note this is NOT replacing, blasphemer!). My other instruments are fine though, thanks for asking.
State Constitutions can be so stupid. Learn more about them in this book.
I really hope this happens. The article talks about Barbara Boxer's weak hold on her Senate seat, which is up in 2004. It mentions David Dreier as the best candidate to unseat Boxer. A CMC'er in the Senate, and Boxer out! Too much to ask for!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Music advice: Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Think Sheryl Crow (when she was good) with a splash of country.
LA vs. the weather, round two.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The Senate's 30 hour talk-a-thon has begun. Just watched Barbara Boxer rant about Ninth Circuit nominee Carolyn Kuhl. Boxer was horrified that Kuhl, as a LA Superior Court judge, denied recovery to a breast cancer victim in a privacy claim. Boxer's argument was that, given Kuhl is a woman, it is appalling for her to be so insensitive. Apparently, if you're a woman, you shouldn't rule against other women, especially if they have breast cancer (a disease that, while terrible, had nothing to do with the merits of the plaintiff's privacy claim). This is the same argument Maureen Dowd made against Justice Thomas: How can a black man rule against blacks in affirmative action cases? Doesn't he realize that his skin color requires him to think a certain way?

You can watch more of the Senate's action here. If you're interested in more background information on Judge Kuhl's privacy decision (amongst other Kuhl info), look at Chicago Law alum, Chapman University law professor, active Claremont Institute scholar, and, whatdoyaknow, former Justice Thomas clerk John Eastman's defense here.
Hello. I've created this blog to satiate my urge to endlessly email people with things I find on the internet. We'll see if it works.

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