Monday, January 31, 2005

RTFA (Score:5, Funny)
by de1orean (851146) Alter Relationship on Monday January 31, @03:54PM (#11532063)
hmmm. maybe now "RTFA" can mean "read the first amendment"?

despite its inherent lack of profanity, i like it.
[ Reply to This ]

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Anthony Rickey writes about B sides. I can't remember where this was, but.. oh it was Nick! my crackhead ex roommate. Had a bunch of beatles B-sides I'd never heard before. You grow up hearing the beatles over and over till you think you've heard it all, and then there's new stuff you haven't heard...
Here's a sample.
(there are reasons these are b-sides. nobody's saying this stuff is great, just that it's not so overplayed.)

I'm Down (Lennon/McCartney)
You telling lies thinking I can't see
You don't cry 'cos you're laughing at me
I'm down (I'm really down)
I'm down (Down on the ground)
I'm down (I'm really down)
How can you laugh when you know I'm down
(How can you laugh) When you know I'm down.

Man buys ring woman throws it away
Same damn thing happens everyday
I'm down (I'm really down)
I'm down (Down on the ground)
I'm down (I'm really down)
How can you laugh when you know I'm down
(How can you laugh) When you know I'm down.

We're all alone and there's nobody else
You still moan: "Keep your hands to yourself!"
I'm down (I'm really down)
I'm down (Down on the ground)
I'm down (I'm really down)
How can you laugh when you know I'm down
(How can you laugh) When you know I'm down.

Don't you know that I'm down (I'm really down)
Don't you know that I'm down (I'm really down)
Down on the ground (I'm really down)
Don't you know that I'm down (I'm really down)
Down, down, down.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Embry-Riddle department:
volokh.com puzzle:
What common food item is composed of two words, each the name of a very prominent University?

all i have so far is rice and colby.
ah, i was close.

North Carolina, feds, steal bill of rights. via howard.

article on population demographics and public policy.
higlight: more kids are being named Osama than George or Dick.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

What I'm reading book 4 -
The Kennedys. David Horowitz. 1984. Simon and Schuster. I think I have him confused with somebody else, a neoconservative. So far it's the usual, about patrick joseph and joseph patrick kennedy. Yes, that's the guy. Knowing who the author is will change my perception of the book.
Amazon link.
See also:From Notebook to Bookshelf: Four Pamphlets on Writing, Publishing, & Marketing
by David D. Horowitz. From Amazon, it looks like Horowitz has written about 100 books, yikes.

Will Baude wonders when is the draft involuntary servitude, what is treason.
I wonder if Akhil Amir (oh, akhil ~ achilles, i never caught that before) is actually smarter than Baude. In my experience, law professors are smart, and Yale gets the cream of the crop, and what I've read of Amir I've liked, but we're dealing with a schroedinger's grades issue.
When I first ran into Baude online I thought, aha, here's a smart guy like me. Then it dawned on me, much later, that he may be far smarter, like Volokh-level smart.
So far I haven't been able to run controlled experiments over coffee and chess.
Anyway, Baude's blogging about book 6, while I'm just starting book 4,and in his spare time he attends Yale. Anyway, I'm off to have coffee with a guy who actually read my blog, and knows some people I know, so that might be fun. [later update - it went nicely nicely.]
when does mandatory public schooling become involuntary servitude?

South Park miniepisodes.

The name of the person in denver whose right to a fuck bush bumper sticker was upheld was "shasta bates."

I notice my current google ads point to drugwarrant. This is -not- a plug for anyone to click on that link. It's a comment that i'm happy the ads add to the content of my site instead of detracting from it. Yay google. I had been familiar with the dug war rant site for awhile before i caught the pun in their name.
Edit: click here http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/
to go to drug war rant without google charging them.

Howard reports this unusual story.
A st louis school board member and frequent candidate suffering from depression has posted suicidal thoughts on his blog.
Interesting to read about someone more messed up than I am.
He's working at walmart and is an adjunct professor. I've thought about applying to be an adjunct professor and at walmart, but just never got around to it.
I've run for a missouri school board, cope with depression, loneliness and money troubles. I am not suicidal, far from it. I want to live forever and get really ticked off when certain people keep trying to kill me. My heart goes out to the guy. I wonder if he has comments on his blog.

he does:
gt said...
Hi Bill. By all means get a tip jar (an online donation thingy. get back to me if you need to learn how. www.e-gold.com is useful in addition to paypal. but i digress) since you've been farked at linked at how appealing. for those of us with depression, blogging is therapeutic. i found "the artist's way" helpful.
hey i hope as i look as good as you do at 60.
i mentioned you at my blog vark.blogspot.com, not that i have any readers. we have a lot in common. i've run for a missouri school board, been a perpetual candidate, am alone broke and worried. running out of money isn't the end of the world. much of the world lives on less than $1000 a year. if you run out of rent money, i have a shack you can stay in - then you'd really be depressed. but it's an option, and you want to expand your options, to avoid a sense of helplessless and expand your sense of freedom.
a guy's who not afraid of death can be fearless and can try anything. that gives you power most people dont have. if you don't mind a cynical joke, my friend vern used to say "don't kill yourself. kill other people." feel free to drop me a line anytime, or not.
- the arbitrary aardvark

10:24 AM

Article on the torture memo and the gonzales hearings, via howard, cleared up some of my confusion on the issue. It's jonathan schell in "the nation" which probably indicates a slant in a certain direction, but I found it informative.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Here is a book
by Kerry Kennedy Cuomo. You can read the first chapter or so online at amazon.
She profiles 50 humans rights activists around the world.
The link I pointed to is about an economics professor in bangladesh who started a bank to lend small amounts of money to women. It now has 2.4 million customers.
This is what I meant about being opposed to tsumani donations - I'd rather see people invest in this bank, have the bank invest in real people who will use the money wisely, and pay off the loan, and put the money back in action.
I found it by accident - I'd been researching Cuomo's messy divorce, which is affecting the New York Attoreny General's race.
Cuomo's father, RFK, wrote a book I liked, the enemy within, about unions and the mob.
The Kennedies are a mixed bag.
Finding her book was the closest I came to doing anything useful today.
more here, which i havent read yet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

which intentional tort ae you? i was trespass to land.
actually that would be just trespass, as the default. trespass to chattel is less common. i got a nice giggle out of this quiz.
but intentional torts are where the action is. that is, where the action should be.
criminal law does little for the criminal or the victim or society.
negligence suits are eaten up in transaction costs. strict product liablity is too often an unjust game of soak the rich.
but intentional torts, that's where it's at. spammed? sue em, if you can do so without violating their rights to free speech and commerce. playground bully took your kid's lunch money? sue em! several intentional torts there. few tortfeasors are so judgment prproof that a sheriff's sale won't turn up something of interest - many tortfeasors ahvhave an old pick up truck out back. boilerplate intentional tort pleadings, default judgments as often as not, and skills recovery consulants, and there ya go.
justice! profit!
not that it's worked for me.
even when i win, i lose, one way or the other.
still, i remain convinced.
circumcised without informed consent? sue! intentional tort.
searched when going into the city hall? sue! intentional tort.
asked for a social security number without a privacy act statement when filling out the form to not have to be searched when going into city hall? sue! this one still falls into the intentional category. amd it's a statutory rather than common law tort, but still.
a lawyer's ability to quickly and efficiently bring and win suits for intentional torts can go a long way to paying off those student loans, win loyal clients,
develop clout.
lawyer's ability to quickly and efficiently bring suits that will drag on for years before going away has some deterrent effect.
ok, enough blogging for now. i could either a) work on that memo ive bene putting off or b) head downtown for kareoke. ok that was an easy decision. cheers!

Well sort of.
In the pit there was even a guy in his 40s or 50s, wearing a business suit.

to go with the 50 books and 50 webcomics threads, 50 blogs for 2005.
i am not committing to keeping up with these, these are just (eventually) 50 blogs i've visited and felt worth mentioning.
1 http://www.thomasgalvin.blogspot.com/
hispanic republican new yorker
2 http://dusekblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/scalia-and-originalists-not-band.html
clevery named blog. no really, that's what it's called.

I was at thomas galvin's doing abit of research on the kerry kennedy cuomo divorce.
(that's her name, kkc, it's not a law firm.)
See, rfk jr may run for new york attorney general against andrew cuomo, who used to be married to rfkjr's sister kerry.
rfk jr - pro - has name of guy who was new york senator, us attorney general, presidential candidate.
hot looking. see photo by avedon in new yorker, the one i was reading in my lawyer's office this morning. avedon's last work before he died.
con - heroin bust. not that there's anything wrong with that.
con - father was appointed AG to cover up father's mob scandals. whacked for not following orders.
kerry - pro - human rights activist, fundraiser. was cute once. author. (may even have written it herself?)
con - sleeps around
other - looks like her aunt eunice.
andrew cuomo - pro - has name of guy who was new york governor
was in clinton cabinet
other - lost senate nomination

the library at alexandria

Zanna, don't! sounds like a fun play i'll never see. found via googling for "terry teachout sexual perversity in chicago." teachout's blog, which i don't read, suggests a whole world of plays and novels and music, a manhattan based culture, that is foreign to me. what little i know about manhattan dates from on the harold ross era.
One blog leads to another and I wind up at irish elk. I was at http://www.outerlife.com/2004/10/busking.html and meant to click on inklings.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The supreme court decided 4 cases today, granted no certs, remanded 450 cases for
booker/fanfan reasons. Of the four, the one I was interested in was the dog sniff case.
The court said that a dog sniff, at an otherwise valid stop, is not a search. (I think I have correctly characterized the holding; they at least said it was not unconstitutional.) I have not read, at least recently enough to recall, the Illinois case this was based on. But the Illinois Supreme Court had said the search was unconstitutional. If that opinion had relied in part of state constitutional grounds, it would stand. Did the defendant assert state grounds? If not, did his lawyer commit malpractice?
The case distinguishes Edmonds v Indianapolis, in which my tentant/client/friend Joell was unconstitutionally stopped and subjected to a dog search, assaulted, etc.
The only three minutes of the oral argument that I heard had to do with the dog sniff. We didn't get there early enough to get seats to hear the whole thing.

Speaking of unreasonable searches, I spent some time this morning getting the forms to fill out to apply for a card to not have to get unconstitutionally searched every time I go to the city county building. It wants $10 plus demands a ssn without compliance with the 1974 privacy act, but would be an improvement over the current searches, which are unreasonably intrusive.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

3rd try:
Rats. was in the middle of a post when i got a server error message and the post was gone. Usually it at least waits till i try to save the post.
As i was saying before i was so rudely interupted,
i wasted today reading webcomics filthy lies and skirting danger and wasted much of yesterday reading webcomic men in hats.
I did some other stuff too, braved a blizzard to pick up my car, got food, cooked, read, chatted online, commented in some blogs, the usual.
Reading autobiography of katharine graham. Good stories about being rich and famous in the 60s, dating adlai and kissinger, hanging out with lbj and kennedy.
having a manic-depressed suicidal lawyer husband, gradually discovering women's lib, and so forth. She's more open about her emotional state than most writers.
My mother lent me the book - she is from the same generation, not as rich or as powerful, but in our small town she was a player.
So now i'm torn in 3 directions - get coffee, do laundry, read in bed. Ok, I'll make that get coffee, do laundry, read at laundromat.
So 50 bookwise, that's
Gibson, Gaiman, Graham. Pattern Recognition, American Gods, Personal History.
I'm not assuming i'll get through 50 - I'm assuming that I'm cooped up indoors reading because it's winter out, and at some point I'll be busy doing things instead.
This may or may not pan out. In my own personal history, there have been times when I spend 6 months holed up reading, times when I'm busy doing stuff. I am apparently manic depressive. So I end up being well-read, with occasional bursts of world-saving superheroism. While other more normal people get and hold jobs, raise families, plan for retirement, without feeling much of sense of needing to save the world except the occasional tsumani donation.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

found a webcomic i like. primitive, cynical, evil, full of despair re the human condition. men in hats.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Extreme Victory!
Ha! Take that, ashcroft!
Now, this might not hold up on appeal.
It might even go to the supreme court.
But Lizzie Borden just gave John Ashcroft 40 whacks.
Internet porn legal sez judge.
This makes my day.

new blawg about international law. http://lawofnations.blogspot.com/
I posted this comment in a geneva conventional thread.
gt said...
The president, as commander-in-chief, has the authority, at least in wartime, to make decisions in battle without being micromanaged by congress.
I personally don't see rules such as "don't torture random civilians for sport" as interfering with that, but that isn't my main point.
The american legal system evolved out of the british one, in which the commander-in-chief was a distinct office. They didn't teach us legal history at mizzou, and I really don't know much about this. What rights or privileges did the commander-in-chief have against interference by parliament or monarch? Do those still exist as part of executive privilege, and tell us anything useful about current separation of powers doctrine?
Cordially, the arbitrary aardvark.

I'm awake at an ungodly early hour again. It's dark out. I wake up and worry, and after awhile of that I get up, go to the computer, start drinking coffee. Granted, the coffee drinking could be related to the sleeplessness. But I'm still pondering the Indiana gay marriage case - I still had that window open.

My concern right now is about the amici. Eagle forum - that's Phyllis (sp?) Schlafly.
Forcus on the Family is, I think, Dr. James Dobson. Fred Phelps did not sumbit an amicus.

The ironic thing about these groups is they argued, successfully, that the Indiana Bill of Rights does not protect the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So if Indiana wants to make abortions mandatory, or shut down church-run schools,
or ban heterosexual marraiages, these groups would not be able to argue under sections 1,12, and 23 of the Indiana Bill of Rights. They might be able to argue on other sections, or on federal grounds, but they have undone their best line of defense.

The big U
Volokh points to a california statute which makes the words "University of California" and any of its abreviations property of the state.
This is a re a controversy about web site darksideofucsb.com.
I guess it's time to go burn my "University of California at Boulder" shirt.
After all, the shirt is a parody of Boulder, not of the _niversity of _alifornia,
so would not be protected by the two-bit parody rule. (pretty woman case, luther campbell.) If the letters UCSB, UC, and U are state property, this puts a new spin on Cohen v. California. Or vice versa; the site could argue that Cohen held that the letters UC are constitutionally protected speech. Meanwhile, canadians with .ca domains better watch out.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I'm not the only vark out there. Not sure what this is, a quiz about learning styles that has something to do with Meyer-Briggs.
The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory means that are used for learning information.
www.vark.com -aardvark sport shop in bethlehem PA.

(n.) An edentate mammal, of the genus Orycteropus, somewhat resembling a pig, common in some parts of Southern Africa. It burrows in the ground, and feeds entirely on ants, which it catches with its long, slimy tongue.
\Vark\, n. [D. varken a pig.] (Zo["o]l.)
The bush hog, or boshvark.

yes, i'm bored, surfing randomly.


Via Howard, I see the Indiana Court of Appeals has decided the gay marriage case.
update: that link isn't working anymore. here's a pdf version.

I'm a little confused about the status of the opinion. By Barnes, it is the opinion of the court, but the other two judges seem to concurr only in the result. So what makes his the court's opinion rather than Friedlanders? Anyway.
As expected, plaintiffs lose. Maybe filing this case seemed like a good idea at the time, but after 11/2004, it didn't look good.
Plaintiffs raise three state constitutional claims:
Equal privileges (Art. I sec 23) Life liberty and pursuit of happiness (Art. I sec 1)
and due course of law (Art I sec. 12).
The court says, nobody ever wins under collins v day, the section 23 standard.
The court says, those cases about economic liberty under section 1 are old, lochner era, scoff scoff, and we don't think section 1 even really means anything anymore.
The court says, plaintiffs' section 12 argument is pretty weak, saying it's sort of like due process - but same sex marriage is a loser as a due process claim.
I think the court is pretty much right in its analysis of the case law.
The current indiana supreme court has given us a potempkin constitution. It sounds nice on paper, but don't try to actually use it.
There are exceptions now and then, but this case isn't one of them.
I think the court is badly wrong in its policy argument. Friedlander seems to pick up on this and concurrs seperately, saying he is bound by the case law.
There's a bunch of insanely wrong stuff in there about how gay couples can't get pregnant.
My words not theirs: Because we all know lesbians can't get raped, or come home drunk from a party not remembering quite what happened, or have an affair, or engage in prostitution. And bisexual boy-boy couples never ever screw around resulting in an accident.
If it isn't clear, I think this part of the opinion is stupid, not just evil.
The gay couples I know tend to have kids. Not all of them, but too many to deny those kids families, or to make their families illegal.
If my child hadn't died in a miscarriage, he or she wouldn't be quite 18 yet. If we'd had the kid, maybe my girlfriend wouldn't have left, but she did. The only person I'm anywhere close to marrying right now is another guy. We haven't discussed marriage, but are going to try living together. Single parenthood is tough. On both the parents and the kids. Denying a kid a second parent is just damn unfair.
This part of the opinion could have used some peer review. Don't these state appellate judges have clerks?
A note on biases: I know plaintiff's lawyer. He's a busy guy, and we don't hang, but I respect him immensely and we have friends in common. I've met the plaintiffs in this case. The guys are cute - conservative republicans. The woman rubbed me the wrong way; she's a public employee, a firefighter, and seemed focused on extracting more from her benefits package at taxpayer expense - I don't think that helps win the case. I know one of the defense lawyers, he's been opposing counsel in one of my cases, and I don't respect his ethics. The various amici seem to be the most convincing evidence that the legislature was prompted by invidious discrimination.
If I were the judge, I think I'd concur in the result, while deploring the statute.
I don't agree with Thomas's dissent in Lawrence v Texas, but he took this sort of approach.

Cute elephant cartoons. nyt v wonkette. kawai.

"Split Beaver decision expected."
Silly headline, serious article, at my other blog,
I welcome other offensive headline ideas.

Popup ads legal in utah.
Texaslawblog points to this findlaw article
which says that under a Utah antispam law, since replealed anyway, pop-ups weren't spam. Off to read the article.
The law was repealed because it worked so well.
In May 2004, the Utah Act was repealed -- after a flood of anti-spam lawsuits clogged the courts. The pop-up ads weren't covered because they weren't email, and the statute said email. No, I'm wrong - the statute said any kind of computer commincation, and it was the court that construed it to mean email only.
I have thought about "unauthorized access to computers" type statutes, anti-hacking laws from the 80s or 90s, whether they would apply to pop-ups. Code versus code: firefox is pretty good at blocking pop-ups, except the ones at drudgereport.com.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Stan Lee wins a round.
No news yet on Beaver v Klingman. AP update. Details to follow at http://ballots.blogspot.com.

Talk to the stigmata:
Soul, Springer, Jesus, the Devil, and the BBC.
Opera blogging from the pretentious department:
Starsky, or was he Hutch, plays Jerry Springer in a British opera shown on BBC.
At one point Springer does a show live from Hell, Jesus v the Devil, and that has inspired protesters yelling blashphemy. People still do that? Nobody expects...

This reminds me of the protests when my friends dannon and chris put on corpus christi, so here's some eye candy:

I couldn't find the one of dannon and chris together (thinks of where it might be)
so meanwhile here's one of just dannon, who played judas. ah, here we go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tony the not-a-pony Rickey has a post on how a Blogger blogger can install RSS.
It seems simple enough, but i'm going to let my technophobia keep me from trying it.
Good of him to give it a shot tho.

50 webcomics:
lore. hella funny.
her! what's funny about this one is the titles aren't in the strip itself, but they can be the funniest part, like in sinfest. strip's ok tho.
bonus anton sherwood comment in episode 19.
bonus tentacle monster/girl scene in episode 61.
superosity. badly drawn, not funny.
Well drawn. So far not funny. Ambivalent review.
badly drawn, occasionaly funny, likeable characters, but maybe i've just reached a saturation point for webcomics for now.
it's a post i can update as i go along, no plan to do all 50 tonight.
Cute talking baby foxes. Not bad. Not great. Next?
Sinfest. It's already in the blogroll. Isn't is? Consistently funny sexy and deep.
Best part is the description of the artist. E.g. yesterday's "him we do not speak of. tatsuya ishida." Not that that's funny in itself, but it's a nuance worth going back for. Found sinfest via tang, which, if it's on the websnark's list, I haven't gotten that far yet. (Not there. Must fix.)
Suburban Jungle - well drawn, likeable characters, but I don't care enough to stick with it.
Goats I just don't really care for. I mean, actively dislike.
Today's buddha's you momma's so fat joke is funny tho.
PvP is a gamer comic. I'm a geek, but not a gamer geek. The only games I play are chess, monopoly, and elections.
This looks cool. It's made with photos of game pieces, in much the way
fuzzy knights is made with stuffed animals. [note to self add fuzzy knights link.
put sinfest in blogroll. do important thing downtown. write some memos.]
I realize these are gamer comics, and I just said I don't like gamer comics.
Funny, cute, self-deprecating, works. Y'know, like Gabe.
Two lumps will have its fans among cat lovers. I'll skip it. Enough for tonight.

I was bored with the internet, and had read everything there was to read,
so I was siftibng thru the blogs linked at crescat, looking for something new, and there, at three years of hell , it was: websnark.
Specifically, websnark's list of must read webcomics, and running snarky comments about them. Should keep me busy all week. It's gotten up to 17 degrees, from zero,
so I could go out and do the important thing that needs doing, but I don't think so.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Yesterday was the Night of January 16th, and I missed it again.
January 16th is one of my favorite Ayn Rand plays - well it might be her only play, but I like it. It's short, has disturbing sex roles although they wrote that way in the 40's, and gets across her main themes. It has a gimmick - the audience is the jury, and gets to vote. I've never heard of its being performed.
* I didn't know till just now it was a movie.
The early ayn rand is something i hadn't heard of, might be good or bad.

I finished American Gods* and am reading Katharine Graham's personal history.
* I didn't know it won the Hugo! You do know who Hugo was, right?

In the previous page, we learn that her half-brother-in-law, a three year old who spits on her, grows up to be Senator Bob Graham. There's a lot of name dropping - I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just that she ran in a circle of people one has heard of.
Hmm this one won the pulitzer.
Small wedding, just two supreme court justices, with Steichen taking pictures. It is monday morning and I have urgent business to attend to, but I want to stay in bed reading for a bit longer.
Say this looks useful - www.fetch.com
find the lowest price of a book, in this case 50 cents at amazon, 75 cents at half.com.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

about a new jersey man arrested for sodomizing a dog. i -think- the story is saying he had ass sex with the female dog. i wasn't sure how they were using the word.
the dog's owner was upset. link via obscure store, a sort of internet news of the weird linked at freespace. which has a good article about the slaughterhouse cases, btw.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Res ispa loquitur

Consumer choice run wild
Waddling Thunder at 08:20 PM writes:
I'm taking a course in food and drug law this semester, which has turned out to be a lot of fun. Reading the casebook, I came across this excerpt from a deposition. I think it speaks for itself

Q. Mr. Konicov, does your firm still market a tape called "Astro Sounds"?
A. Yes, we do.
Q. How does it differ from the other tapes?
A. It's just a bunch of loud, squeaky noises.
Q. And what is it supposed to do?
A. I don't know.
Q. Why do you sell the tape if you don't know what it does or purports to do?
A. Why?
Q. Yes.
A. To give people a choice to buy it or not to buy it.

Stuff I've been listening to tonight:
the radar log of the huygens titan probe, expressed as a sound file.
a band called peelander-z, a sort of hentai punk rock thing, songs like ninja high school.
this was at the punk rock prom, where i got kudos for being the only guy in the mosh pit with a brooks brothers suit. "loud squeaky noises" indeed.
i didn't understand it much, but i had fun.

parsing error:
White House Ducks Torture Proposal Queries

what he said:
And a related complaint-- I really hate it when articles reporting on lawsuits and cases don't provide a name or citation for the case.

"Judge faces sex, theft charges" hat tip howard. I report this here, not out of prurient interest in 70 year old judge's on the job sex life, but because it documents that Ohio is still abusing its "theft of computer time" policies, as through computers were something scarce to be rationed. I knew a guy, Joe Cool, ten years ago, who wasn't just fired, but prosecuted, when he had a few naughty pictures of men on his Ohio state-owned computer. www.bugmenot.com to access the story, for those not already using firefox.
meanwhile, Virginia legalizes sex, based on lawrence v texas.

Howard has a good law.com article on a guy wrongly convicted and sentenced to die in texas. Three million in expenses later, he's free, after getting a good lawyer. The article doesn't mention it,
but Bush would have been Texas governor during some of ther years in question, with the power to pardon the guy.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Senator Miller wants to kill you.
Indystar article.
Patricia Miller is an Indiana state senator, and a high mucketeymuck in the "my bitch mitch" daniels administration.
She has a bill to ban cloning.
Her motive is right-to-life based, and there's something noble about that.
But it's your life she's after. She wants you to die.
She and Osama Bin Laden have that in common.
In the 14th century, life expectance was about 44. I'm 44.
Let's say you, oh reader, are 22, or thereabouts.
If Miller wins, and we can stop science dead in its tracks here and now,
you would have about another 66 years, till 2071.
But if cloning and science continue to progress the way computers did from 1955 to 2005,in 2060 you should be able to trade in your current body for a cloned new model, good for another 88 years or so, and the 2150 models look pretty cool, what with the enhanced intelligence, ability to leap tall buildings, fly through space,and so forth. This is your future, if you embrace it, avoid cigarettes, war, getting run over, and Senator Miller doesn't kill you.
She's not pro-life. She's pro-death. Yours.
It's personal.
You can let her win, and kill you, or you can stop her.
It's up to you.

slashdot article about jeff bezos of amazon starting private space company in west texas.
a few thoughts.
1) it's suborbital - heck the wright brothers had suborbital flight.
2) this may bring down the price of the virgin flights, some slashdotter mentioned.
3) this is free for bezos. his current net worth - 5 billion. his net worth after buying big ranch in texas - still 5 billion. his net worth after spending millions to
build rockets - still 5 billion. because it comes out of his publicity budget.
a few years ago, amazon stopped tv advertising. this gimmick will produce tons of publicity and goodwill.
4) plan:

1) write clever slashdot post, attract startup capital.
2) obtain lease-option for ranch next to bezos's
3) install coke machine or lemonade stand; now we are in the private space industry support services industry.
3.1 If cow, "zoological garden"
3.2 If prairie dog, "wildlife sanctuary"
4) 18 tin cups with little flags, voila, golf course.
5) now that we have a golf course and a coke machine, we have a country club.
sell tshirts and memberships.
6) handwaving vaporware about housing, conference centers, private schools, camps,
business incubators, windfarming, mineral rights, franchises.
7) pay off option, seek more options on more ranches.
8) profit!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Slashdot picks up story on the two guysarrested for telling lawyer jokes. I'm drafting a comment.
Shoultz v Indiana discusses when political speech cannot be used to support a disorderly conduct charge. Case.
I find this case interesting, because plaintiff's lawyer is S. Anthony Long, who I have sued twice over that same state constitutional provision. See Majors.blogspot.com.

The two guys were charged with disorderly conduct for their speech.
Issue: did the lawyer act unethically? did the lawyer act tortiously or criminally?
Issue: who was the lawyer? His identity should be discoverable; he's a key witness.

Now here's a hell of a story. William's story. About a bum who turns out to be a harvard law grad who clerked for Rehnquist.

It's past midnight and I think I have court tomorrow so I will drop the idea of posting to slashdot tonight.
The funny thing is, I can't tell if William's story is fact or fiction.
Ok, it was fiction; I'm gullible that way.

Placeholder for a post on the immigration cases handed down yesterday.
Yes, I wrote that they sounded boring and that i wouldn't be blogging them.
That was before I learned one was about Somalia.
This could be very interesting - or very dry.
The United States Supreme Court talking about deporting somebody to a place where there is no government as we know it - could be some deep political theory there. Or not.
Haven't read the cases yet. Jama v. ICE.
It's a case involving the attorney general and allegations of torture, or threat of torture. Scalia treats it mostly as a matter of statutory interpretation. Souter dissents so it's 5-4.
Conservative 5 against liberal 4.
It was mostly dull, and didn't really talk about Somalia at all. There's a bit at the end of the dissent where there is a discussion of separation of powers and immigration being an enumerated power of congress. Review: skip this one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I was at the mall today, meeting a client.
There's a martial arts studio there which was drawing a crowd, so I watched for a bit.
A young lady did a routine with a sword, and then did a similar routine with two fans.
It was very impressive. Yeah, I know the booker-dano decision's out now, and some immigration cases, and there's been some more oral arguments, and cert granted in 8 new cases, but I don't seem to care. The old scotusblogging fad has passed, now all the cool kids are

So yesterday I'd whomped up a deed and a letter of intent and gotten a tax reciept and was on the way to meet a client who wants to close tomorrow, only i was in the wrong lane, trying not to miss the exit when wham! i hit a fork in the road, blew out a tire.
Changed the tire in the mud and rain, got a few more miles down the road when the spare blew. I pulled into a gas station, got coffee, explained i was leaving the car.
Asked if there was a garage or tire shop nearby. She said "sure!" and gave directions to a place 2.3 miles away. I found out today there's a garage just down from the gas station. I walked the 2.3 miles to the main road in the rain and mud, dark with no shoulder so at some risk to my life, and caught a bus home.
The phone rings, roommate calling - the same thing happened to him. So today we went to the Shop Around the Corner, which sells not books but auto parts.
One Way Auto Parts. If they don't have it, they can get it. Shipping worldwide.
I spent $20 plus tax, he spent $40 plus tax and they threw in a free dipstick he hadn't been able to find anywhere. Then he took a cab, changed his tire, came back and got me, we went and I changed my tire, I then went and met with the client.
Tomorrow I'll need to go get my brakes checked - something seemed out of kilter.
I also changed a fuse today so have ceiling lights again. Bought some hardware at walmart. I hope that's enough tireblogging to last a year. Back to abstract political theory.
The strange thing was that last night when I got home from the long walk in the rain and mud, I was in a fairly cheerful mood. For about 6 months I've been using depression as an excuse for not getting much done, treating it like a cold, lots of rest and plenty of fluids. I may need to find a new excuse.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I hadn't considered this option if Rehnquist decides to step down. (Caution, sily link.)
But it's a useful reminder that a chief justice need not be a bar association-approved law school graduate. (Historical handwaving here.) I invite your nominations.
Shwartzenegger? Clint Eastwood? Frankie Muniz?

Is Rehnquist on drugs?
Ellen Goodman has a column about vultures, judges, health and fitness.
Frank Murphy was hospitalized for dependency on barbiturates and narcotics in 1947....
Early in his tenure, Rehnquist, who suffers chronic back problems, became so dependent on Placidyl that the doctor said he had "disturbances in mental clarity."

One of the dirty little secrets of the war on drugs is that most drug abuse in this country is done by the elderly. This post started a lighthearted tease that maybe Rehnquist is working from home, smoking dope out of the hole in this thoat. I didn't know about Murphy. I think I've read his Korematsu dissent, but Murphy isn't one I know well. For a lawyer, I'm shockingly ignorant about the history of the court.
What the heck is placidyl? Kennedy (JFK, not the justice) was a speed freak on steroids. Bush the elder had a thyroid condition that might have affected his emotional stability. Reagan couldn't pass a piss test. Bush the younger is a dry drunk. There was that judge being considered for the high court who admitted to having smoked pot. Clinton didn't inhale, bogarting the joint. But we don't often get the full story on drug use by members of the court.
Personally, I have three gin and tonics, several times a month, and drink about a half gallon of coffee a day.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find out what the heck placidyl is and provide your thoughts about whether its an appropriate drug for the high court. For extra credit, speculate wildly on the drug habits of the associate justices.

Rare Darkening of urine, itching, pale stools, yellow eyes or skin; unusual bleeding or bruising, insensitivity to 4th amendment violations.
Symptoms of overdose
confusion (continuing); decrease in or other change in vision; double vision; low body temperature; numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness ; overactive reflexes; pale skin; shakiness and unsteady walk, clumsiness, unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination; shortness of breath or slow or troubled breathing; slow heartbeat; slurred speech; trembling; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual movements of the eyes; unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

my comment at catallarchy on post about open source, 1/09/05.
ah ok, it finally posted there. wasn't sure for awhile which is why i copied it here.

I’m going to arbitrarily say there are 4 kinds of transactions.
1- forced, e.g. governmental or burglars.
2. monetized - buying and selling
3. voluntary - transactions without formal monetization
4. the 4th is a sort of catch all which includes choices an individial makes (eat lunch now or later?) as well as actions by animals and vegetables. these can be looked at in terms of costs and benefits, but are not monetized.
we, capitalists or catallarchists or whoever we are, might tend to use
"economic” to mean 2 and 3, or 2,3 and 4.
I think they, the author of the cited post and his/her intended audience, is using economic in a narrower sense of 2 only.
Since socialism can refer to both 1 and 3, it’s important to clear up misunderstandings. Free enterprise is about both monetized and gift economy exchanges. The open source revolution can be a triumph for both capitalism and socialism. We would argue that open source public goods is an example of market success, not market failure. This can further the marxist goal of the withering away of the state, so it’s in our interest to encourage the left to focus on doing things via open source instead of via government.
I added category 4 because there seems to be a pretty good understanding around here that economy and ecology are the same thing, that adam smith and charles darwin were both talking about heyekian order.
We may get further in working with the liberals if we can express market solutions are ecologically sound, green and progressive.
by arbitrary aardvark

Saturday, January 08, 2005

update to recent books post: william gibson has a blog.
via the not safe for work sexyfandom.com.
PATTERN RECOGNITION is William Gibson's best book since he rewrote all the rules in NEUROMANCER. - Neil Gaiman
Right now i'm reading american gods by gaiman. well not -right- now. I like it;
it's like gaiman and pratchet without the pratchet: a little darker, less silly.
A long long time ago when i lived missouri and used to go to bloomington in to visit people, I fell for death. once i moved to indy, i rarely go to bloomington anymore.
I have read some of gibson's books and not others, and don't quite remember which is which, but I know I haven't read all tomorrow's parties; here's a preview.
Gaiman has a blog too, and if i get less lazy at some point i might find a link.

Friday, January 07, 2005

word for the day: decimate.
see tithe, flat tax.
via a slashdot discussion of fast vegetables.
Decimate (Score:1)
by Kobun (668169) Alter Relationship on Friday January 07, @03:36PM (#11290834)
1 : to select by lot and kill every tenth man of
2 : to exact a tax of 10 percent from
3 a: to reduce drastically especially in number
3 b: to destroy a large part of

Constitution in exile discussion continues.
I was reading ron coleman's blog after clicking on a blogad at the instapundit.
(While the sun is not actually out, it's much brighter today, it has stopped raining, and I should be doing other things besides reading blogs. 47 down, 7.96 million to go....)
I was reminded he's the same ron coleman as in the volokhistan constitution in exile discussion i'd posted to when it was young.
Here's a post I like:
Brett Bellmore (mail) (www):
From 1789 until about 1900, I don't think the Supreme Court ever struck down a congressional statute as violative of the Commerce Clause...
Well, it's kind of tough to strike down violations of a constitutional provision, when Congress isn't violating it. Congressmen didn't always take the position that they should just pass any old laws they wanted to, and leave enforcing the Constitution up to the courts; They used to understand that they had an independent obligation to obey the Constitution. Something about an oath of office, I think...

Heidi in the jungle. blog.quiken.org
At first I thought that my horse could tell that I was an inexperienced rider, and so it was basically ignoring my tentative commands. But it was so good at ignoring them, that I was forced to conclude after about thirty minutes that I had a buggy horse. Clearly the version of Horse OS installed on my horse was faulty. The horse needed a reboot badly, but I didn't know where to find the power button. Damn incomprehensible hardware. At some point, my ten year old guide came to a fence and started whistling.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

bacon game notes

quote="moonkiss"]Chevy Chase was in [i]Modern Problems[/i] with Dabney Coleman[/quote]
dabney coleman in recess 5 w/
jason davis in
the crude oasis w/
aaron shields
in riders w/
Bodine Alexander in
swimmers with
shawn hatosy in
in and out w kevin kline
in i love you to death w river phoenix.
river in sbm w wil wheaton.
wheaton uncredited in she's having a baby with kevin bacon.
bacon was in apollo 13 w tom hanks.
tom hanks was in one red shoe with dabney coleman.

coleman was in tootsie with lynne thigpen who was in novacaine with kevin bacon....
[quote]In 1967, psychologist Stanley Milgram tested the small–world theory that members of any large group are connected to each other through short paths of intermediate pals. He sent packages to randomly selected folks in Kansas and Nebraska and gave them the address and occupation of a target person in Boston. Participants were allowed to send the package only to someone they knew who might know the target, until it found someone who knew the target personally.

Milgram derived an average of six degrees of separation between any two people in America. You, therefore, are only six handshakes away from George W. Bush.

Actually, you can be just two shakes from Dubya if you meet our political reporter Dennis Carroll, who shook hands with Bush, who said, "Nice to meet you, Dawson."

Milgram's data led to a play by John Guare and eventually to the Kevin Bacon game. Invented by three bored college students after seeing Bacon's flick "Footloose" on TV, it presumes that ol' Kev is connected to nearly every actor in Hollywood. Computer scientists Brett Tjaden and Glenn Wasson then transformed the game into the Oracle of Bacon on the University of Virginia's Web site. [/quote]
Dabney Coleman was in Tootsie w/ Dustin Hoffman.

Here is an amazing blog about another peace corps (i assume) volunteer in kazakhstan.
It gets no comments, I don't know if it has readers. I don't know if I have readers,
except that one guy.
Her blog was linked at crescat but i'd never clicked on it before.
One the one hand, kazakhstan seems impervious to help; it is a culture of corruption and indolence in which there is no point in getting ahead. The thais are far more entrepreneurial. But, there is a human connection with this blogger, and she asks for so little. Pictures of food, books with short words.
Yes, as I haven't said yet, I think this blogger would be worthy of charity - what would she think of a menu from masa?

Meanwhile it's getting dark and I have errands to run -fuses and coffee.
My roommate is an alcoholic who tends to puke when goes awhile without drinking,
so there are odd retching noises at times. That would be hell.
I am awful to him, just ignoring him most of the time, because of my utter lack of social skills - I don't like being reminded there is a physical world outside my cyber-life. Need to call my ex for her birthday today.

At legalaffairs.org
this is a debate about Thomas's jurisprudence.
One last point. You suggest that VMI and Lawrence are policy-making usurpations, with no basis in the rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution. Thomas, of course, agrees with you. Seeing the constitutional basis in both cases is simple, really. Virginia offered an educational opportunity to men but not to women (not even in a separate-but-equal facility; not at all). In its defense, Virginia could offer no better reason than that it had been doing so for a long time. That's not a policy dispute. It's unjustifiable unequal treatment, and hence a violation of the constitutional mandate that Virginia treat people equally
I'll repeat this one bit:
In its defense, Virginia could offer no better reason than that it had been doing so for a long time.
For Scalia and Rehnquist, that's enough. They believe in a living constitution, in which if an unconstitutional policy goes unchallenged long enough, it gets grandfathered in, sort of stare decisis in reverse. I regard that as both bad policy and bad logic. A little bit of this sort of kneejerk conservativism might come in handy in brushing off silly new unfounded claims, but if a suit is otherwise meritorious, I don't see how "I would got away with if it weren't for you meddling kids" lends any weight.
I had not seen this section of legal affairs before. I wanted to jot this down before I go back and read the whole thing. Thomas, in contrast, is far less open to thsi sort of thing. Thomas wouldn't be my first choice for CJ, if an opening comes up.
We really are vultures to be even having these discussions so frankly - O'Connor survived cancer, I think, and I have a client who has throat cancer over ten years ago and is still kicking. On the other hand, Bush isn't very reliable for getting things right. I'd be comfortable with Thomas as chief, and if not him, we don't know who. A new chief could continue with business as usual, or could make major sweeping changes, either in a good way or a bad way.

I'm still thinking a lot about "Collapse." And tsunamis and supervolcanoes and killer asteroids and weapons of mass destruction. We live in interesting times. In the 60s, it seemed like the court was driving social change. These days, the court can't keep up. Maybe it was always thus.
Since about 1970, I've been watching certain trends. On the one hand, doom and gloom, ecological collapse, overpopulation, crazies with nukes, out of control dictators, both elected and self-appointed.
On the other hand, rising tides of prosperity, space flight, supercomputer networks,
windmills, robot boys, all the cool stuff of those tom swift novels.
I had a reasonable belief that I would be able to get an education, have a career,
be a small player on the world state, and maybe someday do something really cool like write a book.
I thought I'd be able to avoid being shot down like a dog in vietnam, but that I had a good chance of going to jail over my beliefs. I figured I'd live on a commune with a lot of people around and together we'd fight for social justice and eat tofu.
I focused on being a politician rather than a scientist, because I'd seen how science could be turned to the dark side and used for evil.
Funny how things turn out. I'm tentatively going to say it's the progress of science
more than the struggles of dogooders that has been driving what progress we've made.
My plan to have a law firm fighting for the right to anonymous political speech online fell apart, and the internet went on to develop just fine without me.
If I'd been successful at what I'd tried to do, it could have helped a little,
and I might have made a decent living at it, and might or might not have lost everthing anyway.
Last night at 4 am the power went out in most of the house. We got up, found out which circuits still work, ran some extension cords, and are getting by, but it's another symptom of collapse.
It's important not to confuse my persona collapse issues with broader social trends.
More people are doing better than ever. Conversely, more people are doing worse than ever - 1.3 billion in china, means that for ever american when i was a kid, there is now a chinese person, living in relative poverty, but with hope that things are getting better. These are still the dark ages. I expect the america I knew to collapse, while the civilization it represented grows.
I'm gonna stop here.

I can be replaced by a machine.
or, "name that robot!"

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

volokh trivia. conspiracy page wasn't coming up so i found this at google instead.

ker fuffle ferfluffle: ker fuffle at amazon.
might not be safe for work.

Monopoly Monopoly.
Hasbro (whatever happened to parker brothers?) is using the feds to sue a David Chang over "ghettopoly" or is it Ghettoopoly. Thousands of copies of his game have been seized.
Dude needs a lawyer.
Maybe Steve Jackson games would know somebody...
As someone who lives in the ghetto, I think the game is in poor taste.
It is quite obviously a parody, and protected under law.
The seizure is unconstitutional, and Hasbro seems to be conspiring to violate
Chang's civil rights, actionable under 42 USC 1983. The federal prosecutors would be immune, but ethical complaints could be filed against them, if we knew who they were.
Monopoly was invented about 100 years ago to illustrate the evils of land rent, by a woman in New Hampshire who was a follower of Henry George and the single taxers.
They believed that income from the land is our common heritage and should be shared equally, while use of the land is best left in private hands, through a system of long term leases. Arden, Delaware, two miles north of where I grew up, is a village founded on single-tax philosophy.
Later somebody added Atlantic City street names to their home version of the game, and that the rights to that version were bought by a toy company that became parker brothers. Given that there is a pre-existing version in the public domain [i'm a little iffy on that claim, feel free to google the anti-monopoly page and read about for yourself] and the product is obviously a parody, I don't see any trademark violation. Hat tip Howard.
The origin of the game was to show the injustice of disparities of wealth arising out of patterns of land ownership.
Formal slavery of africans and their african-european-native-american descendants has ended. Formal jim crow laws depriving this mixed-race group of equal rights has ended. The "last plantation" welfare-state system has been slowly eroding with more
of these mixed-race folks becoming wage slaves like the rest of us.
But disparities of land ownership continue. Overwhelmingly land in the US is owned by whites, and not held the residents of the ghetto, who tend to be the kin of those the land was taken from by force. A Georgist single-tax regime would remedy this inequality, and by abolishing other taxes, would allow the economy to grow without the tapeworm of the bloated government. Ghettopoly returns to the roots of the game as serious social criticism. That's the sort of thing the first amendment protects.
Some of the time.

50 book challenge.
Amber Taylor, says crescat, is going to read 50 books and blog about them in 2005.
I suppose this is a more doable goal than writing a novel in november.
I'm not setting a goal of 50 - I avoid commitments, and this one seems like much effort little payback. But I might end up reading 25 books in 2005, and i'll be blogging anyway. I would not start with 'the crying of lot 49' - I'm not sure I would make it past book one.
In her spare time, when not reading 50 books, amber blogs and oh yeah attends harvard law school. In my spare time I drink coffee and wonder if it will ever stop raining.
So one to book one.
Pattern Recognition. William Gibson.
When I was a kid, we'd go to cutlser's pharmacy after church and for five cents I'd buy a lemonheads or reeses cup and my folks would get the sunday new york times.
In that space now is a used bookstore. $3 pricetag and the "uncorrected proof for limited distribution" caught my eye.
It's ok. Set in next week, our heroine jetsets from london to tokyo to new york tracking down some elusive footage.
Now I can relate to that. I don't fly - I rarely leave the house. But the hunt for elusive footage is fun. I'm looking for a film by weegee, arthur zelig. I know him as a photographer, but he did make one short film, and I'd like to find it.
I'm looking for the movies Bruce Lee made as a kid in Hong Kong.
I'm on p 245 after reading for about a week. I read in snatches before bed or in the bath and otherwise I'm online all day. Doing nothing.
It's not that bad a novel. We care about the main character, and the plot moves along ok, and the descriptive style of the writing has something going for it.
But frankly, if it didn't say "William Gibson" on the cover, I probably wouldn't have bothered to read to p. 245.
I had heard the buzz about neuromancer when it first buzzed, and I'd read either mona lisa overdrive or burning chrome from the library way back when,
and I have Gibson stories involving a waitress at a tibetan restaurant (Idoru) and an S&M club in muncie (is neuromancer the one with girl who lives on the bridge in a post-punk apolocolypse? that one.) But cyberpunk is held to a higher standard after Snow Crash, and this doesn't really measure up. Was it worth $3? Sure. I have another week's entertainment to get out of it, and it's raining outside, and it's less dull than the kennedy bio i have up next, and i'm not sure if I'll like the neil gaiman i'm probably going to read instead of the kennedy one, so really it's fine.
But this is faint praise for a guy who invented a genre that inspired a generation.
later update:
blurb on the back says "reaches out to a wider readership than anything he has ever written." That is to say, it's dumbed down to the mainstream. Spoilers: she finds the mcguffin, girl gets boy, girl's quirks get cured, all live happily ever after.
Now, I'm not against writers cashing in, and I'm not against writers breaking out of a narrow genre to address a wider audience. And this wasn't a bad book; as mainstream novels go it was quite acceptable. I don't know how it sold; I don't know how to check where a book is on the amazon charts. But I don't see this as winning a wider audience for either his better earlier works or the genre as a whole.

Next up:
Either 1-L, or Gaiman's American Gods. I ran one of my errands and took out the trash. I'm thinking of going to the store for coffee and light bulbs, but I'm pretty sure... fuses! That was it. Ok, I'll go in the next hour, he says.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

sandra bullock gives $1 million to tsunami relief... I thought the picture was an unusual one for a news story.
And that's donna from that 70's show...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Didja hear about the wired article about the guy who pretended to work at apple?
(i can't find the story at wired anymore but have linked to the same story told elsewhere.)((oh! i guess i couldn't find it at wired was because i'd read it at slashdot.))

hmm, actually it sounds better when he tells it:

One August night, after dinner, two guys showed up to announce that they would camp out in my office until the modification was done. The three of us spent the next six hours editing fifty thousand lines of code. The work was delicate surgery requiring arcane knowledge of the MacOS, the PowerPC, and my own software. It would have taken weeks for any one of us working alone.
At 1:00 a.m., we trekked to an office that had a PowerPC prototype. We looked at each other, took a deep breath, and launched the application. The monitor burst into flames. We calmly carried it outside to avoid setting off smoke detectors, plugged in another monitor, and tried again.... The software ran over fifty times faster than it had run on the old microprocessor. We played with it for a while and agreed, "This doesn't suck" (high praise in Apple lingo)

Because I had a "job" like that once. It was 1981, and I'd gotten hooked on this computer network thingy. It was user-friendly, had email and anonymous discussion groups and notesfiles that were like early versions of listservs. My roommate was all excited one day because they'd built a chat room and gotten 6 people into it.
As a mere student, I didn't have much access to the good stuff, so I applied for a job at the media library. Didn't get it, but then they offered me a job as an economics programmer. I was torn - with the job, I would have the access I wanted. And I was an economist; I even had a fancy certificate in economics from the Henry George School at SUNY. But I couldn't program my way out of a paper bag. Still can't. I took the job. It took them about a semester to catch on that I wasn't actually doing anything. If I had it to do over, I would have outsourced the work to my computer-able buddies, made it an open-source software development gig and harvested the credit, but I didn't have that together then. The software I was working on, or not working on, was cool - a test bank of questions about supply and demand. By working through the questions, a college student or bright junior high kid could learn the basic insight of microeconomics. How prices and sales are determined by the intersection of supply and demand curves, and the damage that results when that gets interfered with.
I don't know if the software project ever got done - I wasn't a key bottleneck, they had other people working on it. In those days, the mainframe hardware was too expensive to support a mass market,and they never successfully ported the whole package over to the apple II's that were transforming the industry. A few years later they lost their funding and shut down. But in 1980-1982, we had this vision of how education and news and science and philosophy could be done on a computer, replacing the whole kludge of the university that was our local environment. Because I never did learn to program, and there wasn't a big market for non-coder software developers, I spent the rest of the eighties offline, working odd jobs, learning to survive on my own, but knowing there was this glorious future out there just waiting.
I slowly pulled myself up by my bootstraps, with moral support from my girlfriend,
being a diswasher, janitor, realtor, teamster, law student, law clerk, warehouse worker, snow lion headwaiter, daytrader, lawyer, but then it all fell apart.
I'll probably go back to working in a warehouse later this year, while I put the lawyer thing back together slowly. My niche as a lawyer is that I fight for anonymous free speech online - as a non-programmer, it's what I can do to do my part to grow this vision we had back then - a vision where journalists could take their stories right to the people, without a media conglomerate getting in the way.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

I read a post at marginal revolutions a few days ago that's stayed on my mind.
Yglesias discussion link.
Tyler Cowen reviews a review of Collapse, a book about how societies fall apart.
Examples are greenland, in which the vikings died out around 1400, and easter island.
The book covers other places, but these are the ones the blog posts have covered.
What they have in common is that a) they are islands and b) they are fragile ecologically.
I want to point to two more islands where there has been collapse: sitka, and island where the hobbits lived in harmony with little elephants. On sitka, 4,500 years ago,
pygmy mammoths were the last of their kind, until found by people, and eaten. Apparently the same thing happened to the hobbits and their pachyderm buddies.
Mammoths may or may not come back as a result of unfreezing and cloning.

On both easter island and greenland, people cut down the trees and overgrazed the pastures, turning forests into deserts. The smaller the island,the quicker an exotic parasite can destroy an ecology. Rabbits, rats, mongeese, but mostly people.
England is bigger, well maybe not bigger, let's say warmer, than greenland. Cultural practices that destroyed greenland, leading to collapse and starvation, did not utterly destroy england and scotland and wales, but did throughtly transform the ecology. Sherwood Forest is now Sherwood lawn. The kind of old growth oak forest in which Robin Hood fought the law now exists in a small patch in Poland on the border with Russia, but it was hard hit during WWII.

The dodo, the passenger pigeon, the Sumatran tiger, gone.
The panda, the bengal tiger, the manatee, the gorilla, the chimp, threatened.
Since about earth day 1970 some of us have been shocked and appalled, seeing the collapse going on, walking around dazed and freaked out, while others are just oblivious. Yes, there's a space program and yes there's cloning and dna mapping,and some progress being made to save a few of the endangered here and there.
But the collapse continues. It is madness to eat beef when doing so kills the planet.
Madness. So I live among cannibals, who look at me funny when I freak out when they eat each other. OK, that's the rant for the day, going back to my book now.

Google lists 17 places where one can give away money to help tsunami-related clients.
Google does not list any places for investing in helping tsunami-related clients.
I think this is a huge mistake.
I'm not singling out google - even catallarchy, which should know better, takes the same approach.
Most people don't invest in places like sumatra because it's too high risk, and hard to get information to manage the risk. But when the same people are willing to donate, not just risk but with a certainty lose the whole investment, high risk is no longer an obstacle. Donating is a win/lose game. It tends to be a fad of the week kind of thing.
Investing is a more sustainable over the long haul, and returns from investment at one site can be plowed back into the next crisis center.
This is related to why I don't donate blood. I have sold plasma, which is legal, and worked, not very hard, to legalize blood sales.
Donating to tsunami clients - why? How much? How long?
Why is the idea of markets still so foreign to us?
Apparently other people see the world very differently than I do, and this frustrates me.
Meanwhile I did nothing useful today. It's rained all weekend - maybe global warming is already here; I don't remember this much rain in the winter when I was a kid.
Not that I was planning to leave the house anyway. I am reading the Gibson and then I have the Gaiman and some new Kennedy books, for when I run out of stuff to read online.

weegee site, via boingboing. 20 years ago this guy was one of my favorite photographers. mercury flash photography for the tabloids, tres noir.the public eye (i think) was a not very good movie with joe pesci as weegee.
i couldn't find the weegee movie.
here are some old newspaper photos from chicago, narrated by roger ebert. arrested drag queens. jimmy hoffa

Google-related post.
Sigh. Not long ago if i were posting at 6:30 am on a sunday, it would mean i was still up, now it means i'm already up. Noisy neighbors. So anyway I was googling semirandomly and found this: google logo with bears discussed. Kinda cute, kawai. Here are past logos.

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