Friday, December 30, 2005

Just a Good Natured Gasoline Fight

The headline touts Long Lines Form in Baghdad as Major Refinery Shuts Down, but I can't help but look at the accompanying picture and think, "Dude, don't fill your tank up like that!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

7 Million Friends & Neighbors, Hoofing It

The crawling text along the bottom of NY1 – NY's 24-hour local news channel – says The Transit Strike is On. The Transit Strike is On. The Transit Strike is On.

I will now walk 27 (short) blocks to go take a final exam in Contracts. Millions and millions of people commuting into Manhattan will walk much, much farther.

Also, it's currently 22 degrees.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Finals Procrastination, Part III: Ladle Rat Rotten Hut — Disgracing Is Verse

  1. Plug in headphones or turn on computer speakers.
  2. Click here. (Realplayer link)
  3. Click here to read what you just listened to.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Found On The Internets: See Dick. See Jane. See Dick & Jane Run Screaming.

The book's called Will They Fly a Plane Into Our House?: How to Talk to children about Terrorism. Amazon would love to sell it to you, but's it's available for free in .pdf format.

The crowd at Something Awful just devoted a Photoshop Phriday to redesigning the cover art.


Friday, December 09, 2005

West Side Singing Subway: 2 Train Plays Minor Sevenths

My wife pointed this out ages ago, but I've only recently heard it myself.

As it leaves the station, the #2 subway train (which runs along Manhattan's West Side) converts DC to AC.

The sound created by this transformation is identical to the first three notes of Somewhere from West Side Story.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finals Procrastination, Part II: Smoots

For the past couple years, the google search interface has included a calculator, allowing you to do all manner of math.

I've known for awhile that it will do the oddest imaginable measurements for you, calculating such things as the speed of light in fathoms per fortnight; however, until yesterday, I did not know that it includes one decidedly odd measurement unit: The Smoot.

The smoot is named after Oliver R. Smoot, who in October 1958 was rolled head over heels by his fraternity brothers to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge. They determined the bridge to be "364.4 smoots plus one ear."

Google includes the smoot.

Thus, you can calculate the speed of sound at sea level in smoots per lunar month. Further, you can learn that Han Solo's claim in the original Star Wars that he did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs was really a claim that he completed the race in less than 2.17582342 × 1017 smoots.

I shall now return to learning the laws of our great nation.

P.S. Also procrastinating? Here's Wikipedia's list of strange measurements.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Typewriter Trivia: Because You Need to Know and I Need to Procrastinate While Studying for Finals

From the Wikipedia definition for QWERTY:

  • The longest common English word that can be typed using only the left hand (using conventional hand placement) is stewardesses. The words sweaterdresses and aftercataracts are longer and can also be typed with only the left hand, but they are not in all dictionaries.

  • The longest English word that can be typed with the right hand only (using conventional hand placement) is johnny-jump-up, or alternatively polyphony.

  • Typewriter is the longest word that can be typed on only one row, which might be no coincidence as some believe that Christopher Sholes deliberately placed all its letters in the top row when designing the layout in order to ease demonstrations. Proprietory, protereotype, and rupturewort are sometimes conjectured as the longest words but these are not available in most dictionaries.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Canada: Our Ballot-Hungry Neighbor to the North.

I'm just a little surprised that the question Is someone allowed to eat a ballot? appears on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Elections Canada website.

Is someone allowed to eat a ballot?
Eating a ballot, not returning it or otherwise destroying or defacing it constitutes a serious breach of the Canada Elections Act. These rules are part of a system of unobtrusive checks and balances that are intended to protect the integrity of the voting process and Canadians' trust in the integrity of the electoral system. The relevant procedures provided by the Act are summarized below...
Elections Canada On-Line | Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks, Roger!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


NY Times editorial unloads on the President's Continue-to-Stay-the-Course, There-is-Nothing-to-See-Here Speech. The tastiest bit:

Americans have been clamoring for believable goals in Iraq, but Mr. Bush stuck to his notion of staying until 'total victory.' His strategy document defines that as an Iraq that 'has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency'; is 'peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure'; and is a partner in the war on terror, an integral part of the international community, and 'an engine for regional economic growth and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.'

That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on the wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going very badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and he was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'd Have Gone With Bush Continues Annoying Habit of Hiding His Lips

Today, Bush gave the nation more of the same news on how we're winning in Iraq.

On the front page of has a picture linking to the article. This morning, the original caption was President Bush's speech today at the U.S. Naval Academy did not break new ground or present a new strategy.

About 15 minutes later, it was softened to President Bush steadfastly refused to set a timetable for withdrawing American forces as some of his critics have demanded.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

They Have This Feature, But Outlining Is Still Horribly Broken

Microsoft Word 2002 corrects gobbledegook to gobbledygook.

Vatican III

The Vatican releases an Instruction that gays — unless they've "clearly overcome" their homosexual tendencies — need not apply for the Catholic clergy.

After releasing the instruction, Pope Benedict XVI asked for a high five from somebody, anybody.

...but they all totally left him hanging.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mary Matalin Has Man Hands

I'm only going to say this once, but it needs to be said.

Mary Matalin has man hands.

If you look closely at that picture, I think you can see an extra knuckle.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

We Know How You Feel Mr. President. We Wish We Could Escape, Too.

Goofy. Not Oh-Look-At-Our-Zany-President goofy. More like Dear-God-He's-Hanging-On-By-A-Thread goofy.

I imagine that Jon Stewart has video. Until then, Atrios has photos of Bush's failed escape.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Senate

(crossposted from the Columbia Law School — American Constitution Society blog)

I want to start by telling you that I’ll get back to you.

You see, I’m writing this as a 1L who has not yet taken Constitutional Law. It’s entirely possible that the problem I outline below won’t seem like much of a problem after taking this class, but it sure seems like a problem now.

30 Seconds of History
Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress was a unicameral body with each state represented equally. In part because this body was not particularly effective, a Constitutional Convention was convened in 1787 to address the federal government's status quo.

At the convention, the small states largely supported the New Jersey Plan for Congress, which called for a unicameral of equal representation, similar to what had existed under the Articles of Confederation. The large states supported the Virginia Plan, with the lower house directly elected by the states and the upper house elected by the lower house.

Ultimately, both plans were scrapped in the name of the Connecticut Compromise, a deal which resulted in a House of Representatives based on proportional representation and a Senate with each state represented equally.

Even in the early days of the republic, it was clear that equal representation of the Senate was a great deal for the small states. My concern is that the population disparity between the largest and smallest states has resulted in a Senate more skewed towards the small states than the founding fathers could have possibly imagined.

The Most Populous States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

As you see, Virginia was the most populous state around the time of the Constitution. By the 1820 Census, Virginia had given way to New York, which was the most populous state for the next 140 years. By 1970, California became the most populous state, a position that it holds today.

The Least Populous States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

For the first 50 years after the Constitution, Delaware was the least populous state in the Union. Then, after having become a state in 1845, Florida was the least peopled state in the 1850 Census. Oregon became a state shortly before the 1860 Census and briefly claimed the title, yielding in turn to Nevada, the least populated state from the 1870 Census through the 1950 Census.

After joining the Union in 1959, Alaska was the least populated state until the 1990 Census, when its population overtook Wyoming, the current least populated state.

While I'm sure you find this history gripping, the ratio between the most and least populated states is the point of all this.

The Ratio between Most/Least Populated States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

In the time shortly after the Connecticut Compromise, the most populous state had 12.7 times the population of the least populous state. Over the next 40 years, the population growth rate of Virginia and later New York vastly outstripped Delaware — by 1840, New York's population was 31.1 times the population of Delaware, a 245% increase from the time of the Constitution.

The next 110 years saw wild fluctuations between the most and least populous states as territories were given statehood. Nevada (now the 35th most populous state) was sparsely populated throughout the second half of the 19th century, resulting in a wide disparity between the most/least populated states. In 1900, the population imbalance between Nevada and New York peaked when New York's population was 17300.1% of the population of Nevada. Yet both states had two Senators.

With the period of western expansion completed, the population difference between the most and least populated states appears to have found a new normal. However, this new normal is one where California has more than 70 times the population of Wyoming — as of 2002, the gulf between large and small states is 452% wider than it was during the days of the Connecticut Compromise. Yet both states have two Senators.


Next week, I'll have Part II of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Senate, where I'll discuss how the country might deal with the increasing imbalance in democratic representation in the Senate.

The data used for the graphs above is available here (all links are to US Census PDF files):
Present Day through 1900
1890 through 1860
1850 through 1790

Friday, November 18, 2005

295 Centers of the Universe — NYC Neighborhoods

They tell me that New York City is a city of neighborhoods. Wikipedia lists 295 of them.

A handful of the neighborhoods don't have definitions, but all are included in the list of Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, or Staten Island neighborhoods.

Allerton Annadale Arden Heights Arrochar Belmont Arverne Astoria Auburndale Barren Island Bath Beach Bay Ridge Bay Terrace Baychester Bayside Bayswater Bedford Park Bedford-Stuyvesant Beechhurst Belle Harbor Bellerose Bensonhurst Bergen Beach Beverley Square West Bloomfield Boerum Hill Borough Park Breezy Point Briarwood Brighton Beach Brighton Heights Broad Channel Bronx River Brooklyn Heights Brownsville Bruckner Bulls Head Bushwick Cambria Heights Canarsie Carnegie Hill Carroll Gardens Castle Hill Castleton Corners Charleston Chelsea Chinatown City Island City Line Clason Point Clifton Clinton Hill Cobble Hill College Point Concord Coney Island Co-op City Corona Country Club Crotona Park East Crown Heights Cypress Hills Ditmars / Steinway Ditmas Park Ditmas Village Dongan Hills Douglas Manor Douglaston Douglaston Hill Downtown Bklyn DUMBO Dyker Heights East Elmhurst East Flatbush East New York East Tremont East Williamsburg Eastchester Edgemere Edgewater Park Egbertville Elm Park Elmhurst Eltingville Emerson Hill Far Rockaway Farragut Fieldston Fiske Terrace Flatbush Flatlands Floral Park Flushing Fordham Forest Hills Forest Hills Gardens Fort Greene Fort Hamilton Fort Wadsworth Fresh Meadows Fulton's Landing Fulton Ferry Georgetown Gerritsen Beach Glen Oaks Glendale Gowanus Gramercy Graniteville Grant City Grasmere Gravesend Great Kills Greenpoint Greenridge Greenwich Village (also called the West Village) Grymes Hill Hamilton Beach Harlem Heartland Village Hell's Kitchen (also called Clinton) Highbridge Highland Park Hollis Hollis Hills Holliswood Homecrest Howard Beach Hudson Heights Huguenot Hunters Point Hunts Point Lenox Hill Indian Village Inwood Jackson Heights Jamaica Jamaica Estates Jamaica Hills Kensington Kew Gardens Kew Gardens Hills Kingsbridge Kingsbridge Heights Kips Bay Koreatown Laurelton Lefferts Manor LeFrak City Lighthouse Hill Lindenwood (housing development) Little Italy Little Neck Livingston Locust Point Long Island City Longwood Lower East Side Malba Manhattan Beach Manhattan Terrace Manhattan Valley Mapleton Marble Hill Marine Park Mariners Harbor Maspeth Meiers Corners Melrose Middle Village Midland Beach Midtown Midwood Mill Basin Mill Island Morningside Heights Morris Heights Morris Park Morrisania Mott Haven Murray Hill Neponsit New Brighton New Dorp New Howard Beach New Hyde Park New Lots New Springville New Utrecht Brooklyn Navy Yard NoLIta North Riverdale North Side Norwood Oakland Gardens Oakwood Ocean Breeze Ocean Hill Ocean Parkway Olinville Ozone Park Paerdegat Basin Park Slope Parkchester Parkville Pelham Bay Pelham Gardens Pigtown Pleasant Plains Plum Beach Port Ivory Port Morris Port Richmond Prince's Bay Prospect Heights Prospect Lefferts Gardens Prospect Park South Queens Village Queensbridge Ramblersville Randall Manor Ravenswood Red Hook Rego Park Remsen Village Richmond Hill Richmond Valley Richmondtown Ridgewood Riverdale Rockaway Beach Rockaway Point Rockwood Park Roosevelt Island Rosebank Rosedale Rossville Roxbury Rugby Saint Albans Sea Gate Sheepshead Bay Shore Acres Silver Beach Silver Lake SoHo Soundview South Beach South Jamaica South Ozone Park South Side East Harlem (also called Spanish Harlem) Spring Creek Springfield Gardens Spuyten Duyvil St. George Stapleton Stapleton Heights Starrett City Sunnyside Sunset Park Throgs Neck Todt Hill Tompkinsville Tottenville Travis Tremont TriBeCa Turtle Bay University Heights Upper East Side Upper West Side Van Cortlandt Village Van Nest Vinegar Hill Wakefield Ward Hill Washington Heights Weeksville West Farms West New Brighton Westerleigh Westmoreland Whitestone Willets Point Williamsbridge Williamsburg Willowbrook Windsor Terrace Wingate Woodhaven Woodlawn Woodrow Woodside Yorkville Zerega

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Girls Gone Wild

When is this country going to wake up to its wild girl problem? I've seen the late night public service advertisements on Comedy Central, now this happens. - Boy band incites 'girl frenzy' at mall - Nov 13, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Radical Christian Cleric Pat Robertson: Somebody Please Pay Attention to Me!

Pat Robertson — this is clearly a kooky statement cycle.

31 days ago, you claimed that frequent hurricanes and occasional earthquakes were signs of the end times.

76 days ago, you called on the US government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Today, you're warning Dover, Pennsylvania — the town where voters just ousted their ID-promoting school board — that a vindicative God might send a disaster or two their way.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Big Brown Alaskan Things Safe for One More Congressional Session

My reaction to hearing that the House shelved a proposal to drill in ANWR: Good news.

My reaction to seeing the picture that accompanied the article: Whatever these things are, I had no idea that any of them lived in the US.

Wingnuts: A Picture of Human Resilience

Some people just don't let reality get in the way of a good story.

Here's an ad currently running on the Drudge Report. I'm tempted not to link, as their hokum doesn't deserve any additional attention, but here's the advertiser.

I believe we may have identified the core of Bush's 38% support.

Email, Predicting Bush's 12/31/05 Approval Rating.
Closest Guess Wins a Prize.

The new WSJ/NBC poll is out. Here's a synopsis:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Democracy in Action... Texas

WHITE SETTLEMENT, TEXAS — Residents held on to their heritage Tuesday night and voted against changing their town name to West Settlement, despite proponents' arguments that the name has racial connotations.

In a record turnout, 2,388 residents voted against the name change and 219 voted for it in unofficial, complete returns.

The city got its name because it was the lone village of white pioneers amid several American Indian encampments in the Fort Worth area in the Texas Republic territory in the 1840s.

Mayor James Ouzts and other city leaders proposed the change, saying the current name is confusing, misleading and has hindered economic development in this 15,000-resident suburb of Fort Worth.

However, the ballot measure angered many residents who said the change was unnecessary and too costly. Signs across town urged folks to 'Be Proud! Don't Let Them Discard the Heritage of White Settlement. Vote No!'

Scientific American: Calling ID Like It Sees ID

Gotta love Scientific American.

I'm reminded why I subscribe to this magazine when I see them tout It's Over in Dover after all the Dover school board members who supported intelligent design fail to win reelection.

Their blog's reaction to the Kansas state Board of Education including ID in their state standards? Kansas, Where "Ignorant" is the New "Educated"

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dear Mr. President:
Please Come Clean Regarding CIA Leak.
Please Disguise Shock at Brazil Being Big.
Thanks, Andy

Why? Why must this US President say the first thing that pops into his mind?

"At one point, da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. 'Wow! Brazil is big,' Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding."


Today, in discussing the influence of organized Evangelicals on US politics, Andrew Sullivan refers to the movement as Christianism.

As of this writing, the word is sufficiently new that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry, but it's an apt coinage, especially since the West has been referring to political Islam as Islamism for some time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Adolescent Fantasy Takes Uncomfortable "Reality" Form

Either we've all been transported to some Maxim Magazine-themed world, or a 14 year-old boy somewhere just totally wasted one of his three wishes.

Police: Two NFL cheerleaders arrested at Tampa bar

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kiva: Forget Teach a Man to Fish — Loan Him Money For a Fishing Net

If you don't know about microcredit, you should.

After the Bangladesh famine of 1974, a group called Grameen Bank developed the microcredit model. Microcredit is the practice of granting small, business-enabling loans to people so poor that they would not qualify for conventional credit.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations proclaimed the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit, and the good news is that you can help this incredible movement — personally.

A friend of mine, Matt Flannery, has started Kiva, where you can personally loan money to individuals in the developing world who are bootstrapping their way out of poverty.

Currently, Kiva allows an individual to loan to another individual in Uganda. The terms of the loan (which can be as small as $25) are such that you are paid back in a 6 or 12 month term. You also get monthly updates about payment info and blog like updates containing business info. To date, Kiva has started 7 businesses in Uganda, including a fish mongerer, some butcher shops, and a clothes reseller.

Signing up with Kiva is easy, so get started today.

Comedian Greg Giraldo's act has a bit that goes something like this:

People say you shouldn't give homeless people money because they're just going to spend it on drugs or booze.

Well, that's actually what I was planning on spending it on, so what's the difference?
Kiva presents an opportunity to break out of that dilemma in a way that promotes lasting, global change for a pretty small amount of money.

Laura's Rock & Roll Lifestyle Comes Shining Through

Not quite sure what ol' Laura had in her drink at the White House gala to honor Charles and Camilla, but I'm pretty sure I want some.

Source: Getty Images, AFP

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush's Second Term Blows Out a Candle

For those of you keeping score at home, ThinkProgress has a rundown of the first year of Bush's second term.

According to Zogby International, the chart below reflects Bush's approval rating for roughly the same period. The question is, "Is President Bush's job performance excellent, good, fair, or poor? Excellent and good are positive. Fair and poor are negative." The answers are below:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All in Good Time, Mr. Frist. All in Good Time.

Those who live in glass houses ought not throw softballs.

Earlier today, Senate Democrats caught their Republican counterparts by surprise when they invoked Senate Rule 21, sending the Senate into a closed (to the public) session to investigate why Senator Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, had not begun Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Iraqi WMD intelligence failure.

In response, Majority Leader Bill Frist remarked that "the United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership. They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas." (Emphasis quite obviously mine)

He is correct. Currently, they have no convictions.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

I'll Take My Stiff Dose Now, Mr. Cheney

Nicholas Kristof (NY Times subscription required) offers a honey of a Dick Cheney quote from the 2000 Republican National Convention. Preparing for battle with Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, Cheney told the crowd how the Bush White House would differ from the Lewinsky Scandal-wounded Clinton White House:

On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office... They will offer more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials. We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth.

Friday, October 28, 2005

CNN Intern Spends Night Searching for Most Flamboyant Picture of Mr. Sulu

Though he's had a partner for 18 years, George Takei -- Star Trek's Mr. Sulu -- publicly came out today.

Although a seemingly infinite number of pictures exist with Mr. Sulu in his familiar Star Trek attire, opted to run this picture with the story.

You Mess with the Bull, You Get the Horns

Earlier this week, the White House asked the Onion to stop using the Presidential Seal, even though it was clearly being used as part of a parody.

The Onion has responded.

No News is Good News

If I were Scooter Libby, I don't think I'd get much conciliation by reading the paper this morning.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Like a Big Fodder Pond Just Evaporating in the Sun

Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination. Harriet, we hardly skewered thee.

Hello, World

Let's review the past 24 hours:

Iran (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad): Israel should be "wiped off the map."
Israel (Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres): Iran should be expelled from the UN.
Iran (Ahmadinejad): "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism."

Happy Thursday, everybody!

A Question for Historians Writing in 2015

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Calculating Perjury

(crossposted from the Columbia Law School -- American Constitution Society blog)

While on Meet the Press on October 23rd, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), had this to say regarding the federal investigation into the CIA leak:

Tim Russert, Host of Meet the Press: Senator Hutchison, you think those comments from the White House are credible?

Senator Hutchison: Tim, you know, I think we have to remember something here. An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury. (emphasis mine)

Yesterday, Senator Hutchison backtracked on these comments, recounting the following on the hilariously titled Fox & Friends:
I was sort of misconstrued the other day, and I certainly think that if someone has lied to an investigator, of course that is a crime. It is a terrible crime.

Perhaps the Hutchison Perjury Didactic can be clarified by turning to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Perjury. Here, we learn the following:
§2J1.3. Perjury or Subornation of Perjury; Bribery of Witness

(a) Base Offense Level: 14

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the offense involved causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage, in order to suborn perjury, increase by 8 levels.

(2) If the perjury, subornation of perjury, or witness bribery resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice, increase by 3 levels.


Base Offense Level works a little bit like hit points in Dungeons & Dragons -- the higher the number, the more severe the mandatory punishment.

Maybe Senator Hutchison's confusion regarding the severity of perjury relates to this base offense level. What does a base offense level of 14 mean, anyway? To learn more about this technicality/terrible crime, let's compare its base offense level with some other potential technicalities out there:

Crimes Against the Person
1st Degree Murder: 43
2nd Degree Murder: 33
Kidnapping: 32
Involuntary Manslaughter: 10 or 14
Aggravated Assault: 14

Crimes Against Property
Larceny of between $70,000 and $120,000: 14
Counterfeiting between $200,000 and $350,000: 14
Burglary of non-residence of between $10,000 and $50,000: 14

Other Crimes:
At least 5g but less than 10g of Heroin, or
At least 25g but less than 50g of Cocaine, or
At least 5kg but less than 10kg of Marihuana: 14

Promoting Prostitution or Prohibited Sexual Conduct: 14
Importing, Mailing, or Transporting Obscene Matter that displays depictions of violence: 14

Boy, there are a lot of Base Offense Level 14's out there. Senator Hutchison, are all these offenses easily confused with technicalities?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What Is the Sound of One Shoe Dropping?

Fitzgerald has loosened up the Hush Puppy.

Look out below.


Why should I say anything about Dick Cheney's role in the Plame leak when Scott McClellan says it all?

How many people are going to be indicted, Scott?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Charm Offensive

Home School + Free Speech + White Nationalism = Prussian Blue.

I'm left wondering if the environment in which these girls live is more like Brazil or Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pork Belly Futures

What does this graph mean, you ask? Well, according to the conservative Club for Growth, that's the Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills over the last decade.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Like Yoda Said, There is Another


Law school keeps you busy. Busy, as in the bags under my eyes look like they've been drawn in eyeliner busy (see adjacent self portrait). That said, I have time for exactly one extracurricular activity. In my case, this activity is ACS, or American Constitution Society (for the sake of simplicity, just think anti-Federalist Society).

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on a redesign of the Columbia ACS blog, which I've just posted. Part of my job with this organization is to give it a bloggy voice. I'm going to shoot for an amalgam of Sauntering + Jon Stewart + Constitutional Interpretation. We'll see how it goes.

Lots of the stuff that I'll be posting to the Columbia ACS blog would make it to Sauntering anyway, so I'll cross post it here.

It all kinda gets going next week, so get ready for WWAHD? — What Would Alexander Hamilton Do? — a survey of the founding fathers where we explore their stance on the Miers nomination.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oh That I Should Look As Good As Tom Delay...

...on the day they take my indictment mugshot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You Don't Want to be on this Short List

Larry Johnson says:

Had lunch today with a person who has a direct tie to one of the folks facing indictment in the Plame affair. There are 22 files that Fitzgerald is looking at for potential indictment . These include Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, and Mary Matalin (there are others of course). Hadley has told friends he expects to be indicted. No wonder folks are nervous at the White House.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Patting Her on the Back and Attaching a "Kick Me" Sign

In an article in the New York Times, Matthew Scully explains that Harriet Miers is qualified for the bench in part because she's been a diligent fact-checker for Bush's speeches.

I don't dispute that Ms. Miers may ultimately become a fine SCOTUS justice (like all Democrats, I'm sitting back to get a full view and revel in a bit of well-earned schadenfreude), but I don't see how fingering her as one of those accountable for Bush's breezy handling of the facts helps her cause:

It is true that Harriet Miers, in everything she does, gives high attention to detail. And the trait came in handy with drafts of presidential speeches, in which she routinely exposed weak arguments, bogus statistics and claims inconsistent with previous remarks long forgotten by the rest of us. If one speech declared X "our most urgent domestic priority," and another speech seven months earlier had said it was Y, it would be Harriet Miers alone who noted the contradiction.
...and the world suffers, in part for all the counterfacts that Harriet missed. Out of the frying pan of the unknown into the fire of the blameworthy.

Legal Opinions Even the non-Law School Student Can Love

In UNITED STATES ex rel. Gerald MAYO v. SATAN AND HIS STAFF, one Gerald Mayo decided to sue Beelzebub for violations of his Constitutional rights. The court's approach to the matter is both tongue-in-cheek and amusingly serious.

One of the many problems in Mr. Mayo's 1971 case is that he failed to tell the US Marshalls how they were to locate the defendant in order to serve him with a summons. Additionally, the judge hypothesized that the case should probably be a class action.

Here's list of humorous cases. You can find the full text of most of these cases by Googling the citation information at the end of the case title.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You Say Tomato, I Say Suspicious

To CNN, Syria's foreign minister commits suicide. To the BBC, he "commits suicide."

All the King's Men Can't Put Humpty Together Again

Matt Drudge, in his capacity as Assistant Water Carrier for the Bush Administration (Robert Novak, of course, being the Chief Water Carrier), is forwarding a Karl Rove-esque (cross thyself) description of the nomination process that finds a way of shifting the attention back to those testy Democrats, and away from a nominee who unsettles a number of conservatives.

I nearly laughed when I read this:

I'm reprinting it in full, as I'm confident that Drudge will take this down as its transparency becomes evident:

Rove Told Dobson Other Candidates Refused Consideration
Wed Oct 12 2005 00:54:39 ET

Before President Bush nominated White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, called influential Christian leader James Dobson to assure him that Miers was a conservative evangelical Christian, Dobson said in remarks scheduled for broadcast Wednesday on his national radio show.

The LA TIMES reports: In that conversation, which has been the subject of feverish speculation, Rove also told Dobson that one reason the president was passing over better-known conservatives was that many on the White House short list had asked not to be considered, Dobson said, according to an advance transcript of the broadcast provided by his organization, Focus on the Family.

Dobson said that the White House had decided to nominate a woman, which reduced the size of the list, and that several women on it had then bowed out.

``What Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it,'' Dobson said, according to the transcript.

Imagine: Long-serving jurists with developed patterns of Constitutional interpretation — people dedicated the US court system, committed to the conservative cause, turning down a nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States because they were afraid of the nomination process in a Republican-dominated Senate. Further, this assertion is being made after Democratic Senators sent John Roberts on his way to the Chief Justice slot with no more than a teasing punch in the arm.

When Dauphin President Bush gets away from his minders and nominates a candidate who exposes the deep divisions in modern conservative America, his men scurry, desperate to deflect attention from the real issue and to vilify the sideline-standing Democrats.

This is spin, folks. Revel in it for all its nihilistic, misanthropic beauty.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

His 45 Day Vow of Kooky Silence is Now Up

I know what you've been thinking.

You've been thinking, "Gee, I haven't heard anything from Radical Christian Cleric Pat Robertson since he called on the US to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez back in August."

Well, Pat's back. It turns out that frequent hurricanes are not part of a normal cycle or evidence of global warming. They're evidence of the 2nd coming of Christ.

Yes, Pat. Yes, of course they are.

Not Enough Ado About Something vs. Much Ado About Not A Whole Hell of A Lot

The New York City subway has more than 400 subway stations serving a daily ridership population of 4,500,000. Although Mayor Bloomberg sends the NYPD flocking into subway stations when he feels that terror threats are nigh, my federal government seems to have precious little interest in guarding me, the New York commuter.

A higher priority for the government? Labeling fraternity pranks terrorist acts.

"It will be a joint investigation between the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia Tech Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Every possible lead will be followed," said Major Moss.
This is not incompetence, people, this is jackassery.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Not Elite Enough For the People Who Publicly Decry Elitism

As if to provide evidence that we now live in an alternate dimension that only vaguely resembles a pre-Bush reality, conservatives of all stripes are going after SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers as if blood were in the water. Their arguments against her candidacy range from entertaining (that she's not prejudicial enough) to the entertainingly legitimate (that in Federalist Paper #75, Alexander Hamilton addresses exactly this kind of cronyism concerning Supreme Court nominees).

Oft-unhinged commentator Ann Coulter has criticized Miers for not attending a fancy-enough law school, a problem that will take care of itself.

In last year's US News and World Report law school rankings, Miers' alma mater, SMU, was ranked #52. Since the only other law schools with anyone on the SCOTUS bench are Harvard, Yale, Columbia, & Northwestern, I'm willing to bet that SMU will surge in the rankings (whether or not Miers is approved).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

1st in War, 1st in Peace, 1st in the Hearts of Her Countrymen

As President Bush was introducing SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers on Monday, I couldn't help but wonder if the comments below said more about Miers or about Texas.

Harriet was the first woman hired by Dallas’s top law firms,
the first woman to become president of that firm…
the first woman to lead a large law firm in the state of Texas.

Harriet also became the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association, and the first woman elected president of the state bar of Texas.
George W. Bush, October 3, 2005

Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Miers: Blogger

The SCOTUS nominee of the moment has a blog. A faux blog, but a blog nonetheless.