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September 30, 2004

Why I Will Not Be Watching the Debates

From today's George Will column in the Washington Post:

Presidential debates are to real debates as processed cheese is to cheese. They are preceded by elaborate negotiations to prevent the unseemly outbreak of anything debate-like, such as a sustained development or critique of arguments.

So rather than watch them, my task list for tomorrow includes:
  • Drafting an order to show cause and affidavit (mock)
  • Catching up on property notes
  • Going to a callback interview
  • Attending a 3-hour clinic lesson
  • Checking out info on a pro-bono information session
  • Getting ready to fly to DC the next morning
  • Going to a wine-tasting

No, no debate for me. You know how everyone says that 2L year is busy? I'm beginning to agree...

September 29, 2004

Posted [Almost] Without Comment

A while ago I posted about F--- the Vote. Now a friend has tipped me off to Votergasm.com. (Probably not very work safe.)

Some people are having far too much fun with politics this year.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Professor Althouse seems annoyed that the Bush Blog took her entry "How Kerry Lost Me" somewhat out of context. Basically, they linked, cut a few paragraphs out, and made some conclusions about her that were unwarranted. In her words:

Was the first thing I wrote about the Republican National Convention? No, it was the twelfth thing I wrote about!

Did the convention impress me because it "offered substance and an agenda for winning the war on terror"? I never said that. I wrote about being impressed by the passion and conviction about national security as expressed by Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Ron Silver.


Now, I've seen both campaign blogs doing things like this, but here I'm going to have to give some credit to the Kerry campaign: they run the better blog. For one thing, while it spins, it's rarely as obvious in its spin as the Bushies. Further, whilst both blogs are fairly negative, the Kerry blog has quite a few posts urging grassroots, individual action, a very nice touch.

But while spin may be in the eye of the beholder, I don't think there's any doubt that the Kerry Blog is better as a technological matter. The design is lighter and easier to read, the blog features comments and fosters discussion, and for the most part, what's there works. Whereas if you look at the bottom of my right sidebar in the "Ridiculously Bipartisan News" section, you'll see that the Bush Blog's RSS 1.0 feed hasn't updated since July 10th. (Actually, most of the time when I click through to the feed itself it seems broken.)

Earlier in her post, Prof. Althouse wonders why a link from the Bush Blog gets her fewer hits than Instapundit, Allahpundit, or Vodkapundit. My guess is that relatively few people read the Bush blog, particularly in comparison to the Kerry one. (I don't have site-usage statistics, but the Kerry Blog currently shows a Page Rank 7--up there with Volokh or Instapundit--while the Bush Blog shows only a PR5, which is less than my humble site. Page Rank isn't a wonderful proxy for page hits, but it does say something about popularity.)

At least in this election cycle, I'd say the Democrats have shown a much better use of new technology than the Republicans. (First and foremost, the former make sure their technology works.) Some thoughts on why this is so will have to wait for a later date.

September 27, 2004

A Few Quick Thoughts on Fair Game

I have too much work to do, but there's some matters about the Xanga affair that are preying upon my mind. There has been a lot of triumphalism in the news lately about the 'power' of blogs--and skepticism about this is fitting--but it does raise some questions about how we treat each other.

As it's now panned out, it looks like the Xanga site in question, Misled Youth, wasn't secured correctly to begin with. What Modern Vertebrate and then chillinois posted seems to have been publicly accessible, whether it was meant to be or not.

On the other hand, what I was surprised to find when I sent an instant message to the author this morning was that no one had contacted her yet. This put me in the embarassing position of pointing out the existence of the Kos article, being the bearer of ill news. And this surprised me. Tracking her down wasn't hard: her blog had almost half a dozen contact methods listed.

Now, besides an 'abortion is murder' style post at the top of the page, very little of her blog was political. It looked like a diary/community blog page that she kept for friends, and a Technorati search for the blog shows few incoming links. (Of course, she does link to it in a Yahoo profile and link to it off bulletin boards, which somewhat tempers the criticism.) The work didn't seem to be a serious attempt to enter a political fray. It's mostly just a diary of a young woman.

And yet neither MV nor chillinois nor Kos seems to have given her a bit of warning, a chance to take down any of the 'personal' areas of the site, as she has done now. (UPDATE: Please see the comments. 'Chillinois' claims to have written an email to an address on the blog on Sunday but received no reply. As I explain in the comments, this doesn't really change the following analysis.)

Now, I certainly don't think they should have a legal obligation to do so. Indeed, if you read my technical discussion in the preceding piece, I advocate putting the legal burden for securing information mostly on the owner of the information and the operator of the server. But legal obligations don't cover the whole scope of one's duties.

Had I not read about this in Kos--in which case, as I've said, keeping quiet about it is wholly ridiculous--I would have at least paused to consider the consequences of my actions. For instance, chillinois posted a copy of a picture of the young lady posted on her girlfriend's gay.com site. Now suppose that the image was there without the consent or permission of Misled Youth: this is the kind of thing that might put strain on a couple, if there were legitimate concerns over privacy. And that would be outside of whatever this might do to the relationship between the young lady and her (supposed--remembering this may still be a hoax) father. That would at least give me pause: do I really want such a thing on my conscience?

Evidently, this matters not at all to some of Kos's readers. A selection from his comments, not untypical of one side of the debate:

This is a war. A deadly war; remember Argentina, remember Chile. The disappeared could very easily become our reality.
We must use, every tool we have short of violence to win. These people are utterly ruthless. If we fight fair and they fight with no rules, we will lose.

Keyes attacked Cheney's daughter becasue she is gay. Keyes daughter is an adult, so she is fair game. And, if you read her blog Maya shares her father's twisted, derranged ideas about abortion, Kerry and more. She campaigns with her father. In their words she is a "politcal operative." They would not hesitate to destroy our "political operatives."

Or, less lucidly if more briefly:

fuck all you losers~!!!!!
i wonder how many of those wailing & gnashing their teeth are actually paid operstives ...."she is but a CHILD! cmon KOS, we dont do this!!! we are The Noble Failures!!!!"

well if being noble leads to failure let me dish some fuckin dirt & WIN!!!!!!


(Though again, to be fair to Kos, a very sizeable proportion, if not half, of his commentors are against the post.)

Whatever Kos's right to publish, I have to wonder that he didn't find some kind of moral duty to notify. "I, the mighty Kos, have a readership that reaches to the skies and blots out the moon on clear nights. I'm about to cast my mighty eye upon you, and I suspect [incorrectly, as it turns out] that I'm about to expose you due to a security glitch. You might fancy taking down the posts." If he were writing about myself, or Brian Leiter, or Crescat Sententia--blogs that are large enough in the ecosystem, have been obviously beaten about a bit--I'd think differently. But if you're about to expose someone's personal life, particularly if you think they might have meant to keep it private... that just seems a bit dubious.

Noteworthy [Ir]relevance [See Updates]

Just when I was beginning to worry about the relevance of my note topic, something much like it hits the news. [Please see the UPDATES below: it appears that Kos got some of his story wrong.]

According to various links from Kos, there's a potential scandal brewing over the outing of Alan Keyes daughter through her blog. I can't confirm a bit of this, but it seems that a young lady who may or may not be Maya Keyes kept a 'diary-style' site on Xanga, where she posted some rather personal stories which indicate she is a lesbian. According to Kos:

The evidence comes from Maya's very public blog (first discovered by Modern Vertebrate). Xanga apparently allows parts of the site to be "protected" from those not on a special list, but Xanga has poor technology, as some of that protected content can be easily found. For example, here's the post where she hides parts of her site.

(links removed) Now, please note again that I can't confirm any of this. Indeed, it does appear that sites like chillinois are linking to some of these entries by exploiting a very strange security flaw. (The August 21st entry appears on the link but not the main blog.) But at this time of night, I couldn't tell you one way or the other, or how they're doing it. (Yes, it appears to be passing a userid in the URL, but certainly Xanga's security ain't that bad, is it?) Whatever the case, I feel sorry for the blog owner, whoever she is: she's about to get a lot more attention than she bargained for.

But that's an aside: I'm not that interested in 'outing' anyone, and I'd not even mention this if it hadn't been on Kos. (The guy's huge. If he's 'broken' the story, it's out. My silence would have no effect.) I'm interested in the technological question.

You see, I'm looking into the relationship between 'unauthorized access' (as ther term and terms like it are used in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) and its courtroom interpretation. I first grew interested after studying the case of Manuel Miranda and the Senate 'hacking' scandal, but wondered if another topical case would ever arrive. To me, this might be such a case (although Xanga might not be covered by the CFAA).

Assume that what Kos says is true: that the security was 'broken.' The question would become how it was broken. It could be by traditional 'hacking': a user figures out how to outsmart Xanga's security. Or it could be by finding a valid user ID and logon, say stealing one from the young lady's friends. Or one might make a Xanga account, email the young lady kindly, and ask her to become part of her 'friends' list. All of these would fall outside my legal problem.

But suppose that the user who first came across this did so knowing that these were supposed to be protected (there's an entry to that respect), but it just so happened that his account was given access it shouldn't have by Xanga's servers. He downloads the information, publishes it on his blog, and scandal ensues. Has he 'hacked' anything, or rather exceeded his 'authorized access?' Or is the operator of the server the one that should be civilly or criminally responsible?

Anyway, I'll have to watch this story, to see how the technical details pan out. Should be interesting.

Update: In case this ever gets back to the young lady in question--unlikely, but stranger things have happened--shoot me an email and I'll be happy to look into making the blog more secure. As I said, I hate that this kind of thing happens.

Update II: Taking a look at it in the cold light of day, it doesn't look like the entries were protected at all, at least from this side. So whilst it might be an interesting hypothetical situation, it's probably irrelevant to my research.

Update III: I spent a few minutes IMing the young lady whose ID is on the blog, and confirmed that there are some protected entries, and Xanga's protection seems to be working. It appears that what chillinois quoted is indeed set to 'public.' Please note that I did not ask for confirmation as to who the person on the other end of the AIM was: first of all, it's not the element in which I'm interested, and secondly, it wouldn't really go any length to determining if this is a hoax.

Update IV: For what it's worth, I just contacted the author of the blog in question and asked her permission to leave this post up. Which makes me feel a bit better about the whole thing, though not much. Most of her site is now being reset to "private." As this looks less and less like a hoax, the young lady has my sympathy: this is probably more attention than she bargained for.

Policy Update

Due to some correspondence I've received this weekend, I've formally set out an email policy, which is detailed on a newly-fixed About TYoH page. It's mostly ripped off from Crescat Sententia, because I think Will mostly got it right. For reference:

Email Policy. I'm going to take a page from Will Baude, an advocate of good etiquette, whose policy runs thus:
Unless you explicitly tell me otherwise, email sent about the blog (or topics recently mentioned on the blog) will be considered fair game to be republished here on this (not for profit) blog. This will usually, but not always, be anonymous; If you have strong feelings about this, be sure to express a preference.

I will only add this to Mr. Baude's policy: except where legally or professionally bound, the sharing of correspondence is generally at the option of the recipient. So if you're sending insults that you wouldn't want posted online, think twice.

September 26, 2004

Annoyances

One particularly bad thing happened to me while I was in London for an interview last week: my cell phone and PDA were stolen. I'd gone out for a drink with an old friend and I left my jacket at a pub. By the time I got back, the jacket was there but the electronics weren't. Yes, it was dumb, but these things happen.

Insurance has covered the cell phone at minimal expense, although the replacement process proved complicated. More annoying is the PDA, a Dell Axim X3. I purchased this in Japan over the summer because I wanted a machine with a Japanese operating system. (Unlike PCs, PDAs have important parts of the operating system embedded on the chip, so I can't just buy a device and install the OS from the earlier X3.) When I called Dell last week to see about getting a replacement, they told me I'd have to buy one from the Japanese website.

Me: "Wait a second. I thought all the Dell PDAs were assembled in Texas?"

Dell Salesman (DS): "They are."

Me: "So I'd be ordering off a Japanese website, but shipping the device from Texas, then having to get a friend to mail it back?"

DS: "Yep. We don't sell them with a non-US OS."

I suspect that somewhere in this is the iron hand of Microsoft: after all, Dell shouldn't really care about what OS sits on its device, whereas MS might be worried about price maintenance across borders. But whatever the case, this is annoying.

Ah well. The X50 is supposed to be coming out soon, and this gives me an opportunity to revisit non-Dell options. Time for a trip to Bic Camera.com. Nonetheless, it's a very expensive lesson and an annoyance I didn't need right now.

Update: Looking at my packing order for the old X3 and some of the shipping materials, I'm not entirely sure that it was made in Texas. I thought all of them were assembled there, but maybe not. Certainly the salesman suggested so when I asked, but then that might have been a mistake.

Any information on this gratefully received.

Update II: PG of Half the Sins of Mankind pointed me to links like this which indicated that at least the X5 was manufactured in Taiwan. So maybe a Taiwan->Tokyo->New York hop makes a bit more sense.

September 24, 2004

The Trouble With Law Review When You're Short on Time

Whenever I'm short on time, my Law Review assignments are one of two things: either long and disasterous, or as today, too damn interesting not to read more about. All of a sudden a relatively easy assignment becomes a day-long task.

Cited in one of my tasks today was the (at least to me) compelling argument by Judge James M. Rosenbaum, who wants a 'cyber-statute of limitations' with regards to deleted material. The article, titled In Defense of the Delete Key, makes a final compelling point:

This suggestion recognizes that the computer is, itself, flawed. Its permanent memory is a flaw which undermines its value and endangers its users. Its inability to forget weakens and undermines the very ideas it permanently holds. The real flaw is that the computer lies: it lies when it says delete. This mechanical lie ought not to debase and degrade the humans who are, and ought to be, its master.

Worth reading. Hell, in general the Green Bag is usually worth the read.

September 22, 2004

Leiter Fantasy

It's almost silly, critiquing Brian Leiter after Professor Althouse has already given him such a thorough and well-deserved drubbing. But he's at it again.

Leiter likes to critique his online opponents--with terms like "moral cretins and self-important poseurs"--for failures of reason or reasoning. And yet on one subject, he seems to need no more proof than mere assertion, no more reason than the flimsy scrims that will satisfy his desires. That subject is the idea that President Bush is going to reinstate the draft.

I've already chronicled the absurdity of his assertion that Bush would do this through a bill entirely sponsored by Democrats. But now look at what Leiter has posted as "a good summary of the facts." A Common Dreams piece by Howard Dean, in which black is white and up is down. Dean seems to be anticipating sensible criticism and giving nonsensical replies:

President Bush will be forced to decide whether we can continue the current course in Iraq, which will clearly require the reinstatement of the draft. The Pentagon has objected to a draft but, the President has ignored other Pentagon recommendations in the past.

That's logic? The President has ignored recommendations in the past, so he'll ignore this one? True, he may ignore this one, but that's a possibility, a mere prognostication, not an argument. And given that reinstating a draft is political suicide, militarily unwise, and has no payoff for Bush at any point, it's a rather farfetched example of Deans--and Leiter's--skill at political haruspicy. Those livers must really be a mess.

(update: worth noting that Leiter doesn't quote the above. The piece he quotes, however, is similarly tenuous. Basically it states that our military is overstretched, and thus there must be a draft forthcoming. There is no discussion of other options, present solutions, or events that might change on the ground. Which of course, there wouldn't be, because it's a hit-piece designed to impress a certain conclusion upon the reader, not a 'summary of the facts.')

I will never understand Leiter's ability to hold a readership based upon articles and arguments like this. It's tempting to just challenge him to put his money where his mouth is, to lay a bet on Bush starting up the draft in 2005. After all, Leiter obviously believes this to be so true he can support it with arguments that border upon the fatuous. Wonder what I'd have to offer to get him to wager his blog?
(A response to Leiter's comeback is in the extended entry.)

Update: Leiter responds here. And what a response:

(A sidenote on naifs: this one--a law review student, it appears, named Anthony Rickey at Columbia--purports to take issue with this posting of mine, yet neither disputes nor responds to any of the factual claims in that posting, instead quoting something else, which he denounces as silly, before noting, parenthetically, that I had not quoted it! This can not be a quality of argumentation that makes my friends on the Columbia Law School faculty proud. Another one, alas, for the annals of the decidedly weird. [By the way, on the basis of this robust argumentation, he thinks that I and, by implication, you dear readers are "schmucks." Goodness!)

(links in original omitted)
Let's take this one at a time:
  • He's right. I didn't take issue with the factual statements he quoted, because taken alone they don't come up with reasonable support that a draft is coming. Take the Individual Ready Reserve statement: it's ably handled by the Clerk, who manages as always to put things in reasonable perspective. The facts listed by Leiter give reasons why forces are stretched, which is to be expected when two wars are running, but not reason to anticipate a draft--certainly not in Leiter's strongly conclusive way. As Leiter puts it in his most recent post on the topic: "And unless the course is changed, the writing is on the wall for the next generation of victims." I hereby revise my commentary: he's not bad at haruspicy but cephalonomancy.
  • Leiter states that I quoted "something else." That something else is the rest of the article to which he linked in the original post. It's a sentiment with which he most heartily concurs in his current post on the draft (linked above). Indeed, his statement is stronger than Dean's and suffers the same defect. So if my argument is bad, it's in assuming that he agrees with his source material when he gives no indication otherwise, an assumption which he confirms in a later post. I hesitate to again mention haruspicy....
  • Finally, let me make something clear to any of Prof. Leiter's readers who have wandered this way: Leiter has made his reputation as a pugnacious fellow who feels little need for civility in the blogosphere, has no problem calling his opponents cretins, and in general has no problem with dubious language, so long as he's the one using it. His concern about the use of the term "schmuck" is thus a bit puzzling.

    Doubly puzzling is his determination that I mean anything towards his readers. I have no idea who his readership is: I know only what he himself writes, although he quotes his correspondents sometimes. But if his readers doubt the accuracy of this statement, there's an email that Prof. Leiter sent me last Friday. Might I suggest that you, his readers, ask his permission for me to publish it? Suffice it to say it is singular in all my experience on the internet and a pretty good testament of character. For some reason he doesn't wish me to print it.

    Nonetheless, and irrespective of the Professor's rhetorical excesses, the term was probably a bridge too far. In what mild defense I can muster, I'll say only that I was echoing the usage of another reader, and didn't mean the term in earnest. One of my greatest objections to Prof. Leiter is his practice of demonizing his opponents: "The Texas Taliban," "the madmen in the Bush Administration," etc. I shouldn't have joined in that part of the fray. For that I apologize both to the Professor--to the extent they care--his readership.

September 21, 2004

Finally, some legal analysis

Some of you might have been wondering when I'd ever touch on subjects legal here again. Well, how's this: you get both law and sex in the same post.

Will Baude and Peter Northup are both debating the wisdom of a proposal by Professors Ian Ayres and Katherine Baker. Basically, the two professors want to reduce STD transmission and acquaintance rape:

This article attempts to make progress on both the problems of sexually transmitted disease and acquaintance rape by proposing a new crime of reckless sexual conduct. A defendant would be guilty of reckless sexual conduct if, in a first sexual encounter with another particular person, the defendant had sexual intercourse without using a condom. Consent to unprotected intercourse would be an affirmative defense, to be established by the defendant with a preponderance of the evidence. . . .

Baude spends quite a lot of time discussing (or edging around) sexual positions and the difficulty of establishing consent. Northup counters with this eminently reasonable idea:
We are therefore only dealing with cases where only one person has consented (if both had, we wouldn't be having a trial), and the only question is which one. The preponderance of the evidence standard means that if the woman can establish that the probability she consented is <50%, the probability the man consented must be >=50%, conditional on someone consenting. Thus showing that you probably didn't consent immunizes you from prosecution for RSC. Hence, in all the cases we are concerned about, there is essentially no risk of the statute backfiring and deterring victims from coming forward--or at least, a much lower risk of backfiring than the current risk of emotional/reputational damage from participating in a criminal sexual assault trial.

Which is true, as far as it goes. My trouble with the proposal is that it wants to impose a 'preponderance of the evidence' standard upon the defendant. He must prove, beyond a preponderance of the evidence, that consent was given not to use a condom. Ayres and Baker's support for this seems to me to be flaccid... if you'll excuse the pun.

Their policy argument basically runs thus:

The affirmative defense afforded defendants is amply supported as a matter of public policy. First, as discussed above, this defense gives women who are the victims of non-consensual sex more freedom to come forward and report the crime to police. Second, the difficulty of proving non-consent beyond a reasonable doubt makes the re-allocation of the burden more appropriate. Indeed, the state of Washington already allocates the burden of presenting and proving the issue of consent to the defendant in (far more serious) rape cases. Third, putting the burden of proving non-consent on the prosecution in cases involving unprotected first encounter sex would encode in the law a presumption that women willingly put their physical and emotional health at extreme risk. It would assume that women act recklessly unless the prosecution can prove otherwise.

(citations omitted) This is subject to a number of objections. First, the Professors mention only in a footnote that for the crime of rape, Washington requires proof of consent as an affirmative defense, but requires proof of forcible compulsion. This is hardly the same as criminalizing conduct where the sex itself was consensual, but not the condom usage. (Because if the sex itself weren't consensual, then the crime would be rape.)

But more important is the Professors' third assertion, that putting the burden of proof on the prosecution--to prove a lack of consent beyond reasonable doubt--somehow encodes a presumption of recklessness to women. Well, no. Actually, it just places a presumption of recklessness on a lot of sex acts, and that's probably a reasonable assumption. Let's put it this way: do you really believe that of all the initial acts of condomless sex in the country--which the Professors rightly point out is risky--the predominant number of them are acts of coercion? I'd at least want some statistical backing for this, and it would have to be pretty solid. Because otherwise, the presumption that women will put themselves at risk if the right payoffs are there--be they matrimonial potential or merely good sex--would seem to be a pretty good presumption. But Professors Ayres and Baker have replaced the Reasonable Man standard with one of the Eminently Sensible Woman.

Worse, the Professors' solution seems to be an end-run around Patterson v. New York (432 U.S. 197), which places the burden of proof on the prosecution to prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. They make a rather tepid effort to distinguish this by stating that what they're criminalizing is first time unprotected sex, not non-consensual sex:

We think there little doubt [the proposed statute is constitutional] for one simple reason: Our statute does not criminalize what rape statutes criminalize. Our statute criminalizes unprotected sex. Rape statutes criminalize nonconsensual sex. . . .It would be perfectly possible to be guilty of rape, but not guilty under our statute.

But is it? Let me go out on a limb here and say that this is the affirmative defense that eats the crime. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of first-time sexual encounters that do not involve protection are consensual on both sides. By adding the affirmative defense, the the proposed law makes the real crime the lack of consent, not the condomless activity. Otherwise, you'd criminalize the vast proportion of it. [1]

Here, the Professors run smack into Justice White's Patterson opinion, because for that the prosecution must bear the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The professors show their true colors a few paragraphs later:

We have included a defense of consent both because, somewhat counterintuitively, it makes it more likely that acquaintance rape will be prosecuted, and because consent qualifies the perceived egregiousness of the defendantís behavior.

But of course, if the authors are being honest, it will not make it any more likely that acquaintance rape will be prosecuted. Rather, it makes it likely that "reckless sexual conduct" will be prosecuted--because that's the crime that's going to be charged. The authors wish to use that net to catch quite a few rapists which they feel are being unpunished. Which is fair enough, but precisely the kind of procedural jiggery-pokery that Patterson sets out to prevent.

(update) The second justification for the affirmative defense turns upon the purely bizarre. Read the last bit of that sentence again: consent qualifies the perceived egregiousness of the defendantís behavior. But does it? If the crime is really reckless sexual behavior, then if the 'victim' of the crime consented, they are by definition another defendant. They too engaged in consensual reckless sex, although they share the same defense. Somehow, two people engaging in reckless conduct likely to bring them into contact with STDs--the ostensible purpose for the law--are somehow less culpable?

In any event, you can't fault the Professors for putting forward a provocative article. But in the real world, I think their statute gets struck down pretty quickly.

Update: As I keep considering this proposal, the unique nature of sex and the uniquely one-sided nature of the articles assumptions make me wonder how it would fit in with the rest of criminal law. For instance, if both parties set out to commit reckless sexual conduct, even with them both consenting, can they be charged with conspiracy, even if they might not be guilty of the underlying charge? I'll admit, conspiracy was never my strong suit.

[1]: And if it is possible for one to be guilty of reckless sexual conduct without being guilty of rape, it's difficult to see how: these would be cases in which... what? The woman said, "Yes, honey, but only with a condom... no... oh, well, ok yes"? Simply put, the mind boggles. I can see how it would be easier to prove the facts for RCA than for rape, but under any given set of findings that would support a RCA conviction, I can't think of how you wouldn't get some kind of sexual assault.

Jimmy Swaggart: This Man Makes Me Vomit

I would like to curse Eugene Volokh. His article made me watch Jimmy Swaggart, just to see if the foolish preacher actually said something so horrifically dumb about gay marriage (about 36:00):

I'm trying to find the correct name for it . . . this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. . . . I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

That Swaggart said something disgusting isn't exactly news. But if even the Devil can quote Scripture, let's also point out that the Devil would quote it well. "Kill him and tell God he died." That's been tried before without much success:

9: And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

10: And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

11: And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;


(Genesis 4:9-11)

So suffice it to say that if Swaggart ever made it four chapters into Genesis--I'll admit, a dubious proposition--he should have some idea of what it means to fib to powers omniscient.

But then, Swaggart isn't the Devil, he's just a fool with a microphone.

September 20, 2004

RatherGate: The End?

I just wrote a rather crowing piece about the end of RatherGate: even CBS itself now states that the memos they put on air are likely fakes. Their excuses are just as ridiculous as their defenses have been:

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

(Yeah, Dan. Like you really needed to talk to his secretary to start doubting the documents. You may have just gotten kicked in the ass, but my sympathy would be much more likely if you hadn't gotten in the gimp suit, put on the handcuffs, and bent over prior to the assault in question.)

But still, it would be more gentlemanly to sit back and watch the apologies roll in than to crow from the rooftops about having correctly perceived the obvious. The various members of the Wingnuts in Pajamas brigade deserve an apology, starting from Dan Rather and proceeding on down. It appears that even wingnuts get their stories right every now and then, especially if they're wearing Pajamas. Still, no news from the Daily Kos, publisher of one of the most absurd and offensive defenses of the documents to date.

Update: Fixed the Kos link so it points to... well, Kos.

September 18, 2004

Request For Technical Help

So here's something I thought would be relatively easy to program in Visual Basic, but is giving me a bit of a headache. If any of my readers have any idea how I might implement this, and might give me some advice in the comments or via email, I'd appreciate it.

I'm trying to design an application in an Excel spreadsheet to easily automate a specific task. The sheet should have columns roughly like this:

SectionOpen NoteClose Note
First Section110
Second Section1120
...

One fixed cell of the spreadsheet has a file location for a Microsoft Word document that has quite a few footnotes. The application basically consists of a button that one presses after entering data in to the table above.

Upon pressing the button, the application needs to scan the Word document once for each row in the table, and find the page on which Open Note and Close Note (the footnote with those numbers) appears. It must then print that range of pages in the Word doc, go to the next line in the table, and repeat.

I'm writing some VBA to cope with this process, but I'm stumped on a few points. Given the limited nature of my coding skill, I'm mostly stumped at the hard parts. So maybe some of my readers can answer:

  • What would be the best way for me to use VB code to scan the Word document to determine the page number on which Open Note and Close Note appear?
  • Is there any way to tell Excel to open a different file in a program such as Word and print a given range of pages?
  • Anyone know of a VBA app (or other) that already does this?

Thanks in advance for any help my more technically-minded readers have. Len, that means you. ;)

September 15, 2004

Not a 50/50 Split

Wow. I can't believe Rather had the gall to give this interview:

That was why, he said, half of the experts agreed and the other half didnít. That supposed stalemate left nothing but the truth at the center of the documents.

"In terms of the experts, youíre going to find an equal number of experts on the authenticity arguments," he said. "I donít think thatís going to resolve the argument. The core truth of the reporting, I think itís already clear that itís true. And I think as time goes along, it will become even more apparent."


(emphasis mine) Yeah, Dan, but there's one key difference between CBS's experts and everyone else. Your 'experts' don't have names.

September 14, 2004

This Is Sort of Amusing

One more reason to love the Internet: when enthusiasts get excited by something, they can come up with utterly pointless pieces of software. If you use MoveableType and find this rather humorous, look over there.

A Public Service Message For Users of Microsoft Word

[WARNING: If you're tired of hearing about Dan Rather and 'old' memos, skip the first three or so paragraphs, but you may want to read the rest of this, since I'm outlining a handy feature of MS Word that might save you some time. OK, it's not an exactly hidden feature, but hey, some seem not to have heard of it. Just click here to skip to the useful stuff.]

Wow, the whole Rathergate story is getting quickly ridiculous. We could solve this whole thing quite easily: CBS could put up a very high definition scan (say, in TIFF format instead of PDF) of their 'original' photocopies for casual consumption, and invite in the experts currently critical of them to review the actual physical evidence. Not tough at all, but it ain't gonna happen. Meanwhile, the guess, counter-guess, and speculation continue apace.

Ok, I'll admit, watching Dan Rather get his arse handed to him by a bundle of 'guys in pajamas' gives me a great big internet-inspired grin. In the meantime, though, the wild guesses and counter-accusations are getting absurd. I'm only going to join the fray insofar as it's useful to teach my readers a handy little trick in Microsoft Word 2002, especially nifty if they ever want to fake old documents. From Dan Rather's defense tonight (from the transcription at Ratherbiased.com, since I can't find one on CBS's website):

RICHARD KATZ (Software Designer): If you were doing this a week ago or a month ago on a normal laser jet printer, it wouldn't work. The font wouldn't be available to you.
RATHER: Katz noted the documents have the superscript th and a regular sized th. That would be common on a typewriter, not a computer.
KATZ: There is one document from may of 1972 which contains a normal "l" th at the top. To produce that in microsoft word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the th setting off or back over them and type them again.

Katz is described as a 'software expert.' Well, so am I, at least when it comes to features of Microsoft Word. So for his sake and yours, I'll show you a shortcut that can eliminate the pain of a lot of 'automatic' features of MS Word 2002. (This ain't brain surgery, and most of you will have seen it before, but since 'software designers' are missing it, what the heck.)

The most common explanation for how to get around 'auto-superscripting' is also one of the most annoying. Say you want to type '187th' without a superscript. Wizbang, among others, has suggested that what you should do is type '187', then a space, then 'th', and then go back and delete the space. Well, this is annoying, and in my impatience, it normally doesn't work: I do all that, then hit 'end' to go to the end of the line, and having forgotten to put a space after 'th', hit space. Which as many frustrated Word users know, just superscripts the thing again.

OK, superscript isn't normally where I have this problem. It's where I'm typing something like U.S.C. §185(c), and the (c) becomes a ©. But the solution's the same. Try it with me.

Open a document in Word 2002 or later. Just type '187th', hit space, and if you still have the autocorrect function on, it'll transform to the infamous th. Now, hold your mouse over the '1', and if you let it hover for half a second or so, you should see a little blue bar underneath it that looks like this:

Pull your mouse over the blue bar, and a little lightning bolt should pop up. Press the arrow next to that, and a menu drops down. The whole thing looks sort of like this:

The cunning among you will notice that the first option--Undo Superscript--does exactly what it says on the tin. Click the button, and the likelihood of you getting caught at a forgery goes down by... well, a bit, anyway.

The really cunning among my readers will note that the next option, Stop Automatically Superscripting Ordinals, will keep this little 'helpful' feature from ever darkening your door again.

Does this bear upon whether the documents are forgeries or not? Well, no. To really tell if they were forgeries, you should test the paper for age, give documents that are as close to the original as possible to real experts, hand them over to your opposition for verification, and... well, all the things that someone who hopes to learn about the truth would do. For that, go gripe to CBS, who really are the only people who could settle this problem. But unlike their 'software expert,' I know that you can easily turn off or stop Autocorrect on an occurence-by-occurence basis. And now you do too.

September 10, 2004

"Mom" and "Pop" Get A Real Job

Full-disclosure: I like Wal-Mart. I spent a year and some months living in a small town in Michigan back in the 80s, and as an inquisitive young child I had to wait three weeks to get old Infocom games shipped to me via mail order. Books, clothing, or other cool stuff often necessitated an hour's trip to get to anywhere worthwhile, especially since as a tall, skinny lad, the local J.C. Penney's often didn't have my size.

The youth these days don't know how good they've got it. (I've always wanted to say that!) With Wal-Mart, at least they know they've got the staples of mass-consumerism at their beck and call. To say nothing of Amazon.com, Target, or... well, Staples.

So anyway, it's nice to see that Rik Milholland, through his character Davan at Something Positive, expresses something of the same sentiments. And comments a bit on why Mom and Pop stores often succumbed to competition.

As an aside, any opinions on whether I should add this to my collection of somewhat bizarre t-shirts?

Also, if you've not seen it before, this is hysterical. "Coffee-House Propaganda" is particularly good.

Mind-Numbing Incompetence at CBS

I just have to point this one out. Power Line, which I admit I read infrequently, has been blogging up a storm today about a 60 Minutes show purporting to give new evidence on what President Bush was doing in Alabama around about the time I was born. I'll let you read the whole thing, but the basic allegation is this: 60 Minutes presented documents, on air, that purported to be from 1971 but look like they were prepared on Microsoft Word.

Folks, this is just goddamn dumb. The mistakes--a use of a proportional font, superscript on ordinal numbers, kerning, etc--scream out 'this document is a fake,' obvious to anyone who worked in an office in that era. (For reference, there's been much blather online today about whether a typewriter might use proportional fonts. As one who learned to type on a clunky IBM Selectric in Huntsville, Alabama in the late 1980s, I can say that if such font balls existed, they were pretty bloody rare and not likely to be in a National Guard office.) But then why would Mr. Dan Rather, a man older than I am and supposedly a journalist, have fallen for this?

Well, says today's Washington Post:

A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."


Like bloody hell they did. "Several extra miles" does not include authenticating documents by reading them over the phone. "Several extra miles" does not include putting on national media documents that don't pass casual visual inspection. Or if this does constitute what CBS considers "several extra miles," let's just say that journalistic standards should extend beyond Dan Rather's odometer to the heretofore undiscovered country of "getting it right."

May I propose that Mr. Rather be given a copy of another work of fiction, Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas. Not only would he learn a bit about forging old documents, but he'd gain some hint of possible destinations for those who foolishly rely upon them.

cover

Update: Only fair to note that the left-wing of the blogosphere has been doing its best to uphold the authenticity of the documents, most notably Atrios and The Talent Show. If it turns out I'm wrong about the above, you'll get a retraction from me. Nevertheless, I think there's a bundle of truly bad armchair research going on out there. Yes, there were typewriters--or more often, typesetting machines--that could do superscript thirty years ago. They certainly weren't common. The New York Times reports the latest typewriting suspect to be the IBM Selectric Composer. Still, I've only found one site that has a reproduction on a Selectric. But heck, typewriter enthusiasts are getting more hits than they ever dreamed of today.

I'll let my readers look through the comments on these entries and decide for themselves, but for the moment, I'm still in the "forged" camp. There's evidence on either side, but for my money, the preponderance sits with Powerline. The Composer was a typesetting machine, which seems a bit obscure for use to write standard memos.

Update 2: For those insane, or insomniac because of upcoming callbacks like me, you can try IBM's website for lots of information on the Selectric Composer. Including information on its typefaces and alignment issues.

September 09, 2004

"Torrential Rains"?

Oh, worth noting that when I (and many of my fellow classmates) tried to head to midtown for their interviews today, they encountered one of those inconveniences that don't make for very pleasant adventures: the 1/9 line of the New York subway shut down by 'torrential rains.'

All I can say is that a lot of cabbies made a lot of money this morning, some of it mine. Still, other people were stuck in subway cars or left waiting for even longer in the rain than I. I'll just count it lucky that I wasn't unacceptably late for the interview.

So You Say You Want A Resolution

Two recent events in my life. The first, I'm beginning to realize how grumpy I've been. Maybe it was leaving Japan to come back here to work. Maybe it's the tension of balancing law review and my workload and interviewing and... and... and... (okay, deep breaths). Or maybe it's the screeches of both sides in the presidential election, and the almost physical psychic tension of the Republican Convention in New York. But whatever, the more cheerful, humorous character who used to write things like the case brief to Freddy v. Jason hasn't been heard from recently.

Secondly, I've been reading Chesterton's classic Orthodoxy, just a little each night. Some of it is joyful, while other parts make me want to scream with frustration. Chesterton never met a paradox he didn't like or a contradiction he couldn't reconcile. In an aphorism this is admirable, but it can make for quite a heavy writing style when it extends across a book. Sometimes I want to shake my fists at the heavens and yell, "G.K., if life were really such a paradox, no man could ever boil an egg. He'd get stuck wondering whether he was letting the yolk from the shell into the universe, or whether the universe was in some perverse sense actually inside the egg breaking out into the yolk. He'd never just crack the damn thing."

Nonetheless, there's such a good-spiritedness to his apology for Christianity that I can't stop reading it. Some of this just boils down to the kind of man he was, as described in the introduction by Philip Yancey:

Chesterton cheerfully engaged in public debates with agnostics and skeptics of the day, most botably George Bernard Shaw--this at a time when a debate on faith could fill a lecture hall. Chesterton usually arrived late, peered through his pince-nez at his disorderly scraps of paper, and proceeded to entertain the crowd, making nervous gestures, fumbling through his pockets, leaughing heartily in a falsetto voice at his own jokes. Typically he would charm the audience over to his side, then celebrate by hosting his chastened opponent at the nearest pub. "Shaw is like the Venus de Milo; all there is of him is admirable," he toasted his friend affectionately.

Cosmo Hamilton, one of his debating opponents, described the experience,

To hear Chesterton's howl of joy...to see him double himself up in an agony of laughter at my personal insults, to watch the effect of his sportsmanship on a shocked audience who were won to mirth by his intense and peahen-like quarks of joy was a sight and a sound for the gods...and I carried away from that room a respect and admiration for this tomboy among dictionaries, this philosophical Peter Pan....It was monstrous, gigantic, amazing, deadly, delicious.

When I turned thirty this weekend, this was the passage I read and re-read in the morning: the laughing patriot and the joyful footsoldier. That spirit ran through everything the man wrote, and has probably done more to win me towards his views than any particular argument he ever mustered. And yet looking back on what I've scribbled down here and elsewhere recently, my own ability to access that sort of style and to see the world through mirthful eyes has diminished precipitously.

It's too tempting to get annoyed at some ill-made political argument or to curse an IT system when it falls flat and refuses to send my email. It's too easy to get aggrieved when some non-torrential rain shuts down the 1/9 train downtown and makes me late for a major interview. Sometimes when I'm shaking my fist at the heavens, it's not to issue mild rebukes to dead poets.

And that's a shame. One of Chesterton's best maxims, that "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered," used to grace my wall. A lot of this initial 2L year has been wrongly-considered recently: not that I've done anything spectacularly wrong as such, but I've certainly not looked at it with the spirit it deserves.

Anyway, let's see if we can change that. This is the beginning of my thirties, and as good a time for a change as any other. Maybe I won't have a pair of pince-nez and a huge belly to match my literary mentor. (Then again, there's a new freshman in the building who does wear pince-nez, and the sedentary lawyer lifestyle makes girth an easy option.) But I can at least borrow his rose-tinted spectacles every once in a while. Life all too often seems too short not to do so.

In the meantime, there's a few people I'd like to thank belatedly for their contributions over the last few days:

  • Thank you to all my friends who, in some way or another, helped me celebrate my thirtieth last weekend, in the midst of callbacks and classes and starting reviews.
  • Thank you to PG and Chris, who sent good wishes from afar.
  • And thank you to my family. I couldn't make it back this year over the Labor Day weekend, but I've been told my brother (a bartender par excellence, besides his other business skills) mixed drinks for a toast. Hope you had a Manhattan for me, brother o' mine.

One More Reason To Love the Bluebook

Julian Sanchez over at Reason (and no great friend of the Bush campaign) illustrates one more reason to believe that journalists should have standards of accuracy at least as high as lawyers, but certainly don't act like they do. Pointing to news reports of Dick Cheney's 'scandalous' remarks about Kerry and the war on terror, Mr. Sanchez rightly complains that the BBC and MSNBC misquoted Cheney. Specifically, they quoted this:

Itís absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that weíll get hit again and weíll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.

Well, actually, that's what Joe Trippi is saying on MSNBC. The BBC just mangles the below into three or four different paragraphs, making it impossible to figure out Cheney's actual words. What he did say is:
We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war.

Now, it's worth noting that more (Sanchez) or less (Maureen Dowd) reasonable people may disagree on the meaning of the quotation. What you can't say is that it's fair to present your readers with no textual clues that you've doctored your subject's words.

Which is where Rule 5.3(b) of the Bluebook comes in, covering omissions to text in quotations. The idea is that by having a set of textual symbols to at least show how a text has been changed, a reader can be put on notice that you may be playing fast and loose with your speaker's words. For instance, if Mr. Trippi had been made to Bluebook his MSNBC article, the text would have looked something like this:

[I]tís absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice[, b]ecause if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that weíll get hit again and weíll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States. . . .

To be honest, I'm not even sure that's in proper Bluebook format: I've never seen a quotation altered quite so violently in a law review before. But even if I've made small mistakes, the important point remains. It's immediately obvious to the reader from the above that the quotation (a) doesn't begin at the same point as the original; (b) is a combination of two sentences; and (c) doesn't end at the same place either.

Good authors avoid quotations like that, simply because alert readers will immediately question why the author felt such a need to edit his subject's speech. Mr. Trippi completely misrepresents the Vice-President's words, and then wonders how a campaign staffer will explain them away. One more reason that after a news article piques my interest, I'll check the blogs of law professors or lawyers to see what they think. After all, these old Bluebooking habits--ones journalists don't seem to care about--die awfully hard.

Update: First, welcome Instapundit readers. Also, I fixed some links above.

Second, one of my commentors has linked to this Washington Post story that indicates the text on the "official White House transcript" might have been changed:

In a change that highlighted the sensitivity of Cheney's statement, the White House yesterday released a revised version of the transcript of his remarks. The official transcript, posted on the White House Web site Tuesday afternoon and e-mailed to reporters, said: "(I)t's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

In a version released Tuesday to reporters traveling with Cheney, however, the period at the end of "hit again" was removed and replaced with a comma, which linked his blunter statement to his standard stump language expressing concern that future attacks would be treated as "just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war."

Yesterday, the transcript on the White House Web site was altered to make Cheney's remarks one sentence. Cheney's White House spokesman, Kevin Kellems, issued a statement saying that the first official transcript "contained a typographical error" and was an "interim draft." "These types of corrections are not uncommon in the transcription of verbal statements," Kellems said. "The final transcript accurately reflects the statement as delivered, which is clear when watching video of the event."


There's a few interesting things to note about this. First, the MSNBC comment becomes even more divergent from the source text if compared with the 'original' version in the Washington Post. Secondly, note that the Washington Post story actually has two different versions of the quote in the same story. In the sixth paragraph of their article, they quote Cheney as follows:
Cheney, in Des Moines on Tuesday, delivered the campaign's message that the United States would be safer in Bush's hands with cutting-torch directness, saying, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, that we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

So we're now left with a couple of questions. Is the Post reporting on what they claim Bush said? They can't be citing either version of the transcript, because their quotation agrees with neither.

In the law review world, this is solved via citations, something the media is loathe to do. If I wanted to Bluebook any of the sources above, I'd do more than give the link: recognizing the fluid nature of the internet, I'd make a print out and list the date on which I cited it. I'd then keep the information on file, available for all and sundry. Obviously, most blogs don't do this, but there's no reason a journalist couldn't.

In the case of the Post, the solution would be simple: if they're going to claim that the speech differed from both transcripts, they'd put an audio file on the website, or at least provide one when asked. That, however, seems a hope too far.

September 05, 2004

A Question for Senator Kerry

It's funny how everything seems to be blamed on the Republicans these days, at least if you're a Democrat. Take, for instance, the various descriptions that they've been giving of Zell Miller lately. I'm not exactly certain why his speech has struck the left dumb (well, actually, into comment frenzy) with shock and awe. Some of us, old as we are, remember his 1992 keynote speech. Apparently personal attacks are OK, just so long as you sling them at a guy named Bush.

But the most interesting accusation I've seen today comes (via Ann Althouse) from the New York Times. It appears that flextime is all a Republican plot:

Mr. Bush explained the proposal this way during a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio: "I think the government ought to allow employers to say to an employee: 'If you want some time off, and work different hours, you're allowed to do so. If you want to accumulate time to spend with your family, spend with your parents, spend for being re-educated, you're allowed to do so.' "

The problem with this approach, feminists and other liberals say, is that it would require changing a law that guarantees unskilled workers extra pay for overtime work. "It's the abolition of overtime," said Ellen Bravo, national director of 9 to 5, an association of working women. "This is the employer flexibility protection act."

It turns out that both sides have different definitions of flex time - not to mention radically different notions about the 40-hour workweek.

Now this piqued my interest for one particular reason: here's a place you could really judge what kind of a man Kerry is, if someone wanted to do the research. (Damn this coming out on a Sunday, when I can't find out.) You see, prior to the Republicans taking over the Senate in 1992, there were a lot of loopholes in employment law with respect to those working on the Hill. I was lucky: I got there after the Republican revolution, when the Republicans extended a lot of benefits to House and Senate workers that didn't exist before.

Now, while a lot of Senate employees are fresh college graduates with money to burn and parental support, many aren't. When I started in my first office, I was working with a stereotypical working mother and a married couple trying to get through school. Both needed any money they could get. On the other hand, I can't remember that anything stopped Senators from paying overtime or giving better benefits.

So maybe someone should look back at Kerry's employment records. After all, every Senator is not only a leader, a visionary, a legislator: he's also an employer. See how he treated his staff in the mid-80's. Did he pay overtime? Give flextime? Pay above or below the Senate average?

Worth looking into. From my experience, I'd bet there's some reasonable information there. He wants to talk about protecting the poor and middle class. How did he do it when he was an employer?

September 03, 2004

Tenuous Connections and Completely Unnecessary Bluebooking

I normally listen to web radio whilst I'm bluebooking things for Law Review. It helps pass the time, and besides, I don't know any decent country music stations in New York. (What a surprise.) And because so much of the work I'm doing doesn't really take my full attention, the mind wanders a bit.

So when I came across a Toby Keith song that reminded me of one of my favorite quotations, I realized I didn't know how to Bluebook either of them. Five minutes later, I came up with this:

Don't bit off more than you can chew
There's things down here the Devil himself wouldn't do
Just remember when you let it all go
What happens down in Mexico stays in Mexico

Toby Keith, Stays in Mexico, on Stays in Mexico (DreamWorks Records 2004).

Which reminded me of:

"FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou hast committed--

BARABAS. Fornication: but that was in another country;
And besides, the wench is dead."


Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, (Project Gutenberg, 1997) at href="http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/jmlta10.txt.

Yes, it's amazing the things that get linked in the brain when I'm Bluebooking. And seriously, if there's any mistakes in the above, don't point them out, OK?

UPDATE: A friend asks, "What was that entry about, Tony? Well, it wasn't really about Law Review or anything else. Mostly, I'd discovered how to do small-caps in HTML, and wanted an excuse.

September 02, 2004

Why Wasn't I Here?

I've not been blogging the convention. I've not been going to the convention. But this makes me think I might have been making a mistake. The authors of one of my favorite websites confused a bundle of street protestors by handing out Republicans for Voldemort bumper stickers.

On Sunday, the Republicans for Voldemort Street Team converged on the hapless protesters at United for Peace and Justice's protest march, forcing RFV bumper stickers into the hands of confused do-gooders.

Sometimes politics is glorious. (By the way: to my friend Martin, who bought me a RfV t-shirt after finals finished last year, thank you, and you'll be happy to know that one of your bucks probably went to Moveon.org.)

Giving The Devil His Due

Why I Will Not Be Watching the Debates (4)
Maddie wrote: Ya know, I find the debates to be f... [more]

Posted [Almost] Without Comment (1)
Len Cleavelin wrote: Some people are having far... [more]

Credit Where Credit is Due (0)
A Few Quick Thoughts on Fair Game (28)
PG wrote: <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/US... [more]

Noteworthy [Ir]relevance [See Updates] (3)
A. Rickey wrote: Also worth noting that if the posts... [more]

Policy Update (7)
PG wrote: Uh oh. But in the interests of full... [more]

Annoyances (1)
Martin wrote: I believe Dell entered the PDA mark... [more]

The Trouble With Law Review When You're Short on Time (1)
texas holdem free download offline wrote: Please visit the sites dedicated t... [more]

Leiter Fantasy (18)
Joshua Abramson wrote: Hello, we are high school students ... [more]

Finally, some legal analysis (12)
TtP wrote: I'm resisting the urge to make a cr... [more]

Jimmy Swaggart: This Man Makes Me Vomit (5)
Michelle wrote: Jimmy Swaggart is a man...just like... [more]

RatherGate: The End? (0)
Request For Technical Help (2)
A. Rickey wrote: OK, it should be added now.... one ... [more]

Not a 50/50 Split (15)
George st. Christopher wrote: NY Times 1/27/2002 U.S. Ignored Th... [more]

This Is Sort of Amusing (0)
A Public Service Message For Users of Microsoft Word (11)
A. Rickey wrote: TtP: Yes, I actually do b... [more]

"Mom" and "Pop" Get A Real Job (3)
Katherine wrote: I love the one about the bitch-herm... [more]

Mind-Numbing Incompetence at CBS (5)
Jonathan Link wrote: Fair enough. I suspected you didn'... [more]

"Torrential Rains"? (5)
PG wrote: I felt very New Yorker-ish because ... [more]

So You Say You Want A Resolution (4)
Len Cleavelin wrote: Belated birthday wishes; sorry I mi... [more]

One More Reason To Love the Bluebook (16)
A. Rickey wrote: Noted. :)... [more]

A Question for Senator Kerry (0)
Tenuous Connections and Completely Unnecessary Bluebooking (2)
A. Rickey wrote: So far as I know, there is no print... [more]

Why Wasn't I Here? (3)
Chris wrote: Ahh, I knew there had to be another... [more]

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What I'm Reading

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My city. But darker.
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A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


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Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
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Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

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Technologies


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