Monday, June 30, 2008

6月30日隨即的事情: Thus ends the part of my life you could call my life on the road . . .

*We said on Friday that we thought Scalia's reasoning on the interpretation of the Second Amendment was pretty flimsy.  The experts seem to agree that his reasoning with regards to the policy is sort of flimsy as well. From a WaPo op-ed titled Guns for Safety?  Dream on Scalia

In the real world, Scalia's scenario -- an armed assailant breaks into your home, and you shoot or scare away the bad guy with your handy handgun -- happens pretty infrequently. Statistically speaking, these rare success stories are dwarfed by tragedies. The reason is simple: A gun kept loaded and readily available for protection may also be reached by a curious child, an angry spouse or a depressed teen.

What's that thing called where you try to maximize the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people again? 

*The NYT had a very interesting section on Sunday in which eight or so writers wrote short op-ed pieces on how the high price of petroleum (which we have discussed, ad-nasuem) will change society.  Frankly, we've always seen a sort of upside to the whole thing.  Fat Americans drive less and drive smarter, they start walking and riding bikes, stop thinking that 1 hour commutes each way are a good idea, and finally realize investing in alternative energy is a good idea.  Anyway, one column, titled "Goodbye to the Great American Road Trip," points out that the high gas prices may mean the end for the great American road trip.  The column thinks that's a good thing ("good riddance!" says the author), but we disagree.  The road trip is pretty much the most fun thing ever.   If you go with a significant other, it's a wonderful chance to for the most romantic of moments (we'll ask any exs that are reading this to refrain from comment...); if you go with a family member, it's a chance to bond (anybody ever see the Pete and Pete episode where the son has to think of things to talk about with his dad on the long car trip - awesome); and if you go by yourself it's a chance for some solemn reflection and self-analysis.  It's going gone, sure - but that don't mean we aren't going to miss it. The road trip may have been something quintessentially American, one of our guilty pleasures that came from being born white in the world's richest country as the oil addiction got worse and worse.  It might be a joy that our (collective, not editorial) children will never know, but we'll (editorial, not collective) always have some treasured memories.  I wonder if this means that mix-CDs - primarily made for road trips - are on the way out as well.  Time will tell. . .[Insert obligatory reference to Jack Kerouac's On the Road here]. . . 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Woke Up This Morning . . . Got Yourself a Gun!

UPDATE #3:  Today's (Friday) NYT Op-Ed hits the nail on the head.  The Supreme Court decision is a step backwards in a country that already watches thousands die needlessly because of guns: 

Thirty-thousand Americans are killed by guns every year — on the job, walking to school, at the shopping mall. The Supreme Court on Thursday all but ensured that even more Americans will die senselessly with its wrongheaded and dangerous ruling striking down key parts of the District of Columbia’s gun-control law.
* * *
This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country. It will also diminish our standing in the world, sending yet another message that the United States values gun rights over human life. 
* * *
In this month’s case recognizing the habeas corpus rights of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Justice Scalia wrote in dissent that the decision “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.” Those words apply with far more force to his opinion in this District of Columbia case.
* * * 

Scalia to teh District: You from the hood (DC), I hope ya . . . GOT YOURSELF A GUN! [Analysis of the opinion - below].  

In case you didn't figure it out from the video, the SCOTUS issued its first ruling on 2nd amendment issues in over 30 years, striking down the DC gun ban.  We think - along with four dissenting justices - this was a colossal mistake.  A bad interpretation of the 2nd amendment and, worse, bad policy for the people who live and work and travel in DC, as well as all Americans a future efforts at stricter gun control that this nation desperately needs are sure to be stymied by the decision.  We're busy today, more to come later. . . .

UPDATE #1:  Here is the text of the opinion (.pdf courtesy of SCOTUSblog.  One controlling question is to what extent does the prefatory clause of the second amendment limit the operative clause. The amendment reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Justice Scalia's take:

The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two 
parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The 
former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather 
announces a purpose. The Amendment could be re- 
phrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to 
the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep 
and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” See J. Tiffany, A 
Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law §585, 
p. 394 (1867); Brief for Professors of Linguistics and Eng- 
lish as Amici Curiae 3 (hereinafter Linguists’ Brief). 
Although this structure of the Second Amendment is 
unique in our Constitution, other legal documents of the 
founding era, particularly individual-rights provisions of 
state constitutions, commonly included a prefatory state- 
ment of purpose . . . 

Logic demands that there be a link between the stated 
purpose and the command . . . But apart from that 
clarifying function, a prefatory clause does not limit or 
expand the scope of the operative clause. [Footnotes omitted]

We find Justice Steven's DISSENT to be much more rational on this point:

The parallels between the Second Amendment and
these state declarations, and the Second Amendment’s
omission of any statement of purpose related to the right
to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense, is
especially striking in light of the fact that the Declarations
of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont did expressly
protect such civilian uses at the time. Article XIII of
Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration of Rights announced that
“the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of
themselves and the state,” 1 Schwartz 266 (emphasis
added); §43 of the Declaration assured that “the inhabi-
tants of this state shall have the liberty to fowl and hunt
in seasonable times on the lands they hold, and on all
other lands therein not inclosed,” id., at 274. And Article
XV of the 1777 Vermont Declaration of Rights guaranteed
“[t]hat the people have a right to bear arms for the defence
of themselves and the State.” Id., at 324 (emphasis added).

The contrast between those two declarations and the
Second Amendment reinforces the clear statement of
purpose announced in the Amendment’s preamble. 

It confirms that the Framers’ single-minded focus in 
crafting the constitutional guarantee “to keep and bear arms” 
was on military uses of firearms, which they viewed in the 
context of service in state militias.

The preamble thus both sets forth the object of the
Amendment and informs the meaning of the remainder of
its text.
Such text should not be treated as mere surplu-
sage, for “[i]t cannot be presumed that any clause in the
constitution is intended to be without effect.” Marbury v.
Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 174 (1803).
[Footnotes omitted]

It's another classic Steven's dissent, attacking the problem, more or less, from an orginalist perspective.  It summarizes our views quite well.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Death Penalty For Rape: Kennedy Beats Louisiana

As it should be.  5-4, with Justice Kennedy casting the deciding vote (and writing the majority opinion). We covered this case earlier (and the Boston Legal spoof on it) here. Alito wrote the dissent which was joined by Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice Roberts. [Opinion (.pdf)][NYTimes], [SCOTUSblog], [ATL], [WaPo]

Unfortunately, the court wasn't so right when it came to deciding appropriate damages for the Exxon Valdez spill. The court vacated the 9th Circuit judgment of $2.5 billion in punitive damages for the victims, slashing the number to $500 million.  The vote was 5-3, with Alito not participating because of his stock holdings.  Souter wrote the majority, it seems. [NYTimes], [WaPo]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Caveat Liberatores, Or: Hiring Troubles at the DOJ: NDNA

No Democrats Need Apply at the Department of Justice.

At least, it's an uphill battle, according to a report by the DOJ's Inspector General. ATL, NYTimes, and WaPo have all picked up the story. From WaPo:

Justice Department officials improperly used political and ideological factors to screen applicants for the agency's prestigious honors and summer intern programs, sometimes rejecting otherwise qualified candidates because of their ties to Democrats, internal auditors said in a report issued this morning.

And this bit from the NYT:

Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used "political or ideological" factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.

And finally, ATL commenter reports this damning statistic:

2002 applicants: ACS, 0-7; FedSoc, 27-2.

2006 applicants: ACS, 5-2; FedSoc, 15-4.

Typically the American Constitution Society (ACS) means a liberal ideology and the Federalist Society (FedSoc) means a conservative one. (We're not members of either). The consensus seems to be that there has been some improvement in recent years, as the above figures purportedly indicate.

Anyway we're democrats (duh), and we thought about trying to work at the DOJ. Oh well . . .

Is it any surprise after the U.S. Attorney firing fiasco the Bush administration's legal team is tring to staff the DOJ with like-minded troglodytes who are interested in turning back the clock on civil rights, a women's right to choose, equal protection, etc etc and wants suspend the Constitution when it's convenient, extend the use of the death penalty, and flood the nation with guns?

Nope . . .

EDIT:  And now some samples from the report itself, extracted courtesy of xoxo

As the chart shows, [Honors Program] candidates whose applications indicated liberal affiliations were deselected at a higher rate (83 out of 150, or 55 percent) than candidates who had conservative affiliations (5 out of 28, or 18 percent) or neutral affiliations (98 out of 424, or 23 percent). . .

Candidates who [graduated from a USNWR Top 20 school and were in the top 20% of their class] but whose applications indicated liberal affiliations were deselected at a much higher rate (35 out of 87, or 40 percent) than candidates meeting the criteria who had conservative affiliations (1 out of 17, or 6 percent) or neutral affiliations (35 out of 275, or 13 percent).


The Civil Rights Division had 24 of its 52 [SLIP] candidates deselected, and appealed 1. That candidate was a student at Harvard Law School with an A- grade average, had interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California, and was strongly recommended by an attorney in the front office of the Civil Rights Division who knew him. Rena Comisac, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, told us that after the appeal was submitted, [Chief of Staff to Deputy AG Michael Elston] informed her that the Screening Committee had found an article on the Internet in which the candidate was quoted as expressing regret that he had not participated in the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle.


We asked Elston about a deselected SLIP candidate who was a student at Harvard Law School, graduated in the top 5 percent of his undergraduate class from the University of California, Berkeley, was an editor on Harvard’s human rights journal, had interned with a city attorney’s office and a state court judge, and had worked for 5 years in marketing before entering law school. In his essay, the candidate referred to his perception that working for the government would be “work for the people” where “principles forged by experience, prudence and moral obligation” would guide the work. In his last line of the essay, the candidate stated, “It is precisely this ability to have my principles guide my work that inspires me to be a government lawyer.” Elston thought he would have reacted negatively to that last sentence because “I believe that a civil servant enforces the law impartially [and] often times is called upon to set aside his or her own beliefs.”


We discussed with Elston appeals of specific candidates. For example, we asked Elston why he denied the appeals of two candidates by the Civil Division. One candidate was a student at Harvard Law School, had an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, had worked for Planned Parenthood and a Democratic Senator, and had received high praise for her work during a SLIP internship the previous summer. Another candidate had graduated sixth in his law school class from the University of Alabama, had been a member of the law review, had interned for the Public Defender Service, currently was clerking for a federal judge, and had written a paper on the detention of aliens under the Patriot Act.

Elston’s only explanation for deselecting these candidates was that he was “pretty offended” by the Civil Division’s appeal, which stated that the Division screeners had taken the responsibility of selecting candidates seriously and “given the care we exercise in making these selections, we would urge some deference to the difficult choices.” Elston said he found the appeal offensive because the Division employees were “basically saying we know better” and “you should defer to us.” However, Elston could not explain why he accepted other candidates appealed by the Civil Division but denied these two candidates. He noted that his appeal decision e-mail to the Civil Division was sent late at night and added, “I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about them.”


We asked Elston why he denied the request of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam to interview a candidate who graduated in the top third of her class at Stanford Law School, was summa cum laude with an undergraduate degree from George Washington University, was clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and had previously worked for the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military. Elston said he could not recall the reasons for his decision, but thought he may have struck the candidate based on a reference in her essay that being a federal prosecutor would afford her the opportunity to exercise prosecutorial discretion in deciding what charges were appropriate and whether to offer a plea bargain. Elston said this caused him to conclude that “this is the kind of AUSA that would in my view not necessarily stand up for the law with respect to sentencing and department policy.”


We asked Elston why he denied the appeal of a SLIP candidate who was a student at Yale Law School, a member of the Yale Law Journal, a Rhodes Scholar, a Truman Scholar, graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, had researched national security and terrorism issues for Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman, and had worked for the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, the Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, and the Legal Services Organization’s Trafficking Clinic. AAG Keisler had sent Elston an e-mail indicating that this candidate was the top priority among all those SLIP candidates that the Civil Division was appealing. Elston said that this candidate “looks like a perfectly outstanding candidate, although she doesn’t say much in terms of essay that would give us a view as to why she’s interested in public service.”


We also asked Elston about a SLIP candidate who was a third year student at Yale Law School, had secured a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the fall of 2007, had a master’s degree in history from Harvard University, graduated cum laude from Yale College, had successfully served as a SLIP with the Department, and had a security clearance. The candidate’s application also stated that she had worked for a Democratic Congressman and had worked at the Yale Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic on human rights issues “arising from the war on terror.” Elston was unable to say why the candidate was deselected. Elston said he remembered being moved in a positive way by the personal essay the candidate had written about some difficulties in her childhood. However, Elston said he found this candidate’s essay “a little bit troublesome” because she said she wanted to work at the Department where she would “be able to consider both the needs of my client and also what is best for my country.” Elston said that “line attorneys in the Department of Justice don’t get to indulge themselves [by] deciding for themselves what’s best for the country.” Nevertheless, Elston said he did not think that statement in the essay would constitute a reason to disqualify somebody with an outstanding record and an otherwise great essay.

We asked Elston why he denied the appeal of a SLIP candidate who was a student at Stanford Law School, an editor on the Stanford Journal of International Law, President of the Stanford International Human Rights Association, and had graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University. Elston said there was nothing familiar to him about the application so he could not explain why he did not approve it.

However, on reading the applicant’s essay when we showed it to him, Elston said that he had a negative reaction to her statement that working for the Department would stimulate her conscience as well as her brain and allow her to work on cases that she cared about. Elston stated: [T]hose kinds of things [in essays] strike me as being, as being an indication that this person views it all right to put their own judgment about what’s right and wrong ahead of what the law, or, or policy requires... But it’s just not the job of a line career attorney to, you know, decide in a metaphorical sense what’s right and wrong.

Elston said he took those kinds of considerations into account when reviewing the substance of applicants’ essays. He said that an attorney’s “job is to follow the policies of the Department even if you disagree with them. And so, that’s the kind of person that I’m looking for when I’m looking for a line Assistant.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Watching Alexander / Our Saturday Night

When we were in Taiwan, we were buying up and watching pirated DVDs as fast as we could. Comes with the territory of having no friends. Anyway, we came across the DVD of Oliver Stone's Alexander [NY Times Review] and had to force ourselves to finish it.

Last night, out of sure boredom, it showed up on AMC and we watched it. All of it - going on for more than three hours. Is it really that bad? There are two battle scenes (yea, we know - only two) which are kind of bad-ass, espescially the bit about the Hydapses campaign with elephants - that was cool.

But other than that, it's just kind of . . . boring. I mean, I actually thought it got better as the movie went on (Alexander's trek through the Hindu Kush is sort of neat). There are some pretty serious pacing problems, and the acting, with the exception of Collin Farell (at times, he's uneven) and his gay lover, Hyphastieon (sp?), is pretty poor.

But back to the boring part. We almost majored in history - meaning that, in a sort of way, we actually like that stuff. Credit where due: the film was way more enjoyable the second time for whatever reason. But much alcohol was needed to make the experience an even remotely enjoyable one. Hrmmmmmm.

Also, here's a gem from the Washington Post review:

If you played a word-association game with "Alexander the Great," you'd probably come up with "conqueror," "king," "warrior," "legend," "despot," "wastrel" or "killer." Unfortunately, Oliver Stone has chosen to build his epic of the Macedonian military genius around a word highly unlikely to make the list: "crybaby."


Washington Post

/Saturday night


Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuff White People Like Contest

Stuffwhitepeoplelike is having a contest - you write your own entry, and if it is the best, you get a free copy of the book.

Well we had to do this, since we love deconstruction, that's what we wrote about.  Entry below:


Deconstruction is a way that a white person can enjoy the baser elements of pop-culture on the one hand, while putting to use their English or philosophy of degree on the other. It provides a way for a white person to enjoy crass television programs and popular music

In truth, no one – least of all white people – understands what Derrida meant by deconstruction, but don’t try telling that to a white person! He or she will give you a mouthful about the relationship between signs and signifieds and the importance of context and society and so forth. 

Deconstruction allows white people to watch, enjoy, and talk about shows like MTV’s Pimp My Ride or a Shot of Love with Tia Tequila. A white person will say something like “If you really look closely at the signification process, you can see that Tia Tequila is a symbol of the upheaval of gender rolls in post-modern America.” Or, a white person might tell you after watching the latest episode of Gossip Girl that “my understanding of bourgeois fashion and behavioral norms was constantly being subverted throughout the show. It’s clear that last night’s episode was really a satirical commentary meant undermine America’s cultural assumptions on how the media are portraying our own cultural elite.”

It’s important to note that normally such things would be below white people. One of the reason they don’t like owning TVs or having cable is that they like to pretend that such programs are drivel, preferring to netflix DVDs of “realistic” shows like The Wire. But when entertainment can be analyzed – and deconstructed – the possibilities are endless. 

If a show like this comes up in a conversation, a white person will probably try to analyze the subject and elucidate any implications for society as a whole. It’s best to let a white person do this uninterrupted, and then, when he or she is finished, say, “Wow, I never thought of it like that, but you’re right. I am going to think about this in a new way from now on!”

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's Our Birthday So . . .

We're giving everyone a gift of a mixtape:  Chiang Kai Shek: Music to Reunify To.

It rocks.  We promise


[Edit: The title is a joke.  C'mon people  . . . .]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Scalia to America: You'll Live to Regret This!

Yesterday - that is, eons ago in internet time - the Supreme Court issued a decision in Boumediene v. Bush, 533 U.S.__(Slip Op.) (2008), regarding the Military Detention Act.  Basically the majority holds that foreign nationals detained as terror suspects in Bay can file for habeas corpus petitions in federal (civilian) court.  The protections provided by the Military Detention Act and the Detainee Treatment Act were not adequate subsistutions of the habeas corpus writ, and did not ensure the Guantanimo detainees due process rights . . . The right to the writ of habeas corpus can only be suspended by Congress, and then only in times of invasion or rebellion . . . .

The decision is a major defeat for the Bush administration. The vote was 5-4 and basically down ideological lines, with Stevens, Souter, Breyer, Ginsberg, and Kennedy (the swing) in the majority, and Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia dissenting. 

The best part?  In Scalia's dissent he says: "The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today." 553 U.S. ___ at *25.  Reminds us of what the bad guy from cartoons: "You've done it now, Planeteers - giving people the right file a habeas corpus petition in accordance with the Constitution - you'll live to regret this!!"

WaPo, also, here, noting that the Bush administration's strategy is in disarray.

EDIT: Dig this comment, "Justice 5, Brutality 4," from the NYT story: "We're just one judge away [Kennedy] from a court-ordered dictatorship . . ."

Also, this one: 
"Justice Scalia decries characterization of the Constitution as a living document, yet chooses to ignore its plain language. You cannot have it both ways, sir." TITCR~

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


* We've gotten a lot of complaints about how the blog is boring now, and about even how we're boring now.  The two are probably related, and we've been kind of busy (to the extent that this post has been written over a series of days).  So sorry.  Maybe we'll get into some adventures and it will be less boring.  People also complain that it's become to political, and to bogged down in the law (as opposed to Law School) and such.  We're sorry . . . But look at this way: it's summer.  At least there's still some random tid-bits being thrown up here (check TJDP and FFJ!)  We're tryin'...

* McCain lambasted the SCOTUS decision in in Boumediene v. Bush [earlier coverage], but his
rationale for doing so isn't quite clear to us.  He also specifically praised Chief Justice Robert's dissent. Hmm - Is this really a case of judicial activism that he (claims) to dislike so much?  Anyway, we only bring it up because The Nation had an interesting tidbit (in an unrelated article about why HRC would make a good VP candidate):

Yet, praising Chief Justice John Roberts for his dissent from the Supreme Court's extension of habeas corpus protection to Guantánamo prisoners who have experienced much worse, McCain dismissed the pleading of the tortured: "These are people who are not citizens." Well, neither was he a citizen of Vietnam when he attacked that country, and wouldn't it have been a good thing if his captors had been held accountable by an independent judiciary? Although McCain has in the past condemned torture, whatever he thought then, he does not now believe that judicial due process is a human right to be universally honored. Obama, who strongly supported the court's 5-4 majority decision, clearly does.

* Ever wonder how we can have 1) A war and 2) Massive tax cuts, many of them to rich people?  Turns out it's never really happened before, and if you want to know more, an (few days old now) editorial in the Washington Post says you should probably ask your grandkids.  If you think the economy sucks and gas is expensive now . . . oh boy . . . 

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Louisiana v. Kennedy; Boston Legal and the SCOTUS

This is way, way overdue, but I figured I'd throw it up there for anyone that missed it.  

Boston Legal - that silly show on ABC about a Boston BIGLAW firm and stars William Shatner and James Spader - had an interesting and surprisingly accurate, in a way, take on the high court of the Nation in an episode titled "The Court Supreme."  Basically, what happens is that (for some reason) Alan Shore, the show's most gifted attorney, gets assigned to handle the appeal of a capital case of a man sentenced to death for raping a minor.  

Incidentally, the facts of the case are eerily similar to those of Kennedy v. Louisiana, which the court heard arguments for back in April.  The case is significant because the settled interpretation of Coker v. Georgia is that you can't be put to death for rape; the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment", forbids it.  The state supreme court of Louisiana disagreed, and attempted to distinguish the facts from those in Coker.  A decision should be coming to (along with the anticipated DC v. Heller case).

Anyway, back to the show.  The speech that Spader's character gives before the court is, in our opinion, spot-on.  Unfortunately we couldn't find a clip of the entire thing, but in the first half he explains why Coker basically says that applying the death penalty in this case would be unconstitutional.  In the second half (below) he blasts the Supreme Court and calls out several of the justices (Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia) by name on some of their various (and awful) decisions, everything from the pending Exxon Valdez case to Scalia's failure to acknowledge (several) conflicts of interests, Bush v. Gore ("You guys rewrote - sorry - invented - the law to decide a Presidential election!"):  

Apparently other people were impressed as well. From

Even Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher [whom many of us remember as the author of our Evidence textbook and supplement], who argued the real child rape case on April 16, has seen and was impressed by the episode -- though he distanced himself from the more outrageous aspects. Fisher also argued in the Exxon Valdez case. "It was striking how closely the episode hewed to the real facts in Kennedy, down to the most minute detail, and (certain rants aside) to the real legal arguments the parties are advancing," Fisher said in an e-mail. "The producers obviously had studied our briefing quite closely -- same for the quick blurb about Exxon."

Great.  And one last bit: "I'm curious, you all as a group . . . how many executions have you actually witnessed . . . . I've seen five - and it's the most inhumane, cruel, and unusual hypocrisy  of a system that promises to be just."

Thoughts?  Also, if anyone finds the full clip . . . that'd be nice. 

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Perfect Thing for O G I

Screw Law Review. Forget the Brooks Brothers suit. And don't worry about your grades. The one thing that's sure to wow the white-shoe firms is a pair of KG Commanders by Adidas. They're the shoe that Kevin Garnett has been wearing to lay the pwnage on Kobe and company. Show the hiring partner that you have good taste: they look great with suit, or even just with khakis and a jacket.

(Seriously, buy me a pair of these and I *will* wear them to OGI) - From Kevin Garnett's sneakers, the adidas Team Signature KG Commander, will go on sale in October, but a few select pairs are being auctioned off for charity during the NBA Finals. They will retail for $1017.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Clinton-Campaign-Post-Mortem: When Did It Become Inevitable?

So it seems like the conventional wisdom is that HRC has been on the losing train for quite some time now (whether she should have dropped out before hand being a separate, but inexorably related, question). One interesting ex post analysis would be to ask at what point did defeat become more or less inevitable; put another way, at what time was there no longer any reasonable chance - that will be our quantum - that HRC could prevail and win the nomination?

The Washington Post has a good, slightly long, feature article today titled "She Could Accept Losing. She Could Not Accept Quitting." In addition to providing a pretty intriguing inside-look into HRC's campaign, it also gives an answer to this question: May 6, the day of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, a double digit loss and narrow victory for HRC respectively. The article contends that, not only did HRC "expect" (perhaps unreasonably, as some advisers to campaign have retorted) to do much better in both those states, but that that moment also opened the floodgates to wave events that heralded ultimate defeat: the trickle that eventually turned into a flood of super's jumping ship, the Edwards endorsement, et cetra.

We'd take it back even further, to the "Firewall" primaries in Texas and Ohio. Hillary won both of those, Ohio by 10 points and Texas by 1-2 (although she actually lost delegates in Texas because of its strange apportionment rules for delegates there), but these were both states in which she had at one time huge leads. The Obama campaign considered its showing in Ohio and Texas to be a victory, and rightly so - it was, in fact and viewed retrospecitvely, the coup de grace: After winning 10 straight contests - including a throrough rout in the "Potomac Primaries" in DC, MD, and VA, Obama's performance in OH and TX made it a sure thing that HRC was *never* going to be able to exceed him in pledged delegates (i.e. those chosen through caucuses and primaries). From then on, HRC could only really cling to her "popular vote" and variations of her "I'm more electable" argument - both of which were, at best, only somewhat true to begin with and became less and less true as time dragged on.

So HRC has, in our opinion, wasted time and resources for the past few months. The counterargument is that everyone, regardless of in which state they live in, should get a say in the primary process. Fine with us - but we think that's just another argument for having a single, national primary (with instant run-off voting if no candidate gets a majority) as opposed to dragging this thing out for months and months . . .

No reason to start doing the smart thing now, though.

The last post about primary election postering, at least for a while. After all, we did say that it is stupid and dangerous to get to fixated on the primaries.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


A black-man from Chicago took on the Clinton political machine, ground it out for 16 months, and *won*. He stood up against an illegal war, against corporate cronyism and free-market ideologues, and against a Presidential administration that took the country and put it on the wrong direction on basically every major issue . Kudos. And a classy speech, too.

The general election should be a slam dunk. Which, by the way, Obama can do.

The NYT on Illegal Immigrants: Current Situation is Kinda Messed Up

The NYT issued a scathing editorial today, directed primarily at United States lawmakers, who are in a rush to place huge restrictions on all aspects of life of illegal immigrants: 

Someday, the country will recognize the true cost of its war on illegal immigration. We don’t mean dollars, though those are being squandered by the billions. The true cost is to the national identity: the sense of who we are and what we value. It will hit us once the enforcement fever breaks, when we look at what has been done and no longer recognize the country that did it.

A nation of immigrants is holding another nation of immigrants in bondage, exploiting its labor while ignoring its suffering, condemning its lawlessness while sealing off a path to living lawfully. The evidence is all around that something pragmatic and welcoming at the American core has been eclipsed, or is slipping away.

It's worth a read.  The articles goes on to talk about the "indiscriminate terror among millions of people" that the recent anti-immigrant campaign has engendered.   It notes that what is happening now - singling out new immigrant groups for unjust treatment, is just history repeating itself.  It also declares that history will judge the current anti-immigration fever and the policies associated with it as accomplishing little but increasing human misery and wasting time and money while sending the country further down a path of xenophobic ignorance.  

We agree. 

Sunday, June 01, 2008

。 。 。 Made Glorious Summer by This Sun of York, 或是, 我愛夏天的原因

夏天在charlottesville。 五月,結束最後的考試, 開始放暑假, 是一般學生最開心的時候了。在上最後的考試的時候, 法學院的學生都可怕於緊張, 但是現在由於暑假, 因此除了著急成績 (跟將來的前途有一個比較大影響),學生都很放心了。 有很多去另外的地方工作(華盛頓, 紐約, 等), 但是, 寡人自己在這兒工作。 我很喜歡; 當然不是我理想的工作,但是工作比較有意思, 工人又聰明又和裡, 工作的時間不太長。。。而且,工作不能完全隨個人興趣兒定 事實上,我現在對我做的很敢興趣了。。 。

周謀是最好的。 雖然寡人的朋友門多半兒的在另外的地方,charlottesville還有一些寡人最喜愛的。 反正,在學期中周謀等於正天猛K書。 現在事情完全不一樣了。 我站起來去運動場舉重或是打太極拳。 之後, 我打籃球。 。 。然後,寡人看書籍(但是不是跟法律有關的書) 或是寫字或是看電視。 覺得我的健康比學期裡的好的多, 而且覺得吃的飯比較好, 也可以說在學期重睡不著, 現在我安眠了。 。。

結論: 夏天在charlottesville等於好極了。 不如夏天在騎色佳好, 可是非常好。

奧。。 夏天=summer, 請你去中文.com試試看 :)