Monday, August 29, 2005

Volokh's paradox redacted:
I had written:
Volokh's paradox:
Metaphors are falsehoods. If they were literally true, they wouldn’t be metaphors.
That's a metaphor, isn't it?

Volokh responds
Unless there's either a deep joke or a deep linguistic point I'm
missing, I think the answer is "no.'

The authorities seem to bear out his position, and I have learned not to challenge him as to matters of fact within his areas of expertize. So I will no longer call this Volokh's Paradox.
As a matter of my own usage and opinion, a statement can be literally true, but be like a metaphor when it presents an odd juxtaposition, a counter-intuitive way of thinking about things, and I would call that a metaphor, but your english teacher wouldn't. I'm not coming up with good examples. "If a Republican is an elephant, a Democrat is an ass." True in a sense, but arguably a metaphor. I've mixed metaphors there, and should have chosen a cleaner example. "A Democrat is a donkey" is a metaphor in the general sense, but contains a metaphor in my sense, a Democrat is a jerk. Not that all Democrats are jerks, I was looking for an example.
A simile is like a metaphor; a metaphor is a simile.
Aha - A metaphor is false, by definition, yet it contains a deeper truth.
"An apple is a volcano" is not a metaphor, or at least it is one I would need explained; it's just a mistake, or here a deliberately false statement.
"An orange is a golden apple of the sun" is a metaphor; it's a reasonable way to describe an orange to someone who doesn't know what oranges are but knows apples.
Volokh has argued, I believe, that the freedom of speech does not protect false statements, or at least knowingly false statements.
For a moment I thought I found a flaw in that argument, but I think we would both agree if a statement is false in one sense, but true in another, that is protected by the freedom of speech.

Another Reuters journalist assasinated by US troops today.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 52 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began in March 2003. Also 21 media support staff, including drivers, translators, and security guards have been killed in the line of duty.
Reuters has been especially hard hit.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Heck, if we can put up with Mardi Gras, we can put up with a hurricane.''- old lady
"So, imagine you're the poor person who decides not to evacuate: Your house will disintegrate around you. The best you'll be able to do is hang on to a light pole, and while you're hanging on, the fire ants from all the mounds -- of which there is two per yard on average -- will clamber up that same pole. And, eventually, the fire ants will win." - CNN
Monday morning- Storm is weakening but on target to hit New Orleans. Winds down to 135mph, waves only 10 ft. Legislature jumps in to make things worse:
On Sunday, officials in Attorney General Charles Foti's office said they were investigating about a half-dozen cases of price gouging, including increased prices on gasoline-powered generators and hotel rooms. The Louisiana Legislature recently passed a law stiffening penalties for price gouging when hurricanes are in the gulf.
Downgraded to category 3 says sploid.com. Winds 125 mph as storm center moves into New Orleans over the next hour. (It's 10:30 Indiana time, is that 11:30 New Orleans time? If so storm is there now.)
2pm - downrated to category 2, winds 105 mph. Will check to see if new orleans above water.
Looks like the levies held, no massive loss of life. A few parts of town are under 5 feet of water. A million people without power, billions in property damage, but basicly new orleans escaped again - and might make more serious preparations for next time. 3pm: downgraded to category 1, winds and 10 inches of rain tearing through mississippi.

Haynesville cracks down:
(I don't usually follow small town southern news this closely, but I'm wondering if New Orleans will still be there tomorrow.)
Article about a new sheriff in town, instituting Guiliani-style tough love, vigorously enforcing noise ordinances, breaking up fights. That's good, if it's evenhanded. But I was concerned about "curfew violations" and "verbal warnings for low riding pants."
That probably crosses the line into abuse, and threatens the rest of the progress.

Remember "vote for the crook, it's important", in the race between Edwards and David Duke? Edwards, the crook, is in jail. His faithful wife, 40, was driving home from visiting him and was stopped for speeding. She had no license, and was arrested.
The cop then took her phone - perhaps she was calling her lawyer. She said she'd sue and would have his job. She now faces charges of intimidating a state employee, and, I think, interfering with an oficer or some such. Story.
I think her speech was protected. She can sue him, and is entitled to let him know that. He was the guy with the gun who had put her into his car and was taking away her phone - that's intimidation. She was protecting herself, her rights, her dignity.
I suspect that by charging her for priviledged speech, they've violated her rights under the state constitution - so she can sue him and try to get him fired. Can you tell I don't like cops much? Not excusing her speeding, and I wonder why she didn't have a license.

Pope attends nun-tossing festival, says Fark.

1000 iraqis released from abu graib concentration campus.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Note to self: make dentist appointment.

Something I just posted to a message board at stripcreator:

I've met these guys, sort of.
They are the westboro baptist church, which consists only of the extended family of (whatsisname, it'll come to me - fred phelps.).
The patriarch is a nutcase - we can only guess at what kind of childhood issues he had. he then abused his family members so severely they have stockholm syndrome - the only way they can make sense of what they've gone thru is to identify with the oppressor. [source: westword article, a denver alternative paper, circa 1985]
I met one of the grandsons online. He used to come into the #bisex channel (where i met my boyfriend 10 years ago) and flood and disrupt it, and i always tried to be friendly and reasonable - i figure hate the sin, love the sinner. At stonewall 25 I went up to their posse and said, "hi, is ben here?" and would have taken him to lunch or just chatted, but i guess they were afraid of me or something and um stonewalled.
The group is a wonderful advertisement for agnosticism and toleration of gays - they are so over the top, they embarrass the jerry falwell types, and demonstrate anthropologicaly how the "religious right" resembles this form of cult madness. (I'm somewhat religious, and hold antiauthoritarian views generally considered conservative, so this isn't a slam at the right in general, i'm referring to the 'god is a republican and hates fags and arabs' crowd.]

blog about editorial cartoons:

to orginal.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ebert the Answer Man:
Q. Re "Deuce Bigalow": You guys always seem puzzled how stuff like that gets made. Ya' know, there's a huge audience for this crap in America. That's why it keeps getting made. And yes, I'll admit that even these crap movies can have their funny moments. I live in Indianapolis and I know there's a bunch of Deuce Bigalow fans in this town. They're beer-guzzlin', dope-smokin', truck-drivin', pit-bull-ownin', head-shavin', ball-cap-wearin', crime-committin', jackass psychopaths whose parents (if there were any) didn't want to bother with the job of teaching and controlling them. Garbage in, garbage out, so the parents are probably just like their offspring. The United States is rife with them. It's ugly and it's increasingly one of the causes for the ruination of a once civilized, safe nation.
Tom McCullough, Indianapolis
A. Indianapolis also harbors many heroic, civilized and cultured citizens, as befits the home office of Steak n Shake.

I guess I agree with both of them.

It now seems less likely that my female roommate will be going on jerry springer, since last night she came home drunk, broke up yet again with male roommate, probably won't be back to get the message to fax her ID by the deadline.

Nixon Now: A kid named Nixon won the right to wear an anti-gay, anti-arab tshirt to school in Ohio. That's good news. I don't have to agree with his message to support his right to it. Via Howard. Similarly, I support the right of a "Redneck Woman" county singer to sing about chewing tobacco, skoal. Yuck. She's being threatened by the Tennessee Attorney General.

Nebraska ACLU loses 10 commandments case.
The facts were similar to Van Orden. I wonder how Van Orden is doing these days. Based on press reports, it seems the ACLU failed to raise claims under the Nebraska constitution, which is where the action these days in 10 commandments cases.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I was making a webcomic about a funny song I was reminded of by my lunch, but it turns out timbuc3 is more than just funny, so check it out.
You used to be a candle in the wind
Now you're a big shot in the dark
You used to think that love was the answer
Now it's just another big question mark
You used to believe in the power of music
And all that revolutionary stuff
Back when money was the root of all evil
Now you just can't seem to get enough

You had it right the first time

I generally try not to let too many details of my personal life intrude into this blog, which is mostly my take on memes bouncing around the blogosphere. But this one is too good to pass up. Just had a call from the Jerry Springer show. They want to put my roommates on the show. I live in the hood. The white people who live around here usually do so because their lives are so messed up they don't have other options - that's why I'm here, and leaving shortly.
My female roommate could fairly be described as trailer trash, the perfect Jerry Springer type. She bounces between here, her no account ex, and jail. The male roommate, who at one time was smart, hardworking, somewhat middle class, is in the last stages of a long slide into alcoholism. They've been sober most of the last few weeks, and making an effort, but are still pretty hopeless. I'm trying to get them out, so I can clean the house before moving, but I'm a soft touch to their tales of woe.
The ex is always stalking them, plotting his next move. It's been extremely disruptive for me, and not really worth the benefit of cutting the rent in half - back when they used to pay rent. Plus, since I don't watch tv, it's cheap entertainment.
This the first time I've dealt with Jerry Springer. I had a client once, Bobby Hildago-Kern, who had a call from Montel, but we turned it down, after the ambush he got from the Daily Show.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Economist Robert Fogel, winner of the Nobel Prize, recently told students at Cornell University that "half of you [may] live to celebrate your 100th birthday." Fogel's prediction goes well beyond standard projections, which envision today's college students living into their late seventies. instapundit.

At Volokh, Jim Lindgren discusses a forthcoming book by Justice Breyer. The comments section gets into a freewheeling discussion of theory. Today I'm doing a lot of blogging and chores around the house instead of getting writing assignments done.
This was what I commented:

Jim: The publishers will probably be happy to send you a review copy by tomorrow's mail.
Eh, et alia: This thread, which may be drifting off topic slightly, has inspired me to consider a 13th Amendment incorporation doctrine. The constitution prohibits involuntary servitude, and by implication, badges of slavery. Certain rights are implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, which, if denied, could be construed as badges of slavery. The right to write and read, the right to bear arms, the right to not have troops quartered in one's home, property taken without compensation, and so forth. I do not here address the abortion issue. A right of privacy is an aspect of liberty. The denial of liberty implicates badges of slavery.
OK, back to Breyer. With the exception of Eldrige, Breyer has yet to impress me much, and I'm not sure where he's going with the book. But I think he certainly has a point that one of the constitution's themes is concern with democratic process. Not only the first, 14th, 15th, 19th, poll taxes, term limits, voting age, succession, and so on show a deep concern with democratic process, which leaves some room to speculate about the intent of the ratifiers and what general principles might be indicated by these more specific changes. I don't like the view in Austin or McConnell that the rich have less of a right to speak than others, because often it is only the rich who can manage to litigate these issues against the deep pockets of the goverment; I do not object when rich parties establish democratic freedoms my poor clients can then rely on.

New Abu Graib scandal -
This just in. Sploid reports Wired reports a Reuters journalist has been arrested and is being held incommunicado at Abu Graib. His crime is committing acts of journalism, such as taking pictures. Will rightwing bloggers continue to deny that the army is targeting journalists? As a blogging journalist who has been tortured in US prisons, I say free Ali al-Mashhadani.

Update on police riot at rave in Utah: the first lawsuits have been filed.
Part of what I find interesting about this is that Sploid, a Tabloid-style web page, is able to go around a cover-up by the mainstream media, which downplayed the story and only gave the police version of events.
And instapundit more.

29 Lenny Bruce.
30 Andrew Young.
31 The one with the lobsters, Accelerondo.
32 The Deal.
33 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves town.
Unnumbered: Orwell. England your England. Essay, not whole book.
34: A long way from home, Tom Brokaw.
35 Honey Fitz.
unnumbered: Possum Living.
Unnumbered, Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway all the Way, Nelson Algren
36 The Kennedy Imprisonment
37 Dear Jack
[38?] I have started Saul Bellow's Herzog but might end up not reading it, it hasn't grabbed me yet.
Dear Jack, by Gunilla Von Post. NTY Review. Slate article: they don't know Jack.
Today, Kennedy scholars and debunkers can share a collective smirk at Manchester's naiveté, confident that 35 years and 500 books (by the Kennedy Library's rough count) have taught us all a thing or two; that our understanding of JFK, like the Kennedy literature itself, is rich, complex, ever expanding....
In Love, Jack, Gunilla von Post's slight memoir of a brief affair during the 1950s, JFK again has a winning grin, both "incandescent" and "offhand." (It fades only when he thinks of Jackie.) But in Kennedy's soul, where Hersh sees darkness, von Post, a stunning Swedish aristocrat, perceives only light.

This book can fairly be considered part of the Camelot school - it worships Jack as a knight rescuing a damsel, not that she was in any particular distress. Gunilla was an Swedish aristocrat (not so much in the aristocrats sense)who attended house parties and then as a trophy wife threw them. It's the story of their affair. He was married to Jackie, told her it was a loveless marriage and he wanted out, but his father thought that would be bad for his plan to be president. Apparently for a swedish aristocrat adultery is no big deal. How Melbournian. I've read maybe 20 or 40 of the 500 Kennedy books, and she is isn't mentioned in any of them, because she's a very minor episode. He had hundreds of women, some in love with him and expecting him to leave his wife any day, others hookers brought in the mob, with threats if they ever told they would wind up in a mental hospital like... Juanita Broadrick. It was some light reading in the tub, well worth the three dollars or so I paid for it - I'm trying to get a diversity of views to build up the big picture. Slate again:
Individually,none of these books tells us much about John F. Kennedy that we didn't already know. None, not even Hersh's best seller, will greatly alter Kennedy's reputation. Considered together, though, they underscore a truth about JFK: that he can't be reduced to a type. Suave and sleazy, cool and reckless--these contradictions raise important and troubling questions about his presidency....Jeff Shesol is author of Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud That Defined a Decade and the creator of Thatch, a nationally syndicated political cartoon strip.
That sounds like one I should read. Here's an amazon list by a kennedy obsessionist.
A book on the next generation, research I haven't done yet, but it looks like the pattern continue to play out - money, power, politics, journalism, sex, competition, fame, drugs, scandal, highs and lows. Takes the expression "crash and burn" literally at times.
Not sure what I'll be reading next. On target for 50 in 2005.

The opening band, Los Aardvark is a quintet from Blackwood, New Jersey. Check them out on www.myspace.com/losaardvark
1134 South 9th Street.
8PM Saturday, August 27th
(ok maybe not so great after all, just a bit of aardvark solidarity)
$4 All ages
Hat tip Delaware Law Office.
Delaware Law Office also has some serious entries about race-related incarceration rates, that might be worth a visit.

Nothing fails like secession:
My earlier post needs some elaboration.
As a matter of federal constitutional law, can a state leave the union?
Texas v White holds that it cannot, but I don't find the decision persuasive. It is history written by the victors, and assumes its conclusion.
It is needless to discuss, at length, the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause, regarded by herself as sufficient, is consistent with the Constitution of the United States. Id.
The argument in White that the articles of confederation create an indisovable union is interesting, but fails. The constitution supplanted the articles, so if a state cannot leave, there must be something in the text that says so.
The guarantee clause, of a republican form of government, fails. The government of Texas during the war of northern aggression was republican (not Republican.) Conventions, ratification by popular vote, election of legislators, selection of representatives to the Confederate states, and so forth, used democratic process.
The Union's objection wasn't that Texas was acting as a republic, but that it was.
White mentions in passing the ninth and tenth amendment's core ideas that rights are reserved to the states and the people, except those rights expressly delegated.
By looking to state constitutions in which the right to alter or abolish goverment is often the first paragraph, and by looking to the Declaration for the same principle, it would not be hard to argue the the right to exit is protected by the 9th and 10th, unless there is some text in the original constitution that settles the question.
Perhaps there is; we focus so much on the bill of rights sometimes we overlook the original text. But if so, what? Again, I've chosen not to accept the guarantee clause as the basis for a judicial holding on this issue, and courts have often held that that clause is a political question rather than a legal one. What else we got?
The issue is not some quaint historical point, but goes to the feeling in Dixie that they have been living under an occupation government for 100some years, and have many of the social problems that are often found in occupied territories. Texas v White gives some details on the post-war military occupation of texas. This was dispensed with later when Texas adopted a state constitution giving up the right to exit, but Texas patriots could reasonably claim this clause was the result of duress.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This post is spawned by two stimuli of today - one a flag i saw, and one a blog post I just read. At crescat, cres-cat Will writes well about secession in theory and Quebec, and also covers nullification of the federalist kind. This post not spell-checked, as will be evident.
He writes more about the law than politics of secession, and brings up the Supremacy Clause, and some nice paradoxes of how it had to have been a state to secede before it became the new county. The error, a common one, is in looking to the constitution. The federal constitution of 1789. Instead, the relevant document is the Declaration, of 1776, which is organic law underlying the constitution. No declaration, no constitution. The constitution gets its authority from having been duly ratified by the 12 states. 12? Yes, and now comes the flag.
Today I was in the Indianapolis City-County Building, wandering away from civil court three, when I paused in the second floor lobby and noticed a flag. Why it is there is another story for another day - something about juries, the other sort of nullification. It first caught my eye because it was the only flag in the whole godforsaken building that didn't have a yellow fringe. My wingnut friends find the fringe deeply symbolic, while I prefer to see a bit more in the way of empirical verification to that claim. But then I looked closer. Twelve white stars in a square, in the blue field in the upper left. Thirteen red and white stripes.
It took awhile to sort this out. This is not the flag of the Declaration, or of the war. It's not today's flag with 50. It has 12 stars, because at the adoption of the constitution and bill of rights, 12 states signed on. One, Rhode Island, hung back for a number of years. [update: not sure i have Rhode Island details rights."Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790" so apparently it just held out a couople years fort eh Bill of Rights to be added.] So the flag with 12 stars hangs in the lobby of Marion County city-county building, as a reminder of the bill of rights, specifically, the right to trial by jury. I'd never seen a flag lke that before. Marion, by the way, was Francis Marion, the terrorist. Mel Gibson's The Patriot is sort of losely based on Marion.
My conclusion, and I hope it's not too obscure, is that states have a right to secede, one which is prior to the adoption of the supremeacy clause. Otherwise we'd by flying the flag with 12 stars, and a yellow fringe.
See post below on the guy with the micronation inside Vienna.
My wingnut friend carol moore used to publish a newsletter on secession.
I'm from Delaware, which didn't exist until it seceded from Pennsylvania in 1776,
which we commemorate with the statue of Ceasar Rodney on a horse. Rodney didn't ride that horse - he was dying of cancer and rode in the coach in the back. This is how secession works - get away with it, then build statutes.

This article on the indiana do not call list prompted me to finally stay on the line long enough to get taken off the list, which took about an hour. I got some contact info for who to contact about asking that this problem be fixed. Shouldn't take an hour to get off the list. The list is broken because it not only blocks calls from telemarketers, but also blocks calls from people I do business with and want to be able to get calls from, which they did not disclose when I got on the list.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Troops attack civilans in Utah.
A few years ago, I was contacted by some rave organizers in Indiana who had been subjected to this sort of thing. They quickly decided I wasn't the sort of lawyer they wanted, a decision I can respect. As far as I know, they never did get a lawyer or have their legitimate claims redressed. In the process of looking into the case, I attended a rave and learned a bit about the illegal harrassment by authorities that goes on, so I'm inclined to believe the somewhat sensationalist Sploid version over the SLC Tribune's version, which mainly reprints the government's spin on the attack.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Vice squad discovers a micronation, landlocked within Austrian Vienna, with one resident.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I'm not sure which power ranger this was.
Former Child Star to Stand Trial for Murder
Prosecutors Say Man and Wife Threw California Couple Off Yacht
By Tori Richards, Reuters
Skylar Deleon once starred in the "Power Rangers" TV series.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (Aug. 16) - A former child actor and his wife were ordered to stand trial on Tuesday for the murder of a wealthy California couple who, prosecutors say, were tied to the anchor of their yacht and thrown overboard alive, never to be seen again.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley ordered 26-year-old Skylar Deleon, who once starred in the "Power Rangers" TV series, and his wife, 24-year-old Jennifer Henderson Deleon, to stand trial for the murders after a two-day preliminary hearing in Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles.

Also bound over for trial in the case, which baffled police for months as they searched for the missing couple, were a member of the Crips street gang and a prison guard who are accused of helping carry out a conspiracy to steal the 55-foot luxury yacht "Well Deserved."

"It's haunting to think these nice, loving people were trying to hold their breaths as they sank to the bottom of the ocean," Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said during the hearing. "This is as cold-blooded as it gets."

Prosecutors say Deleon came up with the plot after spotting the yacht for sale in a boating magazine last November and meeting owners Thomas Hawks, 57, and his 47-year-old wife Jackie.

He is accused of enlisting the help of 40-year-old gang member John Fitzgerald Kennedy and ex-jailer Alonso Machain, 21, to carry out the murder on Nov. 15, 2004. Machain has since confessed to police and will be tried separately.

Note to self: read ivy's rants one of these days. http://rants.lackofoxygen.net/

Ivy's Traumatized Potatoes

3 normal-sized potatoes (one or 2 people)
a large pan
some milk
some pepper
some salt for you sick bastards
some butter or margarine

Slice potatoes into decent sized chunks. Leave the skins on, they're nutritious and not that gross. Dump into a pan of water. Boil until they can be mashed. Drain water. Mash the stuffing out of them with a potato masher or anything that is used to mash things (a hammer works too). Leave a few chunks to prove they aren't from a box. Add milk, butter, pepper (and salt) to taste. Voila. Traumatized potatoes.

For a third LBJ related post, this book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0809028581/ref=ase_bloggingofthe-20/002-4715325-2440858
"Before the Storm" looks at the Goldwater campaign of 1964 as setting the agenda for the current republican party. Like Kelo, he won by losing. Via blogging of the president, http://www.bopnews.com.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Just a little something I posted to slashdot. It was an article about a quiz, the Hare test, that measures sociopathy, with scores high among prisoners and CEOs. No tortoise test yet.

Re:Don't be so quick to judge (Score:5, Insightful)
by arbitraryaardvark (845916) <`gtbear' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday August 19, @01:34PM (#13356461)
(http://vark.blogspot.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday February 17, @08:49PM)
That was a thoughtful and passionate response, and there's some element of truth to it, but I'm mostly going to argue the other side.
Governments, whether democratic or dictatorships, tend to be hierarchical structures in which people compete for dominance. Sociopaths seem to have advantages in that struggle, especially where there is information scarcity and they can cover up bad behavior.
I've observed three sets of populations where high sociopathic scores seem to confer an advantage:
a) law school b) the US presidency c) the ghetto.
I got interested in Robert Caro's biography of LBJ, and have been reading dozens of books about who gets to be president and how. It looks like LBJ was a sociopath, as were Joe Kennedy and Bill Clinton. I haven't read enough on FDR to say, but he's also worth looking into. So that this doesn't look partisan, I would also say that the Bush dynasty - Prescot, George I, W, would score high. See also Nixon.

Law school rewarded people who were smart, hard working, and completely lacking in a conscience. That seemed to be a deliberate part of the training - people would come in full of idealism and leave as hired guns. I now how to deal with these people as lawyers for the state, who put winning above doing the right thing or obeying their oath of office. They could use this quiz instead of the bar exam, and get similar results.

I am a poor but honest lawyer, so I live in the hood. A lot of my neighbors are crackheads or alcoholics. Substance abuse seems to turn people into sociopaths, ready to lie or cheat or steal to get a quick fix, with little thought to the long term damage to their reputations.

The solution, if there is one, to dealing with sociopaths, is information management. Their strategy of ruthlessless has short term payoffs,
at the cost of long term damage to their reputations, if and when the truth comes out.
'Wuffie' is cory doctorow's term for reputation capital. In http://www.craphoud.com/down [craphoud.com] Down and out in the Magic Kingdom, he outlines a future economy based on post-scarcity, open source, and reputation capital.
Applying that to the now, open a dossier on your boss, or local tyrants, if you see sociopathic tendencies. Collect information, be ready to make it public anonymously once a critcal mass is reached. Sooner or later, these types tend to shoot themselves in the foot.

update saturday: and here's another.

Re:Government vs. Spaceship N (Score:5, Insightful)
by arbitraryaardvark (845916) <`gtbear' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday August 20, @12:01AM (#13360143)
(http://vark.blogspot.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday February 17, @08:49PM)
The purpose of the space program was to take federal dollars and spread them around the texas hill country. Johnson was a New Deal bureaucrat who got himself elected to congress. The first thing he did was use federal dollars to bring in electric power to his district. The next thing he did was to get federal money to build a dam, which went to a company which is now known as Halliburton. A chunk of this money went back into Johnson's pocket so he could buy his way into the senate, where he chaired the space subcommittee and gathered power to run for president.
As president, he used tax dollars to build high tech infrastructure in texas, again funneled through Halliburton. Putting a man on the moon was misdirection and PR. Halliburton also was the main contractor for nuke plants and vietnam.
The purpose of a government run space program is to spend as much money as possible. A private sector project to do the same thing has a very different set of incentives.
I tend to favor market economies and be wary of the sort of public private partnerships pioneered by mussolini and lbj. But I have to give the guy some credit for bringing the Texas hill country out of the stone age into the space age.

Posting at Marginal Revolutions, Robin Hansen says his preliminary research shows that men are right more than women, conservatives more than others, bloggers more than print journalists.
Says he only needs a small grant/investment to check a larger data set. Robin is someone I respect and admire. His idea futures markets have transformed how we study the near future and the present. But I'd like someone to check his work here; could some sort of bias crept in and distorted the results?

Fuhrries take note: friendly hostility has had some minor redesign improvements. Friendly Hostility would be one of my fave webcomics if it updated more often. It's a spinoff from Boymeetsboy.
I've gotten nothing done all day. Washed the dishes, made spaghetti, made a to do list, that's it. 88 degrees isn't really hot enough to complain about the sweltering heat and humidity. There's still a few hours left. Note to self: come back later and delete extraneous personal info.
Oh! GenCon is here this weekend. I had no idea.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Megafauna! at slashdot.
: Reintroduce Megafauna to North America?
Posted by samzenpus on Thursday August 18, @09:20AM
from the lions-and-tigers-and-bears dept.
sneakers563 writes "A team of scientists is proposing reintroducing large mammals such as elephants, lions, cheetahs and wild horses to North America to replace populations lost 13,000 years ago. The scientists say that parks could be set up as breeding sanctuaries for species of large wild animals under threat in Africa and Asia, and that such ecological history parks could be major tourist attractions. 'Africa and parts of Asia are now the only places where megafauna are relatively intact, and the loss of many of these species within this century seems likely,' the team said."

That sounds pretty cool, said the aardvark.

The Indiana Law Blog reports (for some reason I'd thought the ILB had ended, guess not) that the Indianapolis Star reports that that wiccan kid can keep living with his dad and practicing his religion, the appeals court said. Score another one for the ACLU protecting freedom of religion.

Like somebody else, my car is stranded in Indiana with a shot transmission. At least it won't go in reverse, so i figure that's the problem, so I'm not driving it while I get around to deciding which shop to take it to. It's not a Volvo - the story of how my Volvo was stolen by Last Chance Auto Pirates is too sad to tell here.
Posting on slashdot doesn't seem as fun now that I have excellent karma. One of my highest rated posts was where I ranted about how and why to fight a speeding ticket.
Nolo press has a useful guide. Oh, and Indiana has some kind of diversion program where you just pay a fine and avoid points, if you don't get tickets often or ever. I don't anymore.

Raffi at Crescat is on book 50. By "on" I mean he's finished it, written a blog entry, and polished off a few dozen less consequentional books while he's at it. It's late August. I'm on book 30something. I'm not counting Nelson Algren's Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway all the Way, because it was tediously dull and I have no plans to finish it. The current Kennedy bio is pretty good, short but deep. Gary Wills. Wish I could remember the title. Google would know. This space left blank. The Kennedy Imprisonment, that's it.
You may remember him from such books as Nixon Agonistes. Or his other 30 books, or his new york review of books reviews. He spent some time as a rightwing crank, cranking out books, drifted toward the middle, and is currently a professor at Northwestern. (My mother has one of her masters degrees from Northwestern, and I'd hoped to study journalism there but my grades weren't so hot so i didn't transfer.) I have a hearing in a campaign finance case today so naturally I can't sleep - it's 3:30 am.
The Kennedy Imprisonment is pretty good. The author is serious about Catholicism, not part of the Camelot school of airbrushing the Kennedies. Objective without being dull. He jumps back and forth mostly between the three brothers, John, Robert, Tedward, with a bit of the father. I'd say he shows John as his father's son, win at any cost, Robert as his mother's son, saintly but ruthless, and Teddy as the lost last least Kennedy of that generation, who buckled under pressure, but has gamely carried on the legacy and the burden. I haven't yet read the bios of the more recent Kennedys. The fifth American generation of the family has carried on the traditions,plane crashes, skiing accidents, allegations of rape and murder, drug overdose, successes in journalism, finance, politics, and dynastic marriages. I also haven't read the bios that focus solely on Joe Senior. I got involved in this quest by reading about Johnson. That led to Joe Senior as the only one powerful and driven enough to beat Johnson at his own game. It's a hell of a story, watching a certain gentic and cultural pattern play out in a series of variations. I would not be shocked to see Maria Shriver Schwartzenegger (sp?) run for president any cycle now.
4 am. Try to sleep? Try to stay up? I might hit the target of 50 books this year.
If December in Milwaukee is cold and I'm un- or marginally employed, reading books sounds good. There's a good used bookstore there I could hit up. I know Chicago has a garment district. I don't know if it has a used bookstore district.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Word for the day: octothorpe (#)

The Octothorp Press
About the Octothorp (#)
The Octothorp Press takes its name and logo from the printer's traditional name for a very common mark, the #. You probably know this glyph by one of its other names: the number, numeral, or pound sign — or (if you're a developer) the hash.

The word "octothorp" is so obscure that isn't even in the Oxford English Dictionary (first or second editions). Here's how the typographic stylist and philosopher Robert Bringhurst defines "octothorp" in his brilliant Elements of Typographic Style (p. 282):

Otherwise known as the numeral sign. It has also been used as a symbol for the pound avoirdupois, but this usage is now archaic. In cartography, it is also a symbol for village: eight fields around a central square, and this is the source of its name. Octothorp means eight fields.

This kind of etymology usually raises red flags of suspicion — and rightly so. But we can testify that we've seen the octothorp on maps used in exactly the way Bringhurst says. (We'll try to add an image here showing this, when we can.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New York Times science article about gossip isn't very deep or astute, but it does talk about information flow in informal small group economies, how the best gossip is a scoop where a member of the group is violating a social norm.
The term memetics is nowhere to be found in the article, and no austrian economists are consulted. But the obvious parallel would be with blogs. Blogs are gossip on a larger scale. The best blog posts are when somebody catches the king, or the big company, or the big media, in a lie or some other violation of a social norm.

Maybe this is why the Kennedy story is so interesting. The Kennedys had a public image as saints, when they were sinners. Johnson, on the other hand, cultivated an image as a rouge. He was, secretly, actually a sinner or a saint or both? Still don't have it all sorted out.

Article claims cows are bad for california's public health, and blames milk drinking by consumers as the cause. It's a bit overwrought but scores some points.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Buzzyblog writes with a Kelo update:

The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the city’s original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent. It’s a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation.

In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000.

….. (Matt) Dery owns four buildings on the project site, including his home and the birthplace and lifelong home of his 87-year-old mother, Wilhelmina. Dery plans to make every remaining effort to keep his land, but with few legal options remaining, he’s planning for the worst.

And for good reason. It’s reasonable to think that people who purchased property years ago (in some cases, decades ago) would be in a position to cash in, especially since they’re being forced from their homes. But that’s not the case.

The New London Development Corp., the semi-public organization hired by the city to facilitate the deal, is offering residents the market rate as it was in 2000, as state law requires. That rate pales in comparison to what the units are now worth, owing largely to the relentless housing bubble that has yet to burst.

“I can’t replace what I have in this market for three times [the 2000 assessment],” says Dery, 48, who works as a home delivery sales manager for the New London Day .

…. And there are more storms on the horizon. In June 2004, NLDC (New London Development Corporation) sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive “use and occupancy” payments (also known as “rent”) from the residents.

In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. Any money made from tenants — some residents’ only form of income — would also have to be paid to the city.

With language seemingly lifted straight from The Goonies , NLDC’s lawyers wrote, “We know your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free, or rent out that property and pocket the profits, if they ultimately lost the case.” They warned that “this problem will only get worse with the passage of time,” and that the city was prepared to sue for the money if need be.

“It seems like it is simply a desperate attempt by a nearly broke organization to try to come up with more funds to perpetuate its own existence,” Bullock wrote. He vowed to respond to any lawsuit with another.

…. An NLDC estimate assessed Dery for $6,100 per month since the takeover, a debt of more than $300K. One of his neighbors, case namesake Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house with her husband, learned she would owe in the ballpark of 57 grand. “I’d leave here broke,” says Kelo. “I wouldn’t have a home or any money to get one. I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge.”

Tyranny, thy name is Kelo.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ireland has a new king. I would trade our old goat for theirs. The golden bough by frasier has a lot to say about this sort of thing. I once stayed in a youth hostel in shrewsbury that had a mask of a horned god-like figure on display, that was a relic of this sort of ceremony. Dragnet and the Wicker Man are a couple movies on this theme.
Update: The onion has this article - Supreme Court Justices Devour Sandra Day O'Connor In Ancient Ritual.

http://tcampbell.net/ Draws webcomics, gets slashdotted.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Word for the day: honeymonkey. "Hey honeymonkey, I'm home!"

Scientists have developed worms that live 6 times longer than regular worms.
This doesn't mean much by itself, but it does indicate the aging process is getting the kind of attention it needs.

Yes we have no bananas. Link. An amazing tale of biodiversity. How the cavendish replaced big mike, and why the cavendish is doomed. I consider myself literate about the dangers of monocrop agriculture* and used to work in a banana warehouse, and didn't know this.
* and its economic equivalent, central planning. via sploid.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On my other blog, I wrote a pretty good post recently about a case in which one politician claims somebody libels him on a website. Some colleagues of mine are defending the posts as free speech. So I enjoyed this little tutorial on libel from websnark's FAQ.
Seriously, dude. I don't like what you said. If you don't take it down, I'll sue you for slander.
Okay, first off, slander is oral in nature -- I'd have to publicly speak lies about you to slander you. The term you're looking for is libel. Second off, this is a commentary site. Everything on this site is my opinion. And, legally speaking, my opinions are not libel, because they don't make a claims about you -- they make claims about me. They are the truthful assertion of what I think of you. See, if I were to claim you fucked dogs, and you in fact didn't fuck dogs, that'd be libel, and you could sue me. If, on the other hand, I say that you seem like a dog fucker to me, that's an opinion I'm expressing -- in my opinion, you have qualities that put me in mind of dog fuckers. I'm not claiming you actually fuck dogs. It just seems, in my opinion, like you're the kind of person who would. That's not libel -- it honestly is my opinion of you. And you don't get to sue me because I have a different opinion than you do, y'damn dog fucker.

Today I missed a free Federalist Society CLE lunch on Kelo. I'm not much good at scheduling and remembering to be places. I've already ranted, somewhere in the archives here, about how IJ has accomplished more by losing Kelo than any of the cases they have won. I'm still sick, but better than yesterday. Websnark manages to write about being sick, and sound erudite and entertaining. I'm just being whiny.
My boyfriend/tech guy is spending tonight rebuilding some server arrays (or whatever they are.) The idea of redundant backups is that they won't both fail at once - that seems to be what happened. Today's Penny Arcade illustrates the theme. Moral - back up your work in three places, at least one of which isn't subject to the same natural disasters as the others - fire, tsumani, huns. But don't count on free web backup sites to be reliable either - so a daily subroutine that checks to see if they are still there will help save your ass files.
I havent gotten much else done today either, wrote it off as a sick day. I switched phone companies and harvested a vegetable.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

So if I'm sick, that's a pretty good excuse for just lying around reading webcomix.
Monkey Angst, who I knew from Wil Wheaton's soapbox, has a list. http://www.thewebcomiclist.com
Cat and girl is pretty good.
Scrolling blackout isn't very good, but it's very obscure, so you heard it here first. The guy posted to slashdot and somebody found he had a webcomic.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Rambling pointless post follows.
Once upon a time I was driving south on I-95 somewhere around baltimore. I picked up a hitchhiker. He said he was going to Dallas. "Dallas?" I asked? "No, Dallas" he replied, "the airport."
This story makes more sense if you know the regional accent of Duluwur and Murulund.
Years later I actually met Tim Ore. I think it was 1986 at the haymarket anarchist gathering.

Word for the day: punnet. I don't know what it means, but i'm guessing it's like a gaggle of tomatoes.

U.K. small basket: a small light rectangular basket or container in which fruits such as strawberries or raspberries are sold
Oh I didn't know there was a word for those.

Via sploid, half of us are allergic to something. Typically roaches (1/4) or ragweed or sometimes (1/11) peanuts. I keep the ragweed pulled on my own property, but not along the rest of the alley. I fight a losing battle with the roaches. I may be having some effect, because lately I've been seeing albino ones - mutants.
My sister got frequent allergy shots, and my brother took penicillin daily, but I was quiet and avoiding getting tested for anything like that, but think i'm chock full of allergies. Today I'm having an adverse reaction from overdoing a home remedy involving quinine and tincture of juniperberry.
Update: a hangover doesn't typically last two days - I guess I'm sick.

Will mentions that Caveat Emptor is having a sale. I passed by it a couple weeks ago, but at night when it wasn't open. If my car were working, and oil wasn't $66/barrell, a trip to bloomington for bookstore shopping might have been just the bait for a nice young man there who wrote to me today, but isn't willing to go on a "date." My days of long drives for possible non-dates are pretty much over, although I've been doing better at getting out of the house now and then.
Will goes on to compare UPS with the USPS, re shipping books. I should see if my job offer from UPS is still open and if I can transfer the offer to Milwaukee, where I'm gradually moving. But that's not my point. In Japan, everybody has a savings account at the post office. Maybe not everybody, but it adds up to 3 trillion. I think that's dollars not yen. So the (president? prime minister?) wants to privatize, only some in his party would not go along, so he has called an election for 9/11/05. The government may fall. OK, it's still the government, but the not currently in power party could win.
As promised, this has been a rambling pointless post. I need to go to bed, but the Nelson Algren I'm reading is tediously dull and I'm not sure I want to start the next Kennedy bio.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Delaware prosecutors conspire to murder one of their own.
Mr. Capano was a prosecutor once, before becoming a high-powered lobbyist,
before probably killing Senator Carper's secretary, who he was dating.
Her body, likely dumped at sea, was never found, but a jury convicted him of murder.
But the jury was hung on the issue of sentencing, 10-2 for death.
The prosecutors trying to kill him, in the absence of a unanimous jury verdict,
are acting unethically and should be disbarred.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I'm listening to wil wheaton reading from his books at gnomdex. Link will go here.

Friday, August 05, 2005


well that wasn't quite the effect i was going for.

Here are Schumer's questions for Roberts. While Roberts shouldn't answer them (except maybe as a gambit) the rest of us can. Maybe I'll post my own answers someday, for now it's a thought exercize for the reader. If I'm going to make it to the bank today, I should get going.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

War on hot coffee heats up:
The link is via Carey Cuprisin who agrees with me that it is both unwise and wrong for the federal government to devote large quantities of money and energy to enticing convenience store clerks to sell coffee filters so that they can be arrested for it.
It used to be when I described myself as part of the movement to keep coffee safe and legal, I was kidding. I think I'll go have a cup while I can.

Elsewhere at crescat, here's an interesting graf:
The Prostrollo citation turns out to be even more unhelpful because the Prostrollo court also made much of the need to be very deferential in 14th Amendment cases about matters of state concern. I tend to agree that federal courts should not be careful about overruling state legislatures on policy grounds; but the concerns that afflict a state court interpreting its own state's constitution are surely different, and state courts might have good reasons to be more "activist", as I have argued before. Unfortunately, because the Iowa Supreme Court has decided to peg the Iowa due process clause to the federal one, federal judicial decisions about the proper relationship between federal courts and state legislatures are automatically incorporated as decisions about the proper relationship between state courts and state legislatures.

I used to be interested in state courts as a place for arguing for rights for the reasons discussed above. I'm currently frustrated with both state and federal courts as any kind of mechanism for doing justice more than randomly.

At the moment I'm feeling dissatified with this blog.
It's rarely updated, it's derivative of better blogs, it lacks functioning comments,
etc etc. The thing I find most useful are the sidebar links - this blog has become my homepage. Most places I go online regularly are there in the sidebar, and it's easier to click from here.
I think my car died today. It was acting cranky on the way home, and then didn't want to go into reverse. Might just be low on fluid. But it was a good day, a very good day.
Somebody tried to bluff me on something important. I called, they folded.

Boing-boing citing lessig's blog:
After Wikipedia: free, collaborative, open kindergarten-uni textbooks
Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikipedia, on what's next:

The second thing that will be free is a complete curriculum (in all languages) from Kindergarten through the University level. There are several projects underway to make this a reality, including our own Wikibooks project, but of course this is a much bigger job than the encyclopedia, and it will take much longer.

In the long run, it will be very difficult for proprietary textbook publishers to compete with freely licensed alternatives. An open project with dozens of professors adapting and refining a textbook on a particular subject will be a very difficult thing for a proprietary publisher to compete with. The point is: there are a huge number of people who are qualified to write these books, and the tools are being created to leave them to do that.

The bad news: it's just vaporware atm. They are talking "by 2040" which basicly means never. I'm pretty much conviced, though, that this will happen soon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Have I mentioned three new minor planets announced this week? Rupert, persephone, and some numbers.

Today's White v MN GOP decision by the 8th circuit en banc, quoted Eugene Volokh at least twice. Here's a paper by Eugene, Glenn Reynolds, and a few others, on the second amendment as a device for teaching constitutional law.
That's found via googling for "state constitutional law" glenn reynolds.

Monday, August 01, 2005

boondocks movie 2006.

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