Monday, October 31, 2005

It's Alito.

Worth repeating is this assessment from Volokhian Orin Kerr, a usually reliable source:
[Orin Kerr, October 28, 2005 at 1:03am]
Will It Be Sam Alito?: I've seen some speculation around the blogosphere that Judge Samuel Alito of the Third Circuit may be tapped by President Bush to fill the O'Connor slot, perhaps as early as tomorrow. I know Judge Alito a little bit, and have two quick thoughts. First, Judge Alito is not a Scalia clone, contrary to what some news reports have claimed. Alito picked up the "Scalito" nickname early on, but while clever it's not accurate. Judge Alito is much more of a process-oriented judicial-restraint type than Scalia. While Alito is well-known for his early dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, generally speaking he hasn't approached the job of appellate judge with an ideological edge. Second, Judge Alito is one of the most likable people you'll ever meet. He comes off as modest, quiet, and very thoughtful, but he also has a sharp sense of humor. If picked, I think he will be (and should be) a popular choice in the Senate.

I think Alito is qualified and experienced (I thought that about Miers too) and that his powers of niceness will be a big factor in his eventual confirmation, with solid GOP support and perhaps a few votes from Democrats. But Rich Hasen has another version, an interesting analysis. The opposition to Alito's nomination will probably be stronger than the opposition to Miers, but he probably wants the job more.

(a later update:)
Interesting to note that alito is the son of a guy who worked for the government in New Jersey. Government of new jersey, hereinafter "organized crime." The last time we had a Republican catholic whose father worked for the government in Jersey was Brennan. Tom Brennan was a fire captain, and very concerned with social justice issues. Thurgood Marshall's father, I have read, was a janitor at a courthouse in Kansas City, and would tell stories at the dinner table about cases he'd seen that day. I'd be interested to know more about Alito's father and how that has shaped his world view.
Alito seems to have inherited a distaste for shows of ideology from his father, an Italian immigrant who became research director for the New Jersey Legislature and had to rigorously avoid partisanship.
Judge Alito won prestigious academic prizes while at Princeton and Yale Law School, where he stood out for his conservative views, which were in the minority, as well as for his civility in engaging ideological opponents.

Research director for the Jersey legislature. That would be a great job.
If Dad brought his work home with him, Alito may have been trained for this job his whole life.

Let's start tracking how Alito's record compares with Thomas in correlations with Scalia's voting record.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I don't know what time it is. It might be 3:12 pm wisconsin time, which is what the computer says. I don't know what that is in indiana time. Indiana used to not have daylight savings time, an odd form of mass hysteria, but now it does, or has proposed to, in some counties but not others? No, it has proposed to, but is now fighting over which counties will be in which time zones, and then federal approval. But meanwhile congress has changed when DST goes into effect, but not till next year. I think today's sunday. Baude blogs about DST, cows, and parliament.
This is in relation to, do I have time to ride my bike towards downtown before it gets too dark. Hmm, but I now don't know when dark falls. I think I'll give it a shot.
Let's see, yesterday this would have been 4:12, so it'll be dark soonish, but still time to go out.

The ride went all right. I found an anime store http://www.lostwonders.com/ next to a scientific supply and salvage store.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy birthday Howard Bashman. Enjoy all 27 hours.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sulu comes out.

my homework
Wisconsin Constitution

update: an annotated version (pdf)
Oh, it's not a very good annotation - it is mostly annotating federal cases rather than state constitutional cases, still some good stuff.
For the state sesquicentennial, we present a hypertext version of the Wisconsin Constitution of 1848 as amended through 1998:


Article I. Declaration of Rights

Article II. Boundaries

Article III. Suffrage

Article IV. Legislative

Article V. Executive

Article VI. Administrative

Article VII. Judiciary

Article VIII. Finance

Article IX. Eminent Domain and Property of the State

Article X. Education

Article XI. Corporations

Article XII. Amendments

Article XIII. Miscellaneous Provisions

Article XIV. Schedule

Wisconsin Constitution


SECTION 1. [Equality; inherent rights.] All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

SECTION 2. [Slavery prohibited.] There shall be neither slavery, nor involutary servitude in this state, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

SECTION 3. [Free speech; libel.] Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right, and no laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence, and if it appears to the jury that the matter charged as libelous be true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquited; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and fact.

SECTION 4. [Right to assemble and petition.] The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.

SECTION 5. [Trial by jury; verdict in civil cases.] The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and shall extend to all cases at law without regard to the amount in controversy; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all cases in the manner prescribed by law. Provided, however, that the legislature may, from time to time, by statute provide that a valid verdict, in civil cases, may be based on the votes of a specified number of the jury, not less than five-sixths thereof.

Miers has withdrawn.


The Second Amendment and the Living Constitution: at Volokh, read the whole thing.

The federal statute that preempts various lawsuits against gun manufacturers — passed last week — begins with two interesting items denominated Congressional "findings":

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

(2) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the rights of individuals, including those who are not members of a militia or engaged in military service or training, to keep and bear arms.

So maybe there's a new federal right, preemption under this statute?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This just in:
Lawrence v Texas facts faked?
New book by Judge Law tells all. There's an unsolved murder in there too.
I only have one tidbit to add: In Edmond v Indianapolis, a drug roadblock case, one of the two plaintiffs, Joell Palmer, didn't just happen to get caught in the roadblock. He heard it was going on, on the radio or tv, and jumped in his car and drove to that exit where he was illegally stopped and searched and assaulted.

Schiff Guilty on All Counts :.

Anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff was found guilty Monday of charges including conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud.

Schiff, 77, who argues that paying taxes is voluntary, was handcuffed and led from U.S. District Court after a jury found him guilty of all 13 charges.

Judge Kent Dawson could sentence Schiff to up to 43 years in prison and up to $3.25 million in fines, plus unspecified sanctions for outbursts during the trial. He ordered Schiff jailed without bond until sentencing Jan. 20.

Schiff would be played by Danny DeVito in the movie version, e.g. his role in the Rainmaker. Short, fat, talks in a mix of bravado and silliness. We had lunch once, and one of my clients used to date him. His books are nonsense, at least the one I bought and tried to read. I think he's sincere, and has the right set of enemies.

The Boundaries of the Mkt

The Boundaries of the Market

Ethics, law, social convention, religious belief, respect for human rights, and tradition all place boundaries on the legitimate market; many reciprocal exchanges take place in the world of the gift rather than that of the market. This seminar will explore these boundaries.

Some guy named Simpson taught this class at U of Michigan Law School.
About selling babies and organs and such.
Maybe he would know where I should direct my "rights and the market in blood" paper.
Something I wrote in 1978, misplaced before the internet boomed, and maybe it wasn't as good as I remember.

John Perry Barlow's story of his airport search pot bust.
Sheds some new light on John Gilmore's airport search suits.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Fan, ACLU Try To End Stadium Pat-Down Oct 14, 2005
" ACLU officials said they hope a judge will rule on the injunction before Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins. Although some National Football League stadiums have patted down ticket holders since 2001, the Tampa Sports Authority did not approve pat-downs until this year, when the NFL issued a mandate to its 32 teams. At the season's first home game, on Sept. 18, every man, woman and child was patted on the waist near the navel and on the back, near the neck and above the belt. "We... (Tampa Bay Online -- News)

Here's a case that reached the minority position in kelo, under the illinois constitution.
Use of Eminent Domain Power to Take Private Property for Private Use Unconstitutional
Description Illinois supreme court held that the use of eminent domain by a state economic development agency, by which it would force the sale of property to the agency by an unwilling seller, so that the agency could then sell the property to another private party that wanted the property was an unconstitutional abuse of the notion of taking for public purpose.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Eminent Domain; Public Purpose; Taking
Facts Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, asked the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA) to condemn 149 acres owned by National City Environmental (NCE), which ran a recycling plant and landfill. SWIDA is a political entity and municipal corporation created by the Illinois legislature to promote economic development. Gateway wanted NCE’s land so it could expand its raceway operations. SWIDA offered NCE $1 million for its land, which would be covered by Gateway. NCE refused, so SWIDA moved in court to condemn the property to obtain title by eminent domain. The trial court approved the taking. The public purpose was to improve the flow of traffic in the area and to reduce blight. The court of appeals reversed in favor of NCE. SWIDA appealed to the high court of Illinois.

Affirmed. The taking would not achieve a legitimate public purpose and was unconstitutional. Using the power of eminent domain for private purposes, to allow the racetrack to expand its facilities in a cost-efficient manner by avoiding the open real estate market was a misuse of the power entrusted by the public. The flexibility of “public purpose” does not mean an unfettered ability to exercise takings beyond constitutional boundaries.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

"You need to have a man in the loop," he said.

I just wonder whether IRobot realizes what they're potentially sitting on, should they start to combine some of these functions. Say you had a robot that would be the first in for any dangerous situation, that warded off bad guys, and that vacuumed. Shucks, throw in a tolerance for chick flicks and some basic childrearing skills -- as well as a good-providing career like, say, architecture -- and we're well on our way to the world's first robotic husband

Every time Geroge Will writes a column attacking the Miers nomination, I get more convinced she's the right man for the job.

I've long thought Roger Ebert's movie reviews are some of the best prose in America.
Often, the best line is the last one. Oh, and as a bonus, they tell you about movies.
I rarely go see movies, what with no disposable income, based on a life choice to spend all my time online. The new place has cable, so I'm catching up a bit. Here's one I might go see.
"Kids in America" is a call to the barricades, and a lot of fun.

A few other examples of the technique:
Good Night and Good Luck:
How many Americans know what habeas corpus means, or why people are still talking about it on TV?
Another great line for the book.
If your horse might win but might break the same leg again, you have so much riding on the race that the odds don't really come into it.
in her shoes
Now a life is changed by reading.

Placeholder for a post on the Maggie Gallager arguments at Volokh against ssm same sex marriage.
I think I've figured out what she meant, and why and how I mostly disagree,
but I don't have it written up yet, and it's not my highest priority right now, but I might come back to it.
A few notes toward what I want to say:
Some areas of agreement between me and ghallager (sp?)

Liberal are very good at identifying social problems. What they aren't so good at, is solving the problems by government intervention, which tends to have unanticipated consequences, either making the original problem worse or introducing new problems.

Legal recognition of SSM may change what we think marriage is, in ways that will have broad and as yet unknown consequences.

I also think that's she right that SSM isn't just an end in itself; it's a stepping stone toward a broader agenda of quotas and entitlement and attitude that has been terribly destructive in the black community, and isn't good for gay or society or government.

Some areas of disagreement:
Being conservative, she has a bias toward status quo good, change bad.
Being radical, I tend to have a bias toward status quo bad, change potentially better, potentially worse.
As I see it there are several possible angles of disagreement.
Her minor premise: legal recognition of OSM promotes two-parent familes.
Her major premise: legal recognition of SSM destroys the social script in which most people get married and become mommies or daddies.

So one area of critique is that SSM would create more two-parent families willing and able to provide good homes for children. Given the number of abortions and wards of the state, there's no shortage of kids for such familes.
Another area of critique is that the compulsory heterosexual monogamous nuclear family ain't all its cracked up to be - patriarchy, alcoholism, domestic violence, is not a role model to insist on preserving.
A third area is that the damage from keeping two women who love each other from getting married is very concrete, while the notion that same sex marriage will cause a mental conceptual shift is somewhat speculative and remote.

So where I end up is that on balance, SSM is better than the status quo, and the benefits appear to outweigh the risks and costs, based on imperfect knowlege.
But it's a mixed bag, and there is some risk of the sort she talks about, and that's worth further study so we can learn to mitigate damges.

I had written, either here or in the comments at volokh, that I was upset with Miers for having voted to ban flag burning. I think that I was wrong. Texas v Johnson was decided in 1989, and think that was after Miers was on the city council. I'd been assuming she voted after the supreme court had ruled, but if her vote came first, that negates my objection. So I think I'm back in the pro-Miers camp.

Friday, October 21, 2005

In which i get mail, from a usually reliable source (not a lawyer.)

In your blog, you asked
"My question: are bows and arrows arms within the meaning of the second
amendment and the kentucky constitution? Swords? Any case law on this?"

I'd certainly expect them to be covered by the Second Amendment;
don't know about Kentucky. Guns were becoming widely available
by the time of the Revolution, but that didn't mean that
everybody had them, and there're things they're not very good for,
like using after you've run out of ammo,
and reloading a muzzle-loader musket when you're on horseback
surrounded by peasants with pitchforks just doesn't work,
though pistols and bayonets gradually took over some of those jobs.

Swords were part of standard US Army weaponry at least as late as
Custer's 1876 defeat at Little Bighorn, and probably later,
so a well-ordered militia would be expected to have them.
General Lee may not have used his sword for anything other than
surrendering, but uniforms during the War Between the States
were designed to let you reach your sword for good reasons.

As far as bow and arrow go, not only did the Indians use them
effectively against the Americans until the late 1800s,
but massed use of bow and arrow was one of England's great
military strengths during the Middle Ages - Henry V's victory over
the French at Agincourt in 1415 was one of the prominent examples,
though the archers not only had armor-piercing "cop-killer" arrow-heads
but were also armed with pointed sticks
(which were the cheap version of pikes and spears)
used to defend against horsemen (or attackers with raspberries
and with swords, axes, etc. to kill armored knights after knocking them down.

And while William Tell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tell
was from the 1300s, he was still popular in fiction and
literary criticism in the 1760s as an enemy of tyrants.

So bows and arrows were used by well-ordered militia as well as
less-ordered militia
and bandits and terrorists and Native American Homeland Security,
useful for taking out armored knights and European armies
and faster to reload than colonial-period rifles or probably than any guns
until the revolver showed up a few decades later.

Maybe I should clarify that the propsed ordinance didn't ban bows and arrows, just their use. My right to own a gun might not include the right to shoot it off in my yard, slightly different issue. But I have the right to read a book, not just own one, so I'm not sure on this. Meanwhile, the pro-bow lobby is out in force so it may not pass anyway.

The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed a sodomy conviction, in an important and closely watched case about whether Lawrence v Texas would be followed by lower courts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

a bit of art, a bit of humor, mostly pics of hot guys.
the pic is not displaying, not sure why, the html looks right....retry.

Last night I had two gin and tonics at the club. Here's what that looks like under an electron microscope. Link. hat tip Allison Hayward.

Word for the day: Amphibology
am·phi·bol·o·gy (ăm'fə-bŏl'ə-jē) pronunciation
n., pl. -gies.
An ambiguous or equivocal statement.

A fallacy where a word has at least two meanings, and the participants in a conversation are using different meanings without realizing it.
This came from comment #74 to this volokh post, part of a long rambling thing about gay marriage. Usually volokh conspiracy has a very high signal to noise ratio, and that's been degraded in this discussion.
Amphibilogical fallacies come up a lot in certain circles, so it's good to know the term for it - I still don't realy have a handle on it. E.g "capitalism", "anarchy."
Guest Volohkian Maggie has, at great length, been making an argument about how same sex marriage is bad for culture, and I'm gradually getting her point, which doesn't mean agreement. She may have a point - it's quite possible that the drive to recognition of same sex marriages has costs, and is part of a larger breakdown of family structure.
That, for me, would not outweigh the advantages of recognition for same-sex or inter-racial marriages, but known costs are preferable to hidden costs. It's something I could spend more time thinking about, if all I had to do was sit around and think about things. And that's about 80% of what I do. But I need to catch up on the other 20% for awhile, which right now involves taking a bath and going over today's to do list. I hope to come back to the same-sex marriage debate at some point after mulling it for a bit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

http://www.internetcases.com Looks like another good resource. It mentions an EFF cosponsored conference in chicago no 3 on filesharing litigation, for you cindy cohn/paul alan levy groupies.
Found while looking this up:
Doe v. Cahill, --- A.2d ---, 2005 WL 2455266 (Del., October 5, 2005).

fark, hat tip wheaton.

Village of idiots department:
A town in Kentucky wants to outlaw the use of bows and arrows.
My question: are bows and arrows arms within the meaning of the second amendment and the kentucky constitution? Swords? Any case law on this?
gtbear at gmail com.

Baude on the judicial nomination process:
Or, as Judge Kozinski once put it, "Well, what the hell are you supposed to ask? Who do you like to sleep with? Girls? Boys? Will you sleep with me? Of course you'll ask them how they'd rule!"

I agree with Kozinski's point, but I want to sharpen it a little. Hi, o blog reader.
The counter says 1000 people a month stop by here, mostly as blind alleys to google searches, and there are a few of you who write or leave other clues.
So I'm taking a survey.
Who do you like to sleep with? Girls? Boys? Will you sleep with me?
I'm not really expecting a response. gtbear at gmail dot com.

This looks interesting - a libertarian Law Journal at NYU of all places.

Of Citizens and Persons: Reconstructing the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
By Richard A. Epstein
in the hated pdf format.
Fanboy trivia: one time I rode in an elavator with Epstein.

I've been rather strongly pro-Miers, but I'm willing to reconsider.

My experience on the City Council helps me understand the interplay between serving on a policy making board and serving as a judge. An example, of this distinction can be seen in a vote of the council to ban flag burning. The Council was free to state its policy position, we were against flag burning. The Supreme Court’s role was to determine whether our Constitution allows such a ban.

She violated her oath of office to uphold the constitution, and doesn't even notice there's a problem. Granted, this puts her in the same class with an overwhelming majority of the senate and house, both on flag burning and many other issues.
For me, being an oathbreaker is potentially disqualifying. When the subject matter of the oath she broke was her promise to uphold the constitution, she cannot be trusted as its guardian. Now, it's certainly possible that members of one branch may not share the same opinion of what is constitutional and what isn't, than another branch. But when that is the case, the reasons for disagreement should be spelled out and carefully argued. "[F]ree to state its policy position" doesn't cut it.
I withdraw my prior expressed support for Miers. Not that my position matters much, but it's my soapbox to say what I want.

update: as is so often the case, Will Baude has already blogged about this. He points out that maybe a city council person doesn't take an oath to uphold the constitution, so it may not be her oath of office at issue, but her oath as an attorney.
While my oath as an attorney included a promise to uphold the constitutions, it also had a bunch of aspirational goals, like "never turn down a client just cuz they won't pay you" which aren't really expected to be followed.

Barney's back, EFF's on his tail.

In New Mexico, a man was wrongfully convicted of libeling a cop, plans to appeal. via fark.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gabe From Jack

Mon, October 17 2005 - 4:39 PM
by: Gabe

I thought you might like to see the mail I got from Jack this afternoon:

This story is completely false and defamatory. Take it down or else

And my reply to him:

****This is an automated response****

Thank you for contacting Penny Arcade. I’m sorry but I am simply not able to respond to all my fan mail. I want you to know that I’m glad you enjoy the comic strip and I appreciate you taking the time to mail me.

-Gabe out

If we were a nation of boy scouts that might work, but experience in wireless band usage in the unlicensed ranges indicates this is not the case :-)

Unlicensed wireless spectrum in Omaha, Nebraska, population 500k, is managed by a mixture of microwave design and troubleshooting, back stabbing, jamming with amateur gear, intrusions into ISP's networks, 'uncoordinated' adjustments of competitor's antennas and radios in shared facilities, lawsuits, character assassination, 'testing' of heavily amplified frequency hopping products, and occasional play on the part of aircrews on RC-135 Rivet Joints flying out of Offutt AFB.

Never in a million billion zillion years would the licensed band network operators here tolerate that sort of conduct. Eben needs to stick to software licenses and leave radio physics alone ..
I want the movie rights.

New Feature:
I forget how I started reading filthy lies. Probably just because it's on keenspot, home of sinfest, friendlyhostility, and other fine comix.
A tip from filthy lies led to least i could do, a comic about an amoral womanizer, a sort of toon version of tucker max.
Least I could do has, in its forums, a daily hottie section, usually pix from FHM or Maxim or that sort of thing. So I thought that might be fun
here's today's hottie.
Wow, that so did not work. I must have the url wrong. Developing....
Much better. BTW, I won't have a new one every day, just as I havent had a word for the day in a while.

Bonus: google ads know their audience. Hottie boy had a google ad for a sushi robot.
I saw, last week in some movie on cable, a sushi machine for the first time. It was one of those "yuppies have their toys but are shallow and lost" morality movies, I don't remember right now which one. The cable, of course, is one of those yuppie toys.
punkconnection.com/index.php more hotties. free, but primitive search features.

UPDATE! Up-date? The hot boy clicked yes, so we double matched on hot or not.
That means I have a dilemma. One of my rules is never spend money online. It would be $6 to join hotornot for a month, so that I could email this guy to say hi.
$6 isn't much, even for me, but the danger is opening the floodgates. I might try a work a round first, or bleg for the money.

There was an interesting nyt article linked at boingboing.net about life hacking, about time management. It was about distraction; how our computer screens have so much multitasking we forget what we came here to do. How the really sucessful use tricks like postit notes to keep coming back to focusing on the next task instead of some distraction. How bigger computer monitors help us get more done because we don't spend as much time lost between windows. I write this after checking my email, which then involved a couple of hours of writing a search and seizure memo to myself. I write this after going downstairs for coffee and having my roommate tell me about his week, which included being hit on the head with a metal bar by a guy who might have been trying to kill him. That's a typical day around here, and is why I'm in the middle of moving to wisconsin, which is calmer. I am myself prone to distraction. The docs say I don't have ADD, and they may be right, but I have some of the symptoms. This is all prolog to mentioning something that was in my email. I try not to get on mailing lists at my main email, or at least set up folders for them, but this one sneaks by - an anarchist atlanta mailing list. This month's study group is looking at Kropotkin's article on Anarchism in the brittanica. http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy.html.
When I was 20, bumming around college, I read up some on our anarchist forebears, since the future is obviously about evolving trade networks and the obsolence of the state. Kropotkin, best known for Mutual Aid (ade?) is somebody who is a source for the leftist strain of anarchism, without being all polluted with marxism, as is so much of the left. I'm more influenced by the right-leaning anarchists of the American School, Paine, Spooner, David Friedamn et al.
So I'm not going to go to atlanta for the study group, and not going to just trash the message - I'll resolve the conflict by blogging about it.
I made a strategic decision to leave my book in Milwaukee - the kennedy one, Reckless Youth, that I'm only halfway through. It's been killing any shot I have at 50 books read and blogged in 2005. Not that that goal is essential. Instead of taking the 7 pm bus, I took the 8:30 bus and wandered around town a bit, and found that bookstore where I got many of my books on LBJ, about a year ago. My LBJ reseach has taken a major detour this year and become kennedy research. Too soon to say if I end up writing a) nothing b) a book about LBJ c) a book about patterns of corruption and betayal by US presidents - volume 1: the democrats. The safe money is on option A.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Volokh conspiracy is continuing to deny the existence of the constitution in exile movement, and I'm still confused at what they are up to. Here's what I commented:

Not too long after the legal affairs debate, the court decided Kelo, and the constitution in exile crowd awoke like a sleeping godzilla. When I wrote in 1994 about restoring state constitutional "free and equal elections" clauses, I pointed to IJ as a model. IJ wants to restore economic liberties under the P&I clause, undoing the slaughterhouse cases. Emerson was a major skirmish for the exiled constitution. Roberts indicates he's at least aware of Emerson, if a little confused about US v Miller. We don't know yet if Miers, or whoever Bush picks next if Miers doesn't get confirmed, are stealth members of the constitution in exile crowd, but it's at least possible. The rallying cry has been "strict construction." This suggest a return to the text, which for some parts of the constitution would be a return from exile. I don't understand the continued hostility toward the term, which is a not-too-far-off-the-mark label for the kind of strict constructionism Bush has been mentioning. For Bush, that might all be code for abortion, since the rules of engagement prevent him from openly discussiong abortion, but there's more to it than the single issue. Recently a hearing was held in Georgia over the new poll taxes. I'm hoping the judge looks to the text and enjoins the tax. The constitution isn't perfect, but it's better than what we've got now.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Don't go see serenity.
Save your money.
Oh, it's probably a good movie, as good movies go.
I don't have strong views on the topic, or compelling arguments.
I just think I have a shot at occupying the "don't see it" niche, which seems empty right now.
joy of tech link. oh, and most of them die.
Oh rats.
Now I'm hooked on this joy of tech toon.
Update next morning: i'll save 2003-2204 archives for later, I read the rest of them.

Happy thanksgiving canadians. Enjoy your melting polar ice cap.

red-rose-stories.com busted by fbi.
This is a site with words. No pix, no movies. via boing-boing.
The site owner was in pittsburgh - so we get a preogression from extreme video to a slash site. I don't know, at this point, anything about the content of the site or why it was singled out. Maybe somebody could come up with something clever like a red rose on web pages, maybe linked to a defense fund and direct action and support. Or not. Me i'm tired. Long day of watching tv.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Arrested development

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Welcome catallarchy reader.
Part of my post below on the George Will column got picked up by Catallarchy, a first.
Addenda to Miers comments:
1. Much of the whining has focused on her utter lack of judicial experience. Turns out that wasn't true. After law school, she clerked for a federal judge. Now, I wasn't a clerk, merely a lowly intern, but that experience with the court led me to be a litigator mainly focused on appellate work. I prefer to leave trials to people who enjoy that sort of thing. Roberts clerked for Rehnquist. The man's dead, and I've finally learned how to spell his name. Everybody was all "the student has become the master." So let's see, Miers has judicial experience, executive experience, legislative experience, and private sector experience. So she's not qualified?
2. All this whining by conservatives - if it wasn't real, we would have had to invent it. It actually makes her more confirmable. She's a pro-life zealot, a born-again republican. Litmus-test-wise, the liberal should hate her. But they are too busy watching the right hate her. So she's likely to get confirmed without the sort of pitched battle everyone expected. The left will settle for a small hope that she's Souter; the right will settle for a small hope that she's not.

via wonkette.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I've been feeling angry at a lot of the criticism of the Miers nomination, including the most recent George Will column. Sure, I expect Will to be usually arrogant and wrongheaded with the occasional zinger when he gets it right and puts it well. Even Cal Thomas can't be wrong 100% of the time. Before I go on to explain what I don't like about the criticism, here's a bit Will gets right:

In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."

I had made a related point in the comments at profsblog earlier today, that maybe
I'll dig up and include here later.

OK, part of what I find offensive in the attacks on Miers is this assumption that a Supreme Court justice has to be a philosopher-queen and a rocket scientist.
I think the court could be improved by an extra seat for a random housewife, or somebody who's been in jail. Actually Miers is pretty close to a rocket scientist; she has a degree in math. My ex, before law school, started out in rocket science and switched to a double major in math and religious studies.
The constitution is this country's instruction manual. If it is written in a dead language that can only be deciphered by handful of high priests, we all lose. We need someone on the court who can look at a set of facts, check the manual, and see what it says. Someone who can write one page opinions in clear English. We could use a few less Harvard grads.
By these standards, Miers is too qualified, not unqualified. She has more executive branch experience than any justice since William Howard Taft. She's been a fixer for the rich and powerful from Microsoft to Disney. She's been Bush's main handler, carefully screening what he sees and what he doesn't see. Eisenhower had a guy like that; Kennedy made sure he personally was in charge, when he wasn't in the pool screwing interns. Is she a crook? We don't know. Sometimes it takes years for the truth to come out about these sorts of things. Will she use her position on the court to help Bush, or future members of the Bush dynasty, to abuse power? We don't know.
Nixon appointed Rehnquist. In US v Nixon, Rehnquist voted with the other 8 that Nixon had to turn over the tapes, at which point he resigned. I know nothing about Miers to suggest she is corrupt and won't be an independent and scrupulous member of the court. She probably doesn't share my views on limited government. But in the absense of any smoking gun like the torture memos, I for one welcome our new Supreme overlords.

via sploid

A slashdot user mentions this chain:
miers > microsoft > bill gates > daddy gates > abromoff (indicted lobbyist) > DeLay > Kevin Bacon. If DeLay has seen a Kevin Bacon movie.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Texas Hold'em.
So Bush has named his personal lawyer, a Ms. Miers, to the O'Connor seat.
I'm less hostile to that than some in the blogosphere have been.
She's female, from Texas, an elected official, a pioneer for women in the legal profession, with unknown views. Not a bad fit for the O'Connor seat. She's confirmable, even if scotusblog doesn't think so. And if she's not confirmed, that will cost the Democrats a lot - unless the opposition all comes from Republicans, which seems unlikely.
Now, personally, I tend to find female bar association presidents weak on gun rights. Maybe that's less true in Texas. Is she now, or has she ever been, a member of the federalist society? Probably not, and that counts against her. But overall, I'm cool with it. I don't like Bush, but I don't think he's stupid. 60 seems kind of old in a world where people retire at 65. But maybe we aren't in that world anymore. Rush Limbaugh was still practicing law at age 100. A woman in good health at 60 can expect to live to be, what, 85?
update:no. In 2030, an member of the elite who is 85 will still have a significant life expectancy. I was confusing the future with the present. She'll be on the court until the singularity, after which the court may no longer matter.
That'll do. How is she on stuff like the first amendment, the fourth amendment? We don't know. Bush knows much more about her than we do, and that's how he wants it.
heard on the net: Gonzales in drag.
Give 'em hell Harry.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Slashdot points to this blog's coverage of a woman who, when sued by RIAA for filesharing, countersued. Pdf.
Recording Industry vs The People
That's the approach I prefer for litigation; a good countersuit is at the heart of a good defense, if there is any basis at all to bring one.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Howard reports important cases from oregon about the state free speech clause.
The facts themselves - a sex show and regulation of lap dancing, may not be crucial.
Bu the text of the decisions is important. The Oregon constitution has the same language as the indiana constitution. The difference, perhaps due to the influence of Hans Linde, is that oregon enforces its constitution. If the constitution says "you can't do that", the judges read that to mean "you can't do that" instead of some balancing test or state interest test. That's how it should work.

Cato wrote:

"Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; Which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it does not hurt and controul the Right of another; and this is the only Check which it ought to suffer, the only Bounds which it ought to know."

"Of Freedom of Speech", No 15, Feb 4, 1720, in John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, I Cato's Letters: Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious 96 (reprint ed. 1971)

To the more libertarian adherents of the natural rights philosophy, freedom of speech was an "inalienable" natural right -- that is, it was not part of the package of natural rights that individuals ceded to the community in order to obtain the protections and benefits of civil society

A heinlein discussion board I didn't know about.
In ubiqitous computing department, Negroponte at MIT media labs is saying he'll be making $100 laptops for schoolkids as of about next year. The bad news is they'll be banned from the market but for sale to governments.
Google is rolling out free wifi for san francisco, ad supported. Welcome to the metaverse - cheap wearable computing that is contextual to where you are.
That's going to mean another billion people online by 2012 (my earliest date for the singularity.) It's going to occur to somebody that $100 laptops are a good way to provide free universal education, kindergarten to college, for those 2 billion people.
Blogs are replacing law journals. Information is moving faster than before.
Pick a field, any field, say fusion research. The number of people with a phd level education in the field will be 100 times what it was 50 years ago. That won't, by itself, result in 100 times the speed of innovation, but it will have some effects.
Those 100-times-more-people will have instantaneous information flow, cheaper better smarter tools.
That's what will happen without any core breakthroughts. But, whether or not clean fusion is still 30 years away, there will inevitably be core breakthroughts in some areas. For example, workable fusion would be a core breakthrough, ending the energy scarcity crisis, moving to a post-scarcity energy world.
Other breakthroughs could include a "smart pill", a 'happy and smart pill", AI, a space elevator, hauling back the first iron-nickel asteroid, human cloning for spare parts, etc.

For about a year I've had this blog as my homepage. I just reset it to my to-do list page, in hopes that I'll do less blogging and more work. Just a test, might not work.
I'm fairly skilled at work avoidance.

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