Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Wit of Ichiro

Ichiro broke the Major League Baseball record for most hits by a player in his first five seasons. Here is Ichiro's reaction to this:
"I didn't know about that record," said Suzuki, the defending AL batting champion who broke the single-season hit record last year with 262. "When I heard of this record I thought to myself, 'Man, there's a lot of records out there.'"

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Drink apple juice, because OJ kills!

"[The judge] basically denied us our right to a jury trial. . . . This was a decision made by a judge in chambers. They say he did it; we say he didn't. A jury should be able to make that decision."

--OJ's Attorney (named Yale) in response to a judge's grant of summary judgment in OJ's bootlegging trial. Mr. Simpson was charged with using equipment to steal DirecTV's signal for tv programming, without paying for it! And he endured a heavy fine for so doing.

I have a thought on this probing legal kernel
. . .hahahahahahahahahahahaha


bah. . .hahahahahahahaha.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Judge Roberts and the Federalist Society

David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy provides an excellent reason as to why it really doesn't matter whether John Roberts is a member of the Federalist Society:
The media's new obsession over whether John Roberts is or was a member of the Federalist Society is pretty foolish. I know members whose political views range from moderate conservatives (more moderate than, say, O'Connor or Kennedy) to Christian rightists to libertarian anarchist individualists. Judicial philosophy ranges from Borkean anti-judicial review views to Randy Barnettian presumptions of liberty. In short, membership in the Federalist Society tells you nothing about a nominee except that he or she is not "on the left", which one presumes would be true about any Bush Supreme Court nominee.

TO Update

From ESPN news service this morning:

"I'll be there," Owens told the [Philadelphia] Inquirer on Friday. "I mean, the bottom line is that I still believe I deserve a new contract. I still believe I deserve more than what they've given me. But I'm not stupid. I'm not about to miss training camp, get fined every day and give them even more reasons to keep from paying me."

It appears that my earlier wish did not come to fruition. I suspect the true loser in this announcement is Drew Rosenhaus. The super-agent wants to use these players as bargaining chips, of which he has several, including Javon Walker of the Packers [who intends to sit out the whole season]. Terrell is too smart to be so used. I will give him that.

Friday, July 22, 2005

My new passion

. . .is hoping that Terrell Owens and his agent are stymied by the Eagles football team. The receiver making the third-highest scratch at his position in the NFL is holding out until he gets a "more fair deal." This Philly newspaper story gives the details. It seems that the team may fine him, considerably chipping into the signing bonus he was paid last year. And they may pay him $0 for the season if he holds out. I am extraordinarily hopeful that they do just that.

Owens chose at the start of last season to take the long-term 7-yr deal valued at $49. Apparently his value has fluctuated so much in one season that his former deal is fundamentally unfair. Mr. Owens chose his contract, which the above article mentions was a very good deal, giving him a large signing bonus, and large-up front values for the first three years of the contract. This allowed him to largely mitigate the risk of a season, or career-ending injury. Now after taking the sure deal, and getting the team to assume all his risk, he has re-thought his bargain. There is no alternative market in professional sports. Therefore, there is no such thing as an "efficient breach."

Owens is accordingly a loathsome individual, and deserves his "business" bluff to be called. He has more to lose than the team does, notably his livelihood. I hope that the team sends a message to the league that there is some legitimacy to the CONTRACTS to which one pens his name. Holmes said that "Every contract is an implied promise to perform or pay damages." I strongly suspect that Owens is not willing to pay the piper.

Will Roberts unite the Force?

I don't know. But this article gives the best glimpse to date into his background.

London Bombings and Patriot Act Revisited

As I blogged two weeks ago when the first transit bombing occurred, the Patriot Act was indeed renewed by the House. A vote in the Senate should see the Act returned to President Bush, who will again sign it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Insight into selection process

The Times has an interesting article about how Bush chose Judge Roberts.

[Note: to view this article one need only provide minimal information to register with the NYT. It is free, but you have to give email, zip code, year of birth, and name]

Monday, July 18, 2005

Biblical Scroll Fragments Found in Israel

Neat.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Antitrust Gone Wild

This antitrust suit against NASCAR is just plain idiotic - as are antitrust laws. Here's what Milton Friedman has said about antitrust laws in the past:
"When I started in this business, as a believer in competition, I was a great supporter of antitrust laws; I thought enforcing them was one of the few desirable things that the government could do to promote more competition. But as I watched what actually happened, I saw that, instead of promoting competition, antitrust laws tended to do exactly the opposite, because they tended, like so many government activities, to be taken over by the people they were supposed to regulate and control. And so over time I have gradually come to the conclusion that antitrust laws do far more harm than good and that we would be better off if we didn’t have them at all, if we could get rid of them. But we do have them."

Wal-Mart

Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek shows that Wal-Mart is not immoral with regards to compensating their employees and not offering them benefits - rather, it is amoral. The following is an excerpt - the entire post can be found here.
There's a simple way to look at it. Wal-Mart doesn't offer health insurance or pay more than they do because they've found that they can attract enough workers with the pay package they currently offer. Period. For other companies, they have to offer health benefits to attract workers. They reason they offer health insurance isn't because they're socially responsible or kind or altruistic. They find that to compete for workers they have to offer it.

Paradoxically, Wal-Mart doesn't determine what it pays its workers or what benefits it offers any more than you can set the price of your house when you want to sell it. Suppose houses of similar quality and location sell for $500,000. You're free to set any price you want, but if you set a price of $1,000,000, you're going to wait a long time for a buyer. Oh, you might get a slight premium above $500,000 because you did such a nice job renovating your kitchen. Or maybe a little less if your taste in kitchen's is real different from most people's. You don't set the price of your house.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Query

I have yet to encounter articles on the desirability of Fed budget deficits. Today's news states that due to increased tax revenue, the Fed deficit this year was reduced $100 B, but is still at $338 B. This in conjunction with a story I saw in Monday's Wall Street Journal (about corporate cash reserves being at an all-time high) had me thinking about the following: As corp debt is to some degree desirable, can gov't debt ever be?

Principally, corporations leverage themselves so that they can invest in what they are good at and make a considerably higher return than the interest rate on their debt. Could there ever be such an economic justification for gov'ts? Or is it just poor management, coupled with crisis spending, i.e., wars, hurricane relief, etc?

Update: Todd Zywicki at the VC has posted an detailed response to my question. Note several of the comments, including the article which TZ refereneces at the bottom. Another particularly good point is that Corp debt is largely a function of tax breaks, not at issue in government borrowing. However, I disagree with the comment that corp debt would not exist without such incentive. Clearly some startups and seasoned firms would still take on debt, so that the principals of the company wouldn't have to share their equity at every step of the road in corporate America.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Al-Qaeda Attacks Since 1998

Winds of Change has put together a Flash presentation of all of Al-Qaeda's attacks around the world since they declared war in 1998. The link to the presentation can be found here.

Michael McConnell as Nominee

Judge McConnell (10th Cir.) is my favorite candidate to replace O'Connor from the last weeks. He is most famed in my mind for arguing for the Boy Scouts in the Dale case before the Court a few years ago. That 5-4 decision that the Boy Scouts could exclude a gay scoutmaster, in my opinion is one of the most significant Supreme Court decisions protecting liberty of the Rehnquist court. (Like top 3 most important.)

This is an excerpt from McConnell's confirmation testimony in 2002 when he was nominated to the 10th Cir. I don't think he is perfect, but well-reasoned at least. He is the one Pres. Bush should be considering to survive the storm if Rehnquist does not retire before he has to get SDOC's successor appointed.

Monday, July 11, 2005

What's Cookin' at the Corner?

Did Karl Rove really "out" an undercover CIA agent? I don't think John Podhoretz over at the Corner on National Review thinks so. This is what he wrote about an hour ago:
Two years ago Joseph C. Wilson IV had a bio available online in which he mentioned his wife Valerie Plame's name. The bio has vanished. If anyone perchance saved it or a screenshot of it and can e-mail it to me, I'd be grateful. (PS: It's now 4:15 pm EDT. If you don't do it by 4:30, don't bother.)
Twenty-five minutes later, he wrote:
Thanks, everybody, for the multiple copies of his bio. Check out the NYPost tomorrow for my use of it...
This is obviously an indication that even if Rove did leak Plame's name to Matt Cooper, the question remains whether he "revealed" the name of an undercover CIA agent. This should make for quite an interesting developing story...

UPDATE: The bio that names Plame as Wilson's wife can be found here.

Friday, July 08, 2005

At Stake

Orin Kerr of the VC tells you what it is:


The Future of the Supreme Court
July 7, 2005
The Washington [Post/Times]

The retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor presents a major opportunity for President George W. Bush. It is essential to our Nation that he choose her replacement wisely. Although nominated by Ronald Reagan, Justice O'Connor turned out to be surprisingly [enlightened/unprincipled]. Her jurisprudence was [pragmatic/random], which tended to frustrate [conservative wingnuts/believers in a written Constitution]. While Justices Scalia and Thomas voted to [turn back the clock/ follow the Constitution], Justice O'Connor frequently voted in a way that was quite [reasonable/result-oriented]. News reports speculate that President Bush may nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Jr. to replace Justice O'Connor. If so, it will be a major [relief/disappointment]. While Gonzales has a proven record of loyalty to the President, he does not appear to be a [nut/conservative]. He [may not/ may] vote the right way in many cases, but [he is as good a nominee as we're likely to get/ I doubt it]. Other individuals often named as possible nominees to replace Justice O'Connor are much [worse/better]. Nominating an [extreme/actual] conservative like J. Michael Luttig would signal to all Americans that the Constitution is [on life support/back]. The conservative base has made its position loud and clear: it wants Bush to nominate a strong conservative to the Supreme Court. He should [ignore/listen to] them. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. The fate of our Constitution, and our Nation, hangs in the balance.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

SDOC and Religion

I know little about this law professor from the U of Toledo. However, his Religion Clause blog provides a summary of Justice O'Connor's religion decisions. Interestingly, she has authored a majority opinion only twice during her tenure (a third time she wrote a plurality opinion). He links to every opinion she has written. (The ones I viewed were in Findlaw or some other free, publicly available internet tool). For that reason, his blog is quite a convenient resource.

[Don't confuse Prof. Howard Friedman with Howard Friedman law firm in Boston. Any takers?? "A lawfirm concentrating in civil rights and police misconduct litigation."]

Prof. Volokh defines "Enemy Combatants"

The following shot from the hip is rather persuasive, though admittedly narrow in its scope. Before reading the essay, I can suggest that what is missing from the analysis is the desiribility of sacrificing liberties (the liberty interest of the un-proven enemy combatant). More specifically, I would say the liberty interest of the U.S. citizen who is un-proven to be an enemy combatant.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The purpose of detaining enemy combatants is prevention. An enemy soldier wants to kill our or our allies' soldiers (and often civilians). We normally stop that by killing him. But when he surrenders, we prefer not to kill him: Killing the enemy generally isn't our goal, but just the means to the end of protecting ourselves and our allies — and if we can serve that end by locking a captured enemy soldier up instead of killing him, we do that (and are required to do that by the laws of war).

The thing that makes this logic work, however, is our ability to keep the man locked up. When we release him, he can go right back to killing our soldiers. What's more, it seems quite likely that he will: If he tried to fight us once, why wouldn't he do that again? We release ordinary criminals after some time chiefly because we hope that the term in prison has deterred them from repeating their crimes. But someone who obviously isn't deterred by the risk of being killed (the high risk, when you're a small force fighting the U.S. military) isn't going to be deterred by the risk of repeat incarceration.

Thus, we have three options: (1) Kill them on the battlefield, and protect our and our allies' soldiers and civilians. (2) Lock them up until we feel confident that the war is pretty much over (which indeed could be decades), and protect our and our allies' soldiers and civilians. (3) Or in a fit of misguided mercy — misguided because it is mercy to the bad that ends up hurting the good — let them out and allow them to again kill our and our allies' soldiers and civilians. Option 3 strikes me as deeply unsound, and not required either by justice or by international law.

Last Post

"Surely today's bombing must reveal that the terrorists of today's world cannot be persuaded through world political accords and other placatory measures (read the London Mayor's quote below)."

First, I don't know what part of the excerpt of the mayor's quote addresses persuasion of terrorists through world political accords and other placatory measures.

Second, I doubt dealing with the terrorists with all our might would "persuade" them either. Though that approach may ultimately prove to be the most effective one, engaging the terrorists in military actions certainly will not stop them from attempting to recruit future generations of West-haters.

The "War on Terror," by definition, is unwinnable. However, what can be done to "fight" terror is to contain it, and it remains to be seen what the best means doing this is.

Further thought on London Bombings

The knee jerk reaction would suggest that the people of the UK, already skeptical of the War in Iraq (according to polls by the news media), will further resent Blair and the U.S. I think that another response is well merited. And I predict at least a good chance that this could cause a unified European response that even 9/11 failed to elicit.

Only time will tell. Undoubtedly Europe is as angry about this bombing as I am. Surely today's bombing must reveal that the terrorists of today's world cannot be persuaded through world political accords and other placatory measures (read the London Mayor's quote below).

[Update: My colleague above makes a quasi-legitimate point. I think the mayor's quote is a good framing of the issue (though does not state the issue explicitly). Our enemy is elusive, fights un-conventionally, is difficult to identify, and has a short-term goal that we cannot prevent--the obliteration of lives in free societies. The issue is indeed, how to contain this enemy.

No doubt the most powerful nations of the world will win this fight. Clearly terrorists are expendable. Although there may be potential myriads willing to be terrorists, as the U.S. remains, and as terrorists continue to die without making a dent in any real sense to their "mission," this movement will lose steam. But I would prefer that it is much sooner, rather than later. To this end, I believe the War for Iraq may be more than illusory. I think the message is: even in a hostile land, where millions had been programmed their whole lives to hate the U.S., we can invade, we can overthrow your leader (an interantional criminal) and we can fight your terrorists to the point of compliance.

I doubt any of this makes me eligible to run for office anytime soon. ]


The U.S. Patriot Act has been much maligned as 9/11 has become increasingly remote in time. I don't recall stiff opposition to the Patriot Act when ratified [Update: the Act passed 98-1 (Russ Feingold, D-WI as the lone dissent) in the Senate, and 357-66 in the House]. Yet when this happens, the trump card is shown and (I predict) most of the meaningful debate comes to an end.

London Transit Bombings

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today — this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old … that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted fate, it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder."

"I know that you personally do not fear to give your own life in exchange to taking others ... but I know you do fear you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society ... in the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railway stations ... you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world, will arrive in London to become Londoners, to fulfill their dream and achieve their potential … whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

--Fox News for the quote

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

O'Connor's Resignation letter

May be viewed here.

Judge Wapner in the running for O'Connor vacancy

[Disclaimer: The above title is a farce.] All the news that is fit for me to blog is our creed. And thus I have no problem basking in my amusement at this story. President Bush today named former TN Senator Fred Thompson to be liason to the Senate in guiding his Sup Ct nominee through the process.

Ring any bells??? Look at his picture, here. You see, he is the head DA from Law and Order. NICE!!!!

Judicial Activism as a Shibboleth

I read an interesting piece today by a moderate/libertarian. It was on referral from Randy Barnett, he of Ashcroft v. Raich (holding that Fed Commerce Clause may trump CA Medical marijuana law, even though all marijuana was solely grown and distributed in-state) . Prof. Barnett, the lead counsel for the marijuana growers in that case, was at the heart of the debate of limits on government power and "enumerated rights." Indeed when weighing the commerce clause (government intrusion) vs. fundamental rights (the other end of the spectrum), at times judicial conservatives must scramble to remain consistent in their analysis.

As Prof. Barnett notes, judicial activism as a moniker is currently being made imprecise by its popularization in pop culture. Though I hold a different perspective on the following issue, this essay on "Enumerated Powers" and the 9th Amendment is very well written and somewhat persuasive. It caused me pause for reflection on my own views. (Views that haven't changed since law school started) However, I think it important that even ideologues such as myself pause for reflection at appropriate intervals, for the reason that we become better reasoned (if not more objective) thinkers.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fillibuster

Professor Zywicki, in this Volokh Conspiracy post, casually remarked that the fillibuster of judicial nominees was an abdication of constitutional duty by the Senate. That enraged the liberals that commented to the post that he didn't know what he was talking about, blah blah, blah.

My response, as you will see in the comments is the following:

As a humble student myself, I have a problem with the following: Advice and consent to me means "recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct" and "compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another." How do any of you legal scholars read those Webster's definitions in such a way as to believe that when the President needs 51% of the Senate to agree to his nominees, that it is ok for 41% of those Senators to fillibuster? Republicans, Democrats, who cares? The fillibuster sounds definitionally like a cheap political trick when applied in this way. And that is why the constitutional argument exists. Just read it! (The constitution, and the numbers both) Again, Professor Zywicki makes a fine numbers argument, as far as my abacus reveals. Consent = 51 Senators. Advice = 51 Senators.

You will note a far deal of sarcasm, and may that reflect my true feelings on this issue. Because the GOP did it to Clinton's executive appointees, doesn't create some precedent that it is right or constitutional. And yes, that is a little remembrance of Prof. McFarland--"Just read it!"

Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor Retiring. . .

following the Confirmation of her successor, which could be awhile. After the start of next term perhaps?

Judge Robert Bork was on CNN a few minutes ago.

Q (CNN): What advice would you have to Justice O'Connor's successor through the confirmation process?

A (J. Bork): Any advice I could give would be like Custer telling one how to deal with the Indians.

That was a hoot!