Wednesday, March 30, 2005

How today went:
$425 settlement with party B
further expenses of $130
net $295.
ratified prior settlement of $800 between coplaintiff and party B.
default judgment of $4250 against party A,
we'll be lucky to collect half.

Annoying thing about blogads.
The blogad says "Tesla Free Energy - build a machine from simple plans." But, for reasons that make sense for billing purposes, I'm not allowed to click on my own blog ads.
Simple plan:
1. Invent something everybody needs.
3. Profit!
See also my theory about dinosaurs, big in the middle, long and skinny at the ends.
Yes, yes, I realize any interest in Tesla, along with a JFK obsession, is a sure sign of crankdom. I've seen Mel Gibson's Conspiracy Theory, and I'm aware of Kuhn's work on crankism as a symptom of coming paradigm shift. What Twain had, was he was a crank, but in a self-deprecating manner that showed he was self-aware, and used his crankishness as an asset. It's something I can aspire to but not master.

50 book challenge
13 Digital fortress, Dan Brown. Lame. Review to follow.
14 A Thousand Acres. Good. Iowa farm teems with hidden drama. Won Pulitzer.*
15 A Walk to Remember. Nicholas Sparks. I had posted a review of this but took it down as too personal. It's sweet, a tearjerker coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-south.
16 The Day of the Locust, Nathaniel West, 1939.
A not very good book to my taste, but then it's sort of like F.S. Fitzgerald who I don't much like either. The main thing this book has going for it is a character named Homer Simpson.
17? I have started 'bless the beasts and children' and 'ciderhouse rules' but am not sure I'll finish either.
I've had a few days that have felt unproductive - no work done, no blogging or cartooning, a few minor chores got done. Small claims court today so I'm up with too little sleep.

* Pulitzer: On the list of books I'll never get around to writing, is one that covers a handful of great inventors, men of the gilded age who changed the world.
Pulitzer would fit right in. Specificly I'm thinking Tesla and Farnsworth.
Radio and TV respectively, although that underestimates Tesla's accomplishments.
Twain and Edison fit in there too as supporting characters. Men born on farms who made possible the transformation into suburbia. Maybe Alan Turing would fit.
Sort of a Profiles in Courage. Profiles in Courage is a book that may or may not have been written by JFK, about senators who stood up for the right thing and were crushed by it.
Tesla, Farnsworth, Twain, Turing had their personal and business difficulties and did not always benefit from their accomplishments. I guess part of the point of this for me is that a person may be a failure at one level and a success at other levels.
I'm having to come to terms with being a failure at many levels. This does not mean I have to give up trying at some of my grander quest type projects. My roommate, for example, delivers pizza. I don't. If I stopped trying so hard to save the world, I could do better at something like delivering pizza, and settle for attempting mediocrity. I think I'm better off continuing to tilt at windmills.
Day of the Locust was West's 4th book, and then he died in car crash, ran a stop sign while driving from Mexico while late for Fitzgerald's funeral. His books were not financial successes, and he could have stoped writing sooner, and then we wouldn't have "Homer Simpson", or anyway Homer would probably be called something else. I'm assuming Groenig's Homer is based on West's, if in name only. It seems like an unlikely coincidence, and Groenig uses lots of literary and Hollywood allusions.
I'm not one of those who study Simpsons' scripts for deeper meanings, but there are those who do. Ok that's all for now - need second cup of coffee.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thank you for contacting me regarding airplane identification policy. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

On November 19, 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act was signed law. This legislation, Public Law 107-71, created the Transportation Security Administration and gave them the authority to regulate security at airports. According to the Transportation Security Administration, passengers with a paper ticket for a domestic flight who are age 18 and over must present one form of photo identification issued by a local state or federal government agency (e.g. a passport, drivers lisence or military ID), or two forms of non-photo identification, one of which must have been issued by a state or federal agency (e.g.: a U.S. social security card). For an international flight, passengers need to present a valid passport, visa or any other required documentation. Passengers without proper ID may be denied boarding. Passengers with e-tickets must show photo identification and e-ticket receipt to receive their boarding pass.

Additionally, individual airlines have varying regulations as to requirements to board their aircraft.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you in the future on matters of interest to you.


Tom Davis
Member of Congress

I have written back, candidly asking for a straight answer this time. Sigh.
Double sigh - it bounced.

Tesla's mother was a hard working woman of many talents who created appliances to help with home and farm responsibilities. One of these was a mechanical eggbeater. Tesla attributed all of his inventive instincts to his mother.

Tesla began his education at home and later attended gymnasium in Carlstadt, Croatia excelling in his studies along the way. An early sign of his genius, he was able to perform integral calculus in his mind, prompting his teachers to think he was cheating. During this period young "Niko" saw a steel engraving of Niagara Falls. In his imagination there appeared a huge water wheel being turned by the powerful cataract. He said to an uncle that he would go to America one day and capture energy in this way. Thirty years later he did exactly that. Despite his early creativity, Tesla did not begin to think of himself as an inventor until he was a young adult
One of those eccentric geniuses, like farnsworth, who i've never really read up on.
Slashdot is discussing [mocking] nasa's contest for broadcast power.

The value of poetry:
One afternoon, which is ever present in my recollection, I was enjoying a walk with my friend in the city park and reciting poetry. At that age I knew entire books by heart, word for word. One of these was Goethe's Faust. The sun was just setting and reminded me of a glorious passage:

The glow retreats, done is the day of toil;
It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil
Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!

As I uttered these inspiring words the idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagram shown six years later in my address before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

This was the invention of the induction motor, a technological advance that would soon change the world....The residents of Brooklyn became so accustomed to dodging shocks from electric trolley tracks that their baseball team was called the Brooklyn Dodgers. ....Tesla quickly corrected the reporter: "You do not see there a wireless torpedo, you see there the first of a race of robots, mechanical men which will do the laborious work of the human race."
Tesla's device was literally the birth of robotics, though he is seldom recognized for this accomplishment.

So let's see, he invented alternating current, radio, x-rays, robots, and the remote control, and then FM and broadcast power. predicted photovoltaics, maybe.
radar. missiles. the flying car. particle beam weapons. Friend of Twain.
"When wireless is fully applied the earth will be converted into a huge brain, capable of response in every one of its parts," Tesla told Morgan.

7 Dude where's my country? Michael Moore.
8 Cause of Death Patrica Cornwell
9 Paris Underground Etta Shiber 1944
10 To The Hilt Dick Francis
10.3 Going Critical: How The Nuclear Energy Lobby Has Hidden The Dangerous Truth About Giant Rats in Nevada
11 Norton introduction to literature.
12 http://scalzi.com/agent/
13 Digital fortress, Dan Brown.

Digital Fortress is not just the title, it's also the name of the McGuffin, and an apt descriptor of the setting for this novel by the author of the DaVinci Code.
So it's not a good sign that to write this review I had to go read the title, of a book I finished this morning. Trash. Our heroine is the professor's daughter, shapely and there to listen to lectures about cryptography, about on the level of reverse the polarity and recalibrate the warp nacelles.
Meanwhile plucky boyfriend chases around europe, barely escaping from one hail of bullets after another. The author has heard of the nsa, and of eff, but that's about it - this is not a Tom Clancy or a cryptonomicon.com, where the authors know something. Instead we guess at which bad guy is badder and who has the gun.
The climatic ending involves solving a puzzle encoding a riddle wrapped up by an enigma machine. Bazooka joe is known for tougher riddles.
My mom could write a better story about the puzzle palace. It was 50 years ago, so maybe her work there would be declassified now. I could write a better story about EFF and their stuggle with NSA, or my brother could write it better than I could, but Mike Godwin already has.
If this was intended as farce, it's very dry.
If the DaVinci code is anywhere near this bad, I can see why some people would be unimpressed. On the other hand, as the script for a movie with Matt Damon, and Donald Sutherland as the heavy, this could actually work. But it would be a better movie if they just played poker and talked.

For a much much better book on crypto, i seem to remember a book called code about a girl who wrote a crypto program for her high school science fair. it opened with this scenario. you send your guy a box with a lock on it. he adds his own lock, mails it back to you. you take your lock off, mail it back to him. he unlocks the box. the contents have been delivered securely, and neither party knows how to undo the other's lock. digital fortress had nothing that clever, except "without wax." I won't explain that part - the reader should get something out if it. A couple trashy novels has me back on the path to 50 in 05, after spending february on "the kennedys"

Paris Underground
War, 1hr 37min
Gracie Fields, Kurt Kreuger, Eily Malyon ...more
Constance Bennett both produced and starred in the espionager Paris Underground. Bennett and Gracie Fields play, respectively, an American and an English citizen trapped in Paris when the Nazis invade. The women team up to help Allied aviators escape from the occupied city into Free French territory. The screenplay was based on the true wartime activities of Etta Shiber, who engineered the escape of nearly 300 Allied pilots. British fans of comedienne Gracie Fields were put off by the scenes in which she is tortured by the Gestapo, while Constance Bennett's following had been rapidly dwindling since the 1930s; as ... Read more Constance Bennett both produced and starred in the espionager Paris Underground. Bennett and Gracie Fields play, respectively, an American and an English citizen trapped in Paris when the Nazis invade. The women team up to help Allied aviators escape from the occupied city into Free French territory. The screenplay was based on the true wartime activities of Etta Shiber, who engineered the escape of nearly 300 Allied pilots. British fans of comedienne Gracie Fields were put off by the scenes in which she is tortured by the Gestapo, while Constance Bennett's following had been rapidly dwindling since the 1930s; as a result, the heartfelt but tiresome Paris Underground failed to make a dent at the box-office. It would be Constance Bennett's last starring film--and Gracie Fields' last film, period. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

There's less horseplay in the 35th thriller by former jockey Francis, but as much suspense and pain as ever. Alexander Kinloch is a painter who lives in rural Scotland, and somebody thinks he knows where the jewel-encrusted, solid gold-handled sword of Bonnie Prince Charlie is hiding. It wouldn't be a Francis book without lots of beatings and torture, but you'll also find out how to run a brewery, paint a landscape and yes, hide a racehorse, in this thoroughly enjoyable outing from the Cigar of fiction.

Going Critical: How The Nuclear Energy Lobby Has Hidden The Dangerous Truth About Giant Rats in Nevada
this book, which is better than sliced bread, cuts through the clutter to break down to the nuts and bolts of the real brass tacks at the heart of the matter - slashdot.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

100 must read sf books. 3/17/05.
I have read 7 0f the top 10. of the 3 i havent read, 2 are phillip k dick.
I get 'the man in the high castle' mixed up with 'the last castle' by jack vance.
I have read 21 of the top 30, 38 of the top 60, 49 of the top 100. it's a good list,
gernsbach, stapledon, kapek.

Flash! Procrastination kills productivity
Filed under:
* News
— Greg @ 2:19 pm
This startling discovery brought to you courtesy of a survey by Microsoft, as reported here. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to stop procrastinating.. right after I catch up on slashdot. And penny arcade. And tv.
bwahahah. i'm not going to post the search terms that turned up that gem.

Mar 17, 11:04 AM EST
Bush names Portman trade representative

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Both blogger and I have been disfunctionally slow today.

But i'll note a few things.

There's a discussion going on in the mainstreammedia and the blogosphere about gender and race - is blogging a white male gig? I'll have a few thoughts on that.

The transcripts from Kelo and Lingle are up. I found those interesting.
Kelo gets most of the press, because it's an IJ case, and IJ is all about the propaganda war for the hearts and minds of the people, in a way that Chevron isn't.
Kelo v New London CT is about must a taking be for public use.
Lingle (gov. of Hawaii) v Chevron is about a gas station rent control law that doesn't accomplish what it was meant to do. So the argument there is about the standard of review. Can the government take property when doing so doesn't advance any government interest? If so, need just compensation be paid?
The government kept arguing for "rational basis review" which the justices were pretty open about admitting needn't actually be rational at all.
The comeback was that rational basis is a due process concept, but, although footnote 4 of carolene products wasn't mentioned, the court tends to use a higher standard when specific textual rights-confering clauses of the bill of rights are invoked.
The door is opened here to a whole new boutique of wonderful fifth amendment litigation, a new lochner era premised on the takings clause.
I haven't read epstein's amicus brief for the cato institute; it might speak to that potential.
I'm not saying the court will walk through that door.
These cases might end up being interesting only for dissents by Thomas.
But that they are hearing cases like this, is a good thing. That IJ has gotten two of its cases heard this term is real progress toward their agenda of bringing back economic privileges and immunities.

Ok, now about those white male bloggers.
I've identified four of the factors that go into this statistic.
1 Chimp factor.
2 Focus.
3 Blogs v other media.
4 Historical factors.

Chimp factor - male baboons compete by being bigger and meaner. baboons are like linebackers. male chimps compete by being smarter and funnier. chimps are like...bloggers. it's all about, look at me, look at me.
This is why I don't listen to rap.

Focus - there are 4 million bloggers. 2 million are women. the male bloggers link to
instapundit and kos and volokh. the female bloggers link to their coworkers and cousins and old roommates and livejournal friends.
It's like the old cartoon. He makes the important decisions, like how they stand on NAFTA or Kyoto. She makes the unimportant decisions, like what they'll have for dinner, what color to paint the house, where they'll go on vacation...
Women bloggers tend to have a different focus. This is because women are practical and reality-based, where men are romantic dreamers.
Other media- Once upon a time, there was digital divide. And then the local library here in the ghetto got online, and the hoodrats are online, tieing up all the computers, whenever the library's open, but they aren't reading blogs. They are watching music videos and chatting to their buddies on blackplanet.
The people who read blogs are the people who used to read newspapers and books.
Historical factors - blogging is pretty easy. But for a lot of us who blog, it's because we've been online for years and already feel comfortable with the technology.
And in the old days, that was mostly geeks, and geeks were mostly white males, from a social class that could afford a computer.
Now pretty much every high school and college kid has a computer or access to one, so that aspect should change over time. I'm not sure I know any way-successful blogger under 18, but it'll happen more and more.
Factor 5 would have to with a correlation between white male privilege and the big block of mostly unpaid time that blogging takes up. It's easier to blog between law school classes than in breaks from the assembly line or plowing the back 40...
although I'm sure there's tractor-based blogging going on if you know where to look for it. This was another day I didn't get my chores done - for me blogging is a form of escapism - it's something I do when I'm avoiding work.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

50 book challenge:
7 Dude where's my country? Michael Moore.
8 Cause of Death Patrica Cornwell
9 Paris Underground Etta Shibber 1944

Moore's book is a rant, an art form perfected online, adapted here to book form.
It's alternatively informative and annoying. Some good stats, some fun conspiracy theory, soem worthwhile social criticism. Call me a snob, but I'm more used to dry exposition. Here he's shooting for a mass audience,and uses gimmicks to try to hold their attention. Like the chapter where he compares republicans to hamburgers, or the current chapter is written from the point of view of god. Yes, Moore, here, is playing God - who does he think he is, a doctor? So i'm a bit offput, but still reading, because in between the invective he has some interesting facts and theories.
e.g. - the patriot act is an acronym. the success of moore's books and movies has a lot to do with how easy a target he has. if somebody say in 1984 had written this stuff about what the bush administration would be like, it would have been dismissed as farce.
This book was a gift from my tenant/client/friend Joell Palmer. Joell's main claim to fame is his case Edmonds v Indianapolis, that ended the drug roadblocks.

Cause of Death was a mystery novel by a woman author with a women protagonist, a genre i tend to like. Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngao Marsh, er, that woman who wrote about Dagliesh... I was thinking, but haven't doublechecked, that this is the woman who may have solved the Jack the Ripper mystery. It starts off well as a police procedural from the POV of a medical examiner. Cheryl Tiegs, Crossing Jordon, Quincy, it's been done well before. Holmes was apparently modeled on a medical examiner.
But about halfway through the book I lost suspension of disbelief. Too many neonazis, nuclear submarines, dirty cops, terrorists, hackers... Add a giant lizard, and you'd be able to say it's been done better in Cryptonomicon. Written in 96, the author seemed to know a lot about running a morgue but pretty much nothing about hacking or neonazi cults. What I liked was it was a book I could and did read in a day, while my computer defragged, unlike the Kennedy book that took me all February. There's a place for escapist literature, and this was. But I can't recommend it.
I got this book in a box of books that were thrown away by the thift store that got them when they were thrown away by the jail. Our local privately run jail has some good books, but, from what I hear, a prison guard instead of a librarian, a completely inadequate law library, and is almost never open to the inmates, so the good books there go to waste, and get thrown away after a few years of no one checking them out. While the women's prison a mile a way is woefully short of books.
9 Paris Underground Etta Shibber 1944
Now here's a book with nazis and submarines and intrigue, that works. But it has the advantage of being non-fiction. Just started it.

Volokhian Barnett seems to misunderstand Peter Singer, but is aware he may be misunderstanding.
General idea - Singer reinvented ethics during the 70s.
It was dead, he bought it back to life.
His approach is to apply the tools of philosophy to the question, what do we do next?
Other people apply tools of economics, or sociology, etc. Such efforts are useful - any kind of insight into the "what do we do next" question is helpful. Before Singer,
philosophy had stopped bothering with the "what do we do next" problem, and was hung up on the meaning of meaning and other head of the pin topics.
People think of him as someone who has a position about "how should we act about animals" or "how should we act about babies", when instead what he's doing is asking,
does philosophy have anything useful to say about how we treat animals and babies?
Custom and habit and superstition have their uses, but his approach was, let's think about these things logically and rationally and see what results.
I've met Singer and Barnett, and respect them for the same sorts of reasons.
Both are people who work on issues of liberty, and get taken seriously in the academic world. As someone committed to working for liberty, I saw academia as a possible path. It hasn't worked out that way, because of my personal failings and limitations, but there have been others who've been able to move into that space.
I only know Tom Smith thru a few visits to his blog, and find him somewhat offensive, and often wrong, sometimes funny.
Would Singer make a good babysitter? I don't know. I would suspect yes; I've seen him handle a class of undergraduates. Professor Lawrence Becker once told me that when Singer stayed at his house for a conference, he had a profound aversion to cats.
Being a babysitter and being a professor of babysitting involve different skill sets and preferences.
http://www.utilitarian.net/singer has a lot more.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

On wednesday i went for a meeting with the raccoon creek folks up in broad ripple.
Broad ripple is like the straight bar ghetto of indy, and is ordinarily way out of bicycle range - it was a 15 mile round trip. So while I was there I stopped into karenoke at the mine shaft before moving on to the vogue. Karen, the second best kareoke jock in indy, opened her show with a little ditty that I felt compelled to track down. Here is da vinci's notebook, a capella, with 'enormous penis'.

I read on the internet [so it must be true] that austrailia [or some state thereof?] wants to ban suicide instructions on the internet. now, i've been on the internet pretty much non-stop for the past 14 years, and never run across such a thing.
sounds overblown.
postscript: read the comic,www.loserzcomic.com, but don't follow the links.
not safe for work even tho it's all text: http://www.tuckermax.com/tuckertriesbuttsex.html
three stories later i find out he's a law student.. kinda figures. at Duke, so he's probably clerking for the supreme court right about... now.
sample graf:
Here is where taking econ classes about game theory at the University of Chicago helps out with real-life game. This is a classic example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma; if I keep paying attention to the Blonde and try to capture my small chance to fuck her, I will probably fail and then I get no pussy, and the group gets no lesbian action at the strip club, because neither will come with us. Everyone loses.
link that started this cascade: http://www.buzzcomix.net/index.php?from=1&to=72&bannershow=10#eruditebaboon

Thursday, March 10, 2005

well the content's qustionable, but it has a cute robot and frequent bondage innuendo, so i'll check it out further later.
i see a trend where most of ther new additions to the blogroll are webcomics.
i guess i could add ninomania too, and clean up a few links that don't work.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Shawn Brady busted at airport with hash pipe.
Now who will Belle go to the prom with? Like sand thru the hourglass...

I don't know; I've never Kippled.

Volokh is looking for short tales of free speech.
Somebody quoted Tim Slagle at him:

"Having attacked the First Amendment with his bill to regulate
political speech and the Second Amendment with his campaign
against the nonexistent gun-show loophole, word has it that
Sen. John McCain is going for the hat trick: He plans to
introduce legislation requiring Americans to quarter troops in
their houses in times of peace."

Slagle is a stand-up philosopher, a modern day lenny bruce.

Sweden reaches the moon.
February 28

SMART-1: Reporting For Scientific Lunar Duty

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) SMART-1 spacecraft reached its operational orbit on February 27. The probe’s electric propulsion engine has been switched off.

This week will be used to determine the exact whereabouts of the ESA lunar orbiter as it circuits the Moon, along with instrument checkout and calibration – all in preparation for an extensive lunar science data collecting phase, said Bernard Foing, Chief Scientist for ESA’s science program.

ESA's SMART-1 mission was extended by one year, pushing back the mission end date from August 2005 to August 2006.

The European spacecraft is expecting company around the Moon. Probes from Japan, India, China, as well as from the United States are under development. “We hope that SMART-1 will indeed serve as precursor to the new lunar exploration fleet,” Foing added.

SMART-1’s electric thruster has worked very well, exceeding its specifications, noted Sven Grahn, Vice President Engineering & Corporate Communications for the Swedish Space Corporation, the prime contractor for SMART-1.
The space race is entering a new phase, in which travel between planets is still out of reach for individuals and corporations, but any developed nation can play.
The ion drive, ten times more efficient than rocket fuel, is the other big news of this flight. 10,000 mpg.

In other space news,
Ciftcioglu, a Universities Space Research Association researcher at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, reported that nanobacteria were found to multiply five times faster in microgravity compared to normal gravity on Earth. The finding supports earlier discoveries that microbes have radically different behavior in weightless environments.

OK, not just developed nations: the university of alaska has a space program.
Poker Flats rocket field has been the site of several thousand rocket launches for NASA. A 70 foot rocket crashed and burned the other day, 28 miles up. It would have gone 500 miles into space. Strange that we hear so little about this.

Monday, March 07, 2005

my mom's cousin jeanne crain. found while looking for a judy garland pic.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Here, in the dreaded pdf format, is a transcript of the 10 commandments oral argument, via howard.
That'll keep me busy as I try to avoid some other work I should be doing.
This is interesting, this is the official alderson transcript, obtained by AP weeks before it will show up on the scotus site, unless they've posted it early since the last time i looked.

Meanwhile at my other blog, http://ballots.blogspot.com I've posted a bit about a rumble going on between me, brad smith and declan, and the blogoverse, versus Trevor Potter and so called reform community.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Local man busted robbing people he had lured via ebay.
Horne is charged with robbery and conspiracy under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence, and for his partners' alleged use of firearms during the crimes.
I'm not familiar with the Hobbes Act. I wonder if it can be used against government officials who interfere with interstate commerce, by, for example, trying to regulate the internet.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I am not entirely conviced new crescat raffi is for real.
I await his thoughts on veal before I speculate further.

update: mystery solved. raffi is waddling thunder, and vice versa.

OK, I'm gonna call this one.
No ten commandments on the statehouse lawn.
Roll the stone away.
Possible dissents from Scalia, Thomas, C.J., and Kennedy is who knows where, but there's a solid 5. They get it. What's more, they are going to do it in a way that lets us know "under god" will be upheld as ok.

Scalia's vote is unclear. He's been the most pro- commandments at oral argument, but:
He believes the ten c. are religious in nature, deeply so. This is not Santa Clause on the court house lawn. He is a Catholic; the versions being litigated are Protestant.
I can't sort out how he feels about the incorporation doctrine - he sometimes claims not to believe in substantive due process, and the incorporation of the establishment clause is all about substantive due process, unless he's going to ground it in privileges and immuntiies, which would be odd. But maybe the subsantive due process he doesn't believe in is only the unincorporporated kind. He'll write seperately, and be angry at somebody.


At a few points during two hours of arguments and questions in the two cases, the justices and the lawyers mentioned the Ten Commandments displays above their heads -- one showing Moses with a tablet of Hebrew writing, the other tablets with 10 Roman numerals.
There's a key difference - the Supreme Court's version is in hebrew, or just the numbers 1-10, rather than a protestant version.

Two very good posts by Volokh on state constitutional law, specifically why didn't Missouri rely on the state constitution for its problematic second-guessing of whether executing juveniles is constitutional? He comes up with some possible answers to that one.
I would say generally that Missouri is not a groundbreaker on state constitutional law. There is a tendency in Missouri to say that police power trumps the state constitution - which is obviously incoherent. State con law is not taught at Missouri Law Schools (maybe at wash u, I haven't checked) and is not on the bar exam.
I know, from eugene's post, that the state issues were raised by defendant. I don't know how well they were briefed or argued. Sometimes they just get a footnote or are treated as an afterthought, and too often the court treats them that way too.

I'm hoping for news about oral arguments in the 10 commandments cases.
Nothing yet (at 1:20 indiana time) from scotusblog or jewish buddha. The AP story by Hope Yen is a little thin. I know a guy who was a plaintiff in one of the indiana cases, and a guy who has litigated 12 of them.
The merits are certainly interesting, but there's also some possibility the court will revise the lemon test.
Hmm what's this about hiv being researched to use to cure cancer? (wanders off distractedly)

In both the Texas and Kentucky cases, the text of the Bible used is the King James Version of Exodus 20:1-17, says Flinn. But there are three different sets of the Commandments in the Bible alone: Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21; and Exodus 34:11-26. There is also a variant in Leviticus 19 and Exodus 34 that contains the Ritual Decalogue and is important to devout Jews.

The Ten Commandments are often referred to as the Decalogue. This is a word derived from the Greek deka, which means ten, and logos, which means word.

"The question now becomes: Which list merits hanging on the wall and who has the authority to decide this? Orthodox Jews assert that there are actually 613 mitzvot or commandments throughout the Torah. Why not include all of these?" asks Flinn.

3:30: ah, here's something from scotusblog now.

Porter Goss, International Man of Mystery, v. John Doe. aka Tenet v D'oh.

The supreme court this morning unanimously reversed a lower court today.
Which lower court, I wondered? Hey whaadaya know, it's the Ninth Circuit.
Issue: can an unwritten deal with the spooks be enforced? no.

like slashdot for energy news.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cherokee People Cherokee Tribe v. Leavett
The other case the court announced today is dull, in that it's an accounting dispute, but rare in that it doesn't allow the government to screw over the Indians like usual.

or, 123 you're dead.
The court decided today... ok the court announced today. I don't know when it decided... that it is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment to execute those who were 16 or 17 at the time of the crime. It was close, 5-4, the usual split, with Kennedy as the majority author and deciding vote.
I don't have strong feelings either way. The guy was no good. He'll do life in Potosi.
Heck I wouldn't want to do life in Potosi outside the prison. You ever been to Potosi? It's like Martinsville, but less civilized.
Two things of note about this case.
It highlights the tension between two wings of the court. There's the evolving penumbras set, which looks at legislative trends and what Europe is doing these days.
That's judicial activism - the federal government is telling the states what to do, and the judicial branch is essentially legislating. Usually I'm in favor of that.
123 people have been killed for crimes committed as juveniles since the last case 15 years ago. Were they rightly or wrongly killed?
Here, I'm neutral.
The other side says, hang 'em all, it's what the founders would have done.
The eighth amendment's cruel and unusual clause textually incorporates the evolving standards approach - Scalia disagrees. *
There's at least a reasonable argument 'unusual' means today, not 1870 or 1780.
Since the last decision 15 years ago, even dictatorships have stopped formally executing kids. Often it's been outsourced and privatized.
I'm not strongly opposed to killers being killed. I don't think the government - e.g. missouri - does a very good job of it. This case means fewer innocent kids will plead guilty to soemthing they didn't do because they a) can't afford a lawyer and b) are scared of the death penalty.

Anyway, the point of this blog entry was that I'd been waiting to see if the court would do what it did here. Because I think it's time to revisit Ingraham v Wright.
That case held that government agents can assault citizens without a hearing.
The court said there's no eighth amendment issue because they haven't been found guilty of anything. That's absurd, to say punishment isn't punishment, but that does take it outside the 8th a zone, leaving a due process claim and my innovation, a 13th A claim.

* update: some guy named will baude has a pretty good post looking into this issue further at crescat.

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