Sunday, July 31, 2005

The french fry case:

At Heidi Bond's, Paul Gowder is in debate with Will Baude.
This comment of mine wouldn't post:
I think Paul has the better of this one.
Precedent exists on both sides. A skilled judge should have no trouble writing this opinion either way - it's an open question. It is a case of first impression, not another Atwater.
It's a due process case under the 5th.
The invocation of equal protection of fundamental rights requiring phrasing the question the right way, which plaintiffs did not.
Do minors have a liberty interest of freedom from arbitrary and capricious arrest by the federal government?
is closer to a way to frame the issue.
feel free to throw in "while traveling to the nation's capital."

Cleburne, Lawrence, Romer, Anderson, provide a basis for "rational basis with teeth" Locknerism.
It is a mistake to point to deferential "rational basis" review when fundamental rights, including personal autonomy and travel to the seat of government are at risk.

I do not see that Robert's decision here is compelled by the precedents. Rather, it may express his personal preferences, which would be troubling, or may indicate a lack of creativity, which would be troubling.
I am not sure of my conclusions.
I also don't know how Roberts will write once on the court as an equal. But he will probably give at least some weight to stare decisis, so it is important what he currently thinks the case law says.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

giant mouse strikes again, 60 injured.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Via Boing-boing, webcomic Everybody Loves Eric Raymond.
Premise: Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Eric Raymond share an apartment. Hilarity ensues. I like Eric Raymond, I like webcomics, I hate Everybody Loves Raymond*, so this works for me, at least in the short term. Disclaimer: there is no Eric conspiracy.
TINec. I should trademark that.
* it could have been a good show, with Ray Romano as writer and anybody else playing Raymond.

update: turns out my brother, who is a sort of unix wizard, knows raymond and stallman and torvalds personally.

Instapundit endorses scientific socialism.
"While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases," Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. "Therefore, I believe the president's policy should be modified."
I'm with Frist.

The US is a mixed economy. It is both the world's largest socialist economy, and the largest market economy. That's not "free market", but is a market. About half of scientific research is funded by the federal government, although the data is inexact, and we could quibble with what counts as scientific research or not. The result is a weird symbiosis. While on the one hand crushingly high taxation (about 40%, where we know from the laffer curve that anything over about 28% is counterproductive and reduces overall revenue)keeps the economy crippled and a shadow of what it could be, much of what the market economy is doing, science-wise, is commercializing ideas developed in government funded labs. While a dollar spent by government is only about half as efficient as a dollar in the market, both approaches do contribute to the advancement in science. In the short term, it would be disruptive to end all government spending on science, or sharply limit it to what's useful to promote government functions. Russia, certainly, hasn't recovered from the downsizing of government there, and is still a mess. But in the longer term, our best hope is to starve the beast, limit the federal government to caretaker status,
so that the market economy can flourish, and bring the singularity in our lifetimes.
Instapundit seems to want both a hugely instrusive government that does hard science stuff, and to enjoy civil liberties. That's an old liberal mistake. You can have one or the other. End of rant.
My cold isn't getting better, and I feel pretty woozy, and have stuff I need to go do today, sigh.

" Half-Bakered The government took my property and all I got was this lousy blog." is the motto of a blog instapundit points to, re a story on Tennessee senate hopeful Rep. Harold Ford.
Maybe, what with the post-Kelo hoopla stil going on, it would be worthwhile for me to document problems I've been having with the government taking my property. A house torn down because it wasn't pretty enough, several cars stolen, etc. Or not. So this is a placeholder for now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Backstoke of the west: episode 3 badly translated from chinese.

Word for the day: loxodrome.
Noun 1. loxodrome - a line on a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle; the path taken by a ship or plane that maintains a constant compass direction.
As used by Splunge at Volokh here.

First they ignore you, then they mod you +1 Funny, then they mod you down, then you win. I found this amusing and poignant.
It's a slashdot paraphrase of Gandhi.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I've been prequalified to apply for geek of the day. Apparently it's not just spam. I might enter.

Axis of evil: China shores up failing Mugabe regime.

Comment forum is down again. Not that anyone ever commented. Getting skeptical of these free forums that aren't stable; still committed to the idea of never pay for anything online.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lawyer jokes.

Sandra Bell v. City of Toronto, in which Judge Fairgrieve held on Charter grounds that Canadian citizens were entitled to naturalize the land and create wild gardens resembling the original terrain with native plants, regardless of any aesthetic dictates of city or provincial or federal statutes. This was held to be part of freedom of expression. The case was supported by the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
That's neat. I'm in an ongoing fight with the local zoning thugs about whether it's illegal for me to have flowers and trees on my property. I'm looking for something else, whether there is a state action requirement for free speech under the 1982 canadian constitution.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bolling for Lockner at Volokh.
It's not that volokh needs traffic from me, it's just i feel a need to post something every now and then. It relates to the Roberts thing. He's a tabula rossa, so we read into him what we hope or fear ... will he vote to overrule roe? enforce the second amendment? bring back substantive due process? Probably he'll be bland and mainstream, like Souter or Breyer, but with his brains and Thomas's willingness to rethink things and look to the text, they could be a powerful combo.

Added jay manifold's voyage to arcturus to the blogroll. Instapundit > www.transterrestrial.com >voyage.
Topics include space, kansas city, liberty. For some reason i'd thought it wasn't being updated. Jay is, among other things, devoutly and sincerely christian - without being annoying about it. Send him your manifold jokes.
It's hot and I have a cold and expect I'll do nothing all week again, so blogging will be sparse, unless I end up blogging a lot in the process of doing nothing.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any the worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.
Some Orwell I haven't read, hat tip slashdot.
The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bicycle-powered wifi.

Monkey Law series on Kelo.

More Roberts stuff:
Went to catholic school, is catholic.
Grew up in Long Beach Indiana. A Long Beach ice tea has grapefruit juice instead of coke.
Was his dad in a union at the steel mill? - nope.
Adopted kids, cute. So this is a nod to pro-life types. Wife is a Feminists for Life leader and a lawyer. Is she a real feminist though?

Note yellow fringe on flag.

Indy star article on local roots. Attended boading school. His dad was the top boss at the steel mill where he worked summers. another article.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Giant squirrel attacks old lady

Kelo fallout continues, reports drudge.

Unless there's more to it, this is wrong:

# Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly [official website] has rejected a proposed ballot initiative which aims to repeal the state's new embryonic stem-cell research law. Reilly found the law religious in nature and stated that the state constitution and caselaw say that any law relating distinctively to religion can not go before voters. The law [text], which was passed in May 2005 over the Governor's veto, promotes embryonic stem-cell research in the state, but allows medical staff with "sincerely held religious practices or beliefs" exemption from such research. The Boston Herald has local coverage.

My posts on John Roberts were inadvertantly posted to my other blog at ballots.blogspot.com and i'm feeling too lazy to move them at the moment.

“He had a Midwestern reserve about not showing off how smart he was.”
Roberts, who was born in Buffalo, New York, moved from his hometown of Buffalo, New York, to Indiana after second grade
. He's at least a millionaire.
With a bit more research, it seems like he's a conservative - but what flavor?
He's smart, and knows history.
Might turn out to be a good choice, might not. He might well be chief justice material, depending on timing. All for now.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Notes for a post about requesting FBI files:
is a link to a site that will auto-generate a FOIA letter.
At Volokh, there's a discussion going on about NYT coverage of a dispute between ACLU and FBI.
update from the stalker: http://www.glr.com/fbiform.txt
FBI Headquarters
J Edgar Hoover Bldg
10th & Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20535

When pigs fly.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

In his weekly radio address, President Bush said his eventual Supreme Court nominee would be a "fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values."
Luckily, he's probably lying.

Update: Now that there's been a nominee, I have to retract this, not gonna redact this. John Roberts is a fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values.6/21/05.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Fourth Amendment, anonymous publications, general warrants.

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Oren Kerr links to a short version (pdf) of his article on the fourth amendment. I liked his exploration of the early history and caselaw.
Wilkes v Wood was an early case in which a member of parliament was anonymously publishing anti-king literature. He recovered on a trespass action when his stuff was searched under a general warrant. I wanted to make a note of the case in reference to my anonymous literature cases. I haven't, yet, made 4th amendment claims in those cases, because they are so strongly winnable under the First Amendment, but I might want to do so in the future.
The defendants claimed a right, under precedents, to force persons houses, break open escrutores, seize their papers, &c. upon a general warrant, where no inventory is made of the things thus taken away, and where no offenders names are specified in the warrant, and therefore a discretionary power given to messengers to search wherever their suspicions may chance to fall. If such a power is truly invested in a Secretary of State, and he can delegate this power, it certainly may affect the person and property of every man in this kingdom, and is totally subversive of the liberty of the subject.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Litmus tests:
President Bush will shortly be choosing a nominee for one or more Supreme Court spots. Meanwhile, over much of the country, judges get elected. Bush, and voters, should be asking a few basic questions.
Does the constitution protect commercial speech?
How strong of a state interest is required before the government can quarter troops in private homes? Can a state quarter troops in private homes?
If someone takes your stuff and gets caught, how much compensation is just?
If there is a right of privacy between doctor and patient, does that extend to medical marijuana?
What does "infringe" mean?
What is the freedom of the press?
What standard should be applied to protect privileges and immunities of federal citizenship? What are some examples of those immunities?
What are some rights protected by the 9th amendment?
What should happen to government employees who violate their promise to uphold the constitution?
Nothing magical about these particular questions, but they are the sorts of these we would want to know.

Darleen at redstate.org has a few questions hereself:
At anytime, when you attended grade school, did you ever willingly participate in a game called "smear the queer"?
# Do you eat or have you ever enjoyed eating fried chicken or watermelon?
# Have you ever, in public or private, refered to a fetus as an "unborn child"?
# Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of, or affiliated with, the Boy Scouts of America?
# Do you fly the American Flag on your private residence at any other time besides National holidays?
(My answers are yes to each of these.)

Interesting instapundit law review article on what if the second amendment applied to states rather than to the people.

Instapundit points to a powerline story about Aero America, yet another CIA front. Powerline, in a story with some teeth to it, is criticizing the New York Times for outing the airline, as part of the Rove/Plame affair. The NYT may have put agents in harm's way. Publishing troop movements during wartime (which some would say this is, others not) is supposed to be one of the few limits on the free press.

But I went to Sunday school with a kid named Rob Weldon. Rob's father was a tugboat captain, a burly jovial Irishman of the sort I'm reading about in Honey Fitz. So it made sense for Rob to grow up to be an airplane pilot. Rob was shot down over Angola. He didn't know the small charter company he worked for was a CIA front. That's the story as I heard it at a class reunion from a girl who used to date him. I don't expect to ever get more details.

When I was in my teens, I used to hitchhike a lot between Dover Delaware and the main campus in Newark. On rt 896 near Middletown, I'd pass Summit Aviation, a small charter company owned by one of the DuPonts. Another CIA front. I'm sitting here wondering how much to write about what little I know about what my parents did in the war - I'll leave it at that. The general point I'm trying to get at is there's something stasi-like about our culture. Militarism is pervasive, and often covert. So, net, I think it's valuable that the Times can and does publish this sort of thing, and that bloggers like powerline can jump on it when the Times screws up.
Disclosure: I useta work for the Times. Further disclosure: but only as a paperboy in college, and not a very good one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Placeholder for a post on IJ and Kelo.
In 1994 I wrote, in a master's thesis [link], about Clint Bolick's plans for IJ, and how that model could be used by other public interest law firms, such as the one I wanted to have about free and equal elections, fighting for minor party ballot access under state constitutions.
For a long time it seemed like IJ was more bark than bite, well-meant, but not getting very far in advancing its agenda of restoring economic liberty via the P&I clause. But this has been a breakthrough year. Not so much for the case they won, about the economic liberty to sell wine online, but for the case they lost. I've written before about how they won by losing - getting 4 and 1/3 votes in a case that turned on an obscure unnoticed two words in the 5th amendment - public use. But the real victory came after the case was handed down, in the furor of publicity. Maybe it a matter of lucky timing - it was a last big case of the O'Connor court, too soon to say Rehnquist court. It looks as if Connecticut, embarrassed at being caught in the corrupt game of public-private partnerships pioneered by Mussolini, will act to ban such takings. Tennessee, or was it Oklahoma, acted to legalize casket sales after IJ "lost" a case there.
There was even the germ of a fun suggestion - Connecticut could just abolish the city of New London altogether. Municipal charters can be revoked, and no compensation is due. The city is the creature of the state. I haven't heard yet, but I'm guessing the New London city council will get the hint. Meanwhile, congress is looking at legislation to prevent the squandering of federal funds for these sorts of private takings, and other state legislatures are likely to act. IJ has tapped into a strong national consensus. Conservatives value private property and the sanctity of the home, while liberals like to be seen as standing up for the little guy against the big corporations. This post could use some minor revision and enabled links, but that was the general idea.
I was awoken before noon today. My landlord had gotten threatening letters from the zoning goons, so he sent a guy out who got my lawn mower running, and we trimmed shrubs and hauled trash and murdered flowers and trees until we got the place looking more presentable. In return, my rent will go up, and the ozone problem gets worse. That's the kind of uncompensated regulatory taking I live with on a day to day basis here.

Mswati of Swaziland rejects constitution, Prince Albert of Monaco takes throne. Hat tip How Ampallang.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The japanese have already started asteroid mining.

Early days, but I could see Birch "Evan" Bayh beating out Biden in New Hampshire in '08. The worst possible, and thus most likely, GOP choices would be McCain and Jeb Bush. Not that I know anything about Jeb in particular; it's just that dynasties and republics rarely mix well.

Three cheers for moral anarchy.
Robert Bork, in the wall street journal, says that O'Connor and her associates are hippies running amok. He advocates instead sharia, majoritarian fundamentalism imposed by force. He seems not to have heard of the declaration of independence or the american revolution. Some astute people have suggested that his voice is one of bitterness and dissent, jilted, and that had he been on the court he might have espressed himself more moderately. This could be true. But my god, the man is a monster. He has earned his place in the language - he was well and properly Borked. I am, usually, a fan of Justice Thomas, and sometimes of Scalia, and usually of O'Connor and Kennedy. But save us from the Borks - in that instance, the Senate's advice and consent function functioned, and kept this unfit man off the court. I hope Bush will choose well. I have little reason to expect him to. I will probably be in support of the nominee while she or he is unfairly attacked by PFAW and suchlike. But I'm glad the process is there.

cat people:
By contrast, the infected men appeared to suffer from the “alley cat” effect: becoming less well groomed undesirable loners who were more willing to fight. They were more likely to be suspicious and jealous. “They tended to dislike following rules,” Flegr said.

He also discovered that people infected with toxoplasma had delayed reaction times — and are at greater risk of being involved in car accidents. “Toxoplasma infection, could represent a serious and highly underestimated economic and public health problem,” he said.
via instapundit.

Book 34: Tom Brokaw, A long way from home: growing up in the american heartland.
Nice. Light, but nice. I enjoy rural americana, here South Dakota 1950s, and this is well-told.
Amazon has used copies for a penny, not sure how that works, make it up in shipping charges? For Book 35, I've opened "Honey Fitz" by John H Cutler, 1962. Not sure if I'll read it. I'm guessing it's in the camelot school, a bowdlerized version, but more detailed than what I've read of Fitzgerald before. I'm interested in learning more about why he was kicked out of congress in the 1920s.
I was at the discount bookstore at the seymour outlet mall and passed up two good Kennediana books, one a set of collected letters from JPK, the other focused on the sons of the current generation. Instead for the same money I bought a marble mortor and pestle and some underwear. One of the things I liked about the Brokaw was the frugality of the midwestern post-depression farm family. I try to be frugal in that sort of way, at least about small stuff like not buying books. I was offered a car today for $400, and haven't decided if I need a second car.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A link to an article on jury nullification.
Profsblog is not on my usual reading list. It is about a click away, linked to at volokh and crescat.
Kaimi, presumably a lawprof, is a contributor there, sometimes in his pajamas.
He's written an article, in the dreaded pdf pormat, comparing jury nullification to how juries award punitive damages. As much as any, it's an exploration about what's good about jury nullification, which is a meme i'm always happy to promote.
Cue indiana bill of rights section 19:
Section 19. Criminal cases--Jury determination
Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.
Section 20. Civil cases--Right of trial by jury
Section 20. In all civil cases, the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

update:This just in! Rehnquist didn't resign today.

What's shakin' chiefy baby? - customary greeting of Rehnquist by Justice Marshall.
In the "you heard it here last" department, buzz is that the Chief steps down tomorrow. Unconfirmed.

I started to write a post wishing wil wheaton good luck in the world series of poker, which started today. I am now writing a post hoping wil had a good time, and material for his next book, and better luck next time. Poker is one of those games I don't play.
Only chess, monopoly, elections.
Meanwhile Patri Freidman is still in with 53K in chips.
Update sunday: patri's out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Possum Living:
On slashdot, somebody asked how i can live without a job. In my response, I mentioned Possum Living, a good book I read once. The guy wrote back and said he was enjoying reading it - turns out it's free online.
Ironicly yesterday I talked to one of my old bosses and may have a job again soon.

Lefttoright has been hacked in such a way that comments have been turned off by the management. That's a shame, because it is/was one of those blogs where all the action is in the comments.
update: a neat solution here at http://left2rightcomments.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

today's punchlines department:
filthy lies: yay i'm a slabber of meat
sinfest: that's worse than the devil's deal!
penny arcade: gnaaah!
alcoac14: gee thanks mom.
friendly hostility: i don't have a swimsuit.
megatokyo: kannazuki kutone.
liliane.keenspace.com What a cat!
I've never seen this one before:
This link from liliane lists hundreds, mostly gay, comics. In case I ever have an extra year to kill.

Doonesbury strip was attacking bloggers ....He has Mark on the radio getting the better of a blogger named "Slamz88." Mark says:
"Isn't blogging basically for angry, semi-employed losers who are too untalented or too lazy to get real jobs in journalism?"
In my case, that's fairly descriptive.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I've been spending wayy too much time on slashdot lately, but somehow i'd missed that wil wheaton finally has his interview up.
It's hard to talk about what I think my greatest achievement is, because I feel like I'm seriously jerking off . . . and if I'm going to do that, I'm building a wishlist and charging memberships.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm going nuts trying to track down the origin of "friend of dorothy" (hint: nothing to do with Judy Garland.. dates from 1880). Meanwhile here's a link:
to an article on a radio play by dorothy sayers, the lord peter whimsey author. The Man Born to Be King. Apparently it was the passion of the christ/jesus of montreal of its time.
Back to the search.

An hour later I still got nothin'. However, this guy has an interesting take on judicial nominations - he was an aide to strom thurmond in opposing abe fortas.

happy independence weekend.
i found that pic at wickedtempations.com linked at dr susan block's (not very worksafe) while i was looking to see what effect the extreme video case might have on a possible gonzales nomination. stayed home this weekend to get work done instead of going to a homesteader's campout, but didn't get the work done. also forgot to go to incon, a local sf con.
Now this is interesting: Dr. Block has a foundation to work with bonobos, pygmy chimps. She says the bonobos have a lot to teach us about avoiding violent conflict through vigorous pansexuality. Meanwhile their habitat is the congo, which for about 150 years has been immersed in genocidal conflict, so the bonobos are seriously endangered and may go extinct.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"They don't need me lobbying on this stuff - they know what to do," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group with close ties to the White House. "My only recommendation is that they nominate someone who is 12 or 13 years old," to ensure as long a conservative legacy as possible. - New York Times.

My comments at slashdot on the Michigan statute which criminalizes some emails to kids:
Errors in post, link to text of void statute. (Score:4, Insightful)
by arbitraryaardvark (845916) on Saturday July 02, @10:52AM (#12968775)
(http://vark.blogspot.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday February 17, @08:49PM)
It's not a law, and it doesn't ban spam.

It bans some email. It doesn't tell you which email; you have to guess. Lots of spam is ok under the statute. It's not limited to bulk email, one is enough. Have you verified everyone on your contacts list isn't actually a michigan minor? How exactly did you verify that? It's not limited to commercial email.
http://www.isipp.com/michigan-email-child-protecti on-registry-law.php [isipp.com]
There's the text, which was missing from the main post. Do you understand it? Does your lawyer understand it? Are you in compliance?

The statute is not a law. One of the basic rules of american law established by Marbury v Madison is that an unconstitutional statute is not law.
This statute appears to be unconstitutional for the reasons discussed in Cyberspace v Engler, which stuck down Michigan's previous attempt at banning the internet because of the kiddies.
http://www.cyberspace.org/lawsuit/ [cyberspace.org]

Some of the fun provisions in the act:
they can make you come to michigan with all your business records to answer questions.
They can seize your computers.
If they were serious about protecting kids, they wouldn't be charging a fee to check the list.
Oh and it's not just parents who can add names - government officials can add kids' names, probably without telling them.
For fun, check the linking policy.
http://www.michigan.gov/som/0,1607,7-192-26915-208 9--,00.html [michigan.gov]
It's a shakedown.
It's not constitutional.
It doesn't protect against spam.
It bans some email but not others.
Spam is a real problem. This isn't a real solution.
Personally, getting on the federal and state do not call lists has been great for me.
This isn't like that.
Don't be a dupe.
This is what we fought Reno v ACLU for - to keep the government from shutting down the internet.

restoring the lost constitutions:
I am an advocate of state constitutions as sources of rights.
These constitutions are mostly lost - people don't read them, lawyers don't argue them, judges don't enforce them.
Randy Barnett, in discussing the lost clauses of the federal constitution at volokh,
makes three points, which would also be applicable to state con's.
LESSON ONE: Watch the switch from a list of ignored textual provision to good and bad results.
LESSON TWO: Watch the switch from meaningful scrutiny to extremely deferential "rational basis" scrutiny, as a means of continuing to ignore portions of the text.
LESSON THREE: Watch for an appeal to "precedent" to attack a nominee who may favor reviving the original meaning of portions of the text----that have been ignored for far too long.

Friday, July 01, 2005

You heard it here last: O'Connor retires.

typekey has been down all day so i wasn't able to post this comment at some blog:
I want condi?
Unlikely: Nominate Hillary. She either says yes, or no. If yes, steps down from the senate, doesn't get confirmed, starts running for pres.
or, nominate, say, JR Brown, and announce Richard Epstein as the back-up choice. Easterbrook is younger than Posner.
left field: Rush Limbaugh. Laura Bush. Highest bidder.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?