Thursday, October 31, 2002

Finally, scientists are out with evidence to counter the assertions that alternative fuels are on their way.

They aren't.

And we need to spend money to find them.
A reader writes in (reader mail is always great) with this article from the New York Times on billable hours. Some people seem to think billable hours are corroding the undergirding of legal ethics:
Professor Rhode said that those kinds of hours pushed lawyers in the wrong direction. "It fosters a really ethically corrosive atmosphere where everyone fudges their time sheets," she said. "If you are dishonest on your time sheet, it builds an atmosphere of cutting corners on `little stuff' that breeds a sort of moral myopia."
I don't know how I feel about billable hours as a theoretical matter. As a practical matter, I suck at keeping time. The Times article does provide some interesting history:
Hourly billing is relatively new. It did not become widespread until the 1950's, as lawyers grew concerned about losing economic ground to other professions.

"One of the reasons attorneys turned to hourly billing is that they found they were making less money than doctors," said William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.
Ah yes, competition with doctors. We are such type As.

In a related story, another reader (the more reader email the better, I've always said) sends in this article from Forbes, in which associates at Clifford Chance concluded, "The billables requirement 'encourages padding.'" The reader suggests, and I agree (especially given what the Times article said about the origins of the billable hour), that this discussion about overworked lawyers and billable hours bears an interesting parallel to the recent debate over medical resident hours.
It's that time of year again.

The elections are upon us and here come the op-eds. Let's look first at an op-ed in USA Today by Lauren Cohen Bell, an assistant professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College. Her argument is simple: "[I]n contemporary politics, candidates seek the label 'moderate' as if it were the Holy Grail, and the political parties compete to see which has the bigger 'tent.'" She goes on:
The truth is, politics is and should be polarizing. The nature of modern political questions requires leaders who are willing to articulate strong, consistent beliefs and defend them vigorously against detractors. Polarization can lead to a healthy and necessary exchange of ideas, especially when partisans treat one another with respect even as they disagree.

There is no evidence that moderate politicians are better leaders or that moderation leads to better public policy. Likewise, there is no reason to believe that ideologues can't be pragmatic; indeed, they must be in order to reach their goals. Forced to cooperate in order to succeed, those with strong opinions often produce just the sort of moderate policies desired by the public, while at the same time they give citizens a reason to invest in the political process.
Fair enough. Like our adversarial legal system, which I believe in, good leadership and politics are grounded in healthy debate. Bell, however, is overbroad in her criticism of moderates. A system where all politicians are moderate is a bad thing; moderates in general, though, are not bad. Bell would have been better to have carved out an exception for truly moderate politicians, who also occupy an important niche in the U.S. political scheme.

Her criticism also fails to grapple with the fact that fighting to occupy the middle of the spectrum is what elections in a winner-take-all, plurality system (such as the one we have in the United States) are all about. Any elementary electoral scholar can draw you a line graph on which it can be quickly and easily demonstrated via dynamic game theory that the goal of an election is to put yourself as close to the middle of the spectrum as possible. I am reminded of a very simple example where hotdog vendors compete for location on a strip of beach. Everyone wants to be as close to the middle as possible, so as to garner all of the business to one side.

Bell makes one further error in the following argument: "Close to 70% of those who can vote next Tuesday won't. This isn't because politics has become too polarized; more likely, it's because in many races, voters don't see a real distinction between the candidates the parties are offering them." That is but one reason why eligible voters don't vote. A higher abstraction of her point is that voters don't vote because their votes don't seem to matter. But this could be for a number of reasons, not simply because the candidates seem the same, or because the candidates are both fighting to occupy the middle of the spectrum. Votes can seem not to matter because, for example, of the electoral college or because we have don't have a system of proportional representation.

A second op-ed that caught my eye was this stomach-turning, rallying cry in the Yale Daily News. The interesting point here is that Yale College junior Joshua Foer is arguing the exact opposite of Bell. Joshua is not at all concerned that politics has become a joust for moderation. Call out the dogs, the Republicans are coming! He warns, "We're talking about the potential to fundamentally change this country in ways that can't be undone for a generation." His spooky foreshadowing is funnily fitting today on Halloween.
On Chiang Kai Shek's birthday, the China Watch:

There may be direct cross-Taiwan Strait flights from Taiwan to China soon. For anyone remotely familiar with the politics of the region, this is earth-shaking news.

Here's a laugher: From the China Daily we get the news that "ordinary people are playing an increasingly active role in revising laws" in China.

Finally, in another shocker, China is looking to the world for help, acknowledging that others may have done a better job at historical conservation than they have.
Rise and shine.

I have two alarm clocks to get me up in the morning. Bigwig's got a hilarious post about beds of different nationalities designed to get their users awake in the morning. Here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
French beds that kick you out if you've bathed in the last day or have come to bed alone. Each morning a robotic arm rips the sheets off and hangs them out the window, on the off chance that an invasion has occurred. "Don't be the last on your block to surrender!"

English beds that come prestocked with crumbs, fag ends and the smell of day old beer farts. Comes with optional blocks of ice for that Scottish bed and breakfast feel.
Oh, the poor French. They've taken a real beating in the blog humor department.
Quote of the Day:
"Oh, come on. If you can't laugh at the walking dead, who can you laugh at?"
~ Night Court

Song of the Day:
Rob Zombie, "Dragula"

Happy Birthday:
Chiang Kai-Shek
John Keats
Michael Landon
Dan Rather
Jan Vermeer
Martha Wiles

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Kate's post about postage for e-mail reminded me of my first few days at college. I had heard of e-mail, even though I'd never used it. My mom had recently gotten an account from the school where she taught. She'd traded a few messages with one of my cousins -- she printed them out and brought them home and we oohed and ahed over them.

But the entire concept of electronic mail hadn't really caught hold in my mind yet. So when I learned that my college had given us all e-mail addresses, I asked my Freshman Advisory Counselor how it worked.

"Oh, e-mail's great," he said.

"How much does it cost to send one?" I asked.

He replied that it was, er... free, and the rest is history. Eight years later, it's almost impossible to imagine life without it. And there's a special place in my heart for my very first e-mail address (which still works!).
Wow. I just heard clips from the Wellstone "memorial service." It sounded more like a rock concert. The worst part, I thought, was Wellstone's son screaming over and over, "We will win! We will win! WE WILL WIN!"

How sad. He's just lost both his parents and his sister in a tragic accident, and he makes their memorial service -- which should be about celebrating their lives -- all about which party is going to control the U.S. Senate for a couple of years.
I ran into someone who saw Derek Jeter in the post office here the other day. Apparently, it's true--or so says the New Haven Register.
Bigwig at Siflay Hraka has an excellent post that argues how liberals are not actually open-minded. "Not that it's surprising, but there could hardly be a more shining example of what the Old Left actually thinks of democracy. It's fine as long as you vote the way they tell you to." It's a post I've been meaning to write for weeks to piggyback off of this post here.
Just three more days to vote for your favorite blogs at The Bloggys!
Our own local chapter of the on-going debate over medical resident work hours.

The Yale Daily News reports that the Yale School of Medicine manages to keep its surgery resident program accredited.
Yet another mention of The Yale Law Journal in popular press.

Jeffrey Rosen wrote in the New York Times on October 13:
IN the wake of Sept. 11, circumstantial evidence is being widely used -- and misused -- across America. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has put hundreds of young, mostly Muslim men under dragnet surveillance in a search for Al Qaeda operatives, resulting in a series if indictments in upstate New York, Seattle, Detroit and, most recently, Portland, Ore. But might this aggressive use of circumstantial evidence run the risk of mistaken identity?

...

The evidence against most terrorism suspects arrested and prosecuted since Sept. 11 is circumstantial. Instead of relying on direct evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or confessions, the government has relied on circumstantial evidence, which requires a jury to draw inferences from one set of facts to another. On that basis, jurors can infer that people are terrorists because their behavior parallels that of terrorists, for example, or because religious cassettes they own might be construed to endorse violence.

Critics have charged that this raises the constant danger of guilt by association or arrests based on innocent information taken out of context. But in fact, circumstantial evidence is used all the time in court, and judges and legal scholars don't consider it more or less reliable than direct evidence.

...

Circumstantial evidence can, in fact, be the most dependable. "In many cases, circumstantial evidence is more reliable than eyewitness testimony," said Beth Wilkinson, who successfully prosecuted Timothy J. McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing. She said the jury was most swayed by circumstantial evidence, by a card where McVeigh had scrawled, "TNT $5 more after May 1."

...

"Circumstantial evidence works well in ordinary criminal cases," said Neal Katyal of Georgetown University Law Center, whose article on the conspiracy doctrine is scheduled to appear in the Yale Law Journal, "but it's more dangerous when people are arrested on the basis of isolated pieces of circumstantial evidence that can't be examined in court." The greatest danger occurs when the government conducts dragnets by arresting hundreds of people whose behavior parallels that of the terrorists and refuses to share the evidence.
Professor Katyal visited here last year and is now visiting at Harvard.

So much media exposure. Being a media whore, I now finally feel like I'm doing worthwhile work.

In related news, The Yale Law Journal also expects the recently printed piece by Professor Jed Rubenfeld, "The Freedom of Imagination: Copyright's Constitutionality," to be a "page-turner." It came out recently in Issue 1 of Volume 112 of the Journal and, with any luck, should be up on The Yale Law Journal website in the next few weeks.
'Tis the season for Lands' End catalogs. From page 17 of the latest one to show up in my mailbox:

"The holidays are a time to strengthen family ties. And one easy way to do that is with matching sweaters."
Don't even think about it, Mom! Our family ties don't need that kind of strengthening.

There's even a dog sweater. Ugh.
I hate spam. I hate pop-ups. However, neither of these hatreds is deep enough to make me want to pay postage for my email simply to reduce the amount of either of them. Email has become a staple of everyday life, the equivalent of a conversation. I just can't see this idea getting off the ground. Another still-born, stupid suggestion from the ivory tower.
Instapundit. Here at Yale Law School on November 22.
Real world effect of Law Journal work!

According to today's Wall Street Journal:
The Treasury Department is weighing proposals for a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax code, including scrapping the current income tax and replacing it with something simpler.

On the table are a range of familiar and not-so-familiar options, including a European-style value-added tax, a national sales tax and a flat income tax. Officials also are mulling changes in the way the U.S. taxes multinational companies on their overseas income.

Treasury officials say the decision to proceed with any major changes likely will take months of further study and approval from President Bush. Any proposals would be scrutinized for their impact on budget deficits and would prompt questions about their fairness to specific groups. In the end, an overhaul proposal likely would become an issue in the 2004 presidential election.

For now, the Treasury is taking the lead in the effort, but the White House is receptive. Throughout his political career, Mr. Bush has shown a strong interest in taxes, campaigning for a major tax cut in 2000 and before that, as governor of Texas, attempting a major change in the state tax system. Mr. Bush has been briefed on the current review, but hasn't made any decisions yet.
One of the proposals being considered is one conceived by Yale Law Professor Michael Graetz (and being published by The Yale Law Journal), although the Wall Street Journal doesn't say this explicitly.
To address some objections of unfairness, some advocates of change suggest a hybrid system. For example, Michael Graetz, a Treasury tax official in the first Bush administration, soon will publish an article in the Yale Law Journal proposing a system that combines a value-added tax with an income tax for higher earners -- couples earning over $100,000.
Graetz's piece, which is an Essay in Issue 2 of Volume 112 of The Yale Law Journal, is quite readable, lightly footnoted, and filled with useful and convincing tables and figures. We at the Journal are convinced that it will be one of this year's "page-turners." If media exposure in the WSJ is any indication of that, then bolt down the hatches, this one's going to be in high demand. Prof. Graetz indicates that he may be on National Public Radio's "Marketplace" tonight.

The piece went to press a few days ago. Issue 2 of Volume 112 of The Yale Law Journal should be out in mid-November, and with any luck, Graetz's piece should be available on the Journal website.

A correspondent from North Carolina writes with a TV update: after just two episodes, David Kelley's girls club has been cancelled -- something Kate predicted before the show even aired.
Paul Wellstone's memorial service last night turned into such a blatantly partisan political event that Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and his wife got up and left. So did Trent Lott, who had received jeers from the crowd as he walked in. Jeers -- at a memorial service.

My favorite quote from the article is from Minnesota GOP deputy executive director Bill Walsh, responding to a reporter who asked for "some Republican response to the memorial." Walsh: "Do you realize what you just said?"
Here's the official site for the National Book Award, and with it, more information on Yale 3L Adam Haslett's nomination.
The latest chapter in the "relevancy" of environmental issues the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a much needed infusion of political capital into the environmentalist movement.

At a time when the potency of global warming is heating up rapidly, environmentalists are still out in the cold here in the United States, speaking to the world about the possible submergence of Manhattan but still shouting into the wind back here at home. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is an odd conjunction of big business and "radical" environmentalists that may put pressure on the United States. The Chicago Tribune article discusses in pertinent part:
What in the world would lead Greenpeace to make common cause with a group representing such U.S. business titans as Alcoa, Ford and Coca-Cola?

Perhaps only a global emergency--but that's how the fierce green activists and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have come to see the threat of global warming.

The two organizations shared a podium at the recent Earth Summit in Johannesburg to urge governments to "be responsible" and back the Kyoto Protocol, the sole international agreement to combat the looming crisis.

"We both share the view that the mixed and often contradictory signals sent by governments ... on greenhouse gas reductions is creating a political environment which is not good for business nor, indeed, for the future of humanity," their joint statement said.

The alliance, wary as it was--"This is not a merger," cautioned WBCSD President Bjorn Stigson--underscored how frustrated some business people have become with the glacial speed of government reaction. "If even the two of us can sit down on this together, certainly others can," said Greenpeace climate director Steve Sawyer.

It's not the first time that the Switzerland-based business council, now representing 160 firms from 30 countries, has stuck its neck out on the climate change issue. Back in 1992, before the first Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, council founders including the CEOs of DuPont, 3M, and Johnson & Johnson jointly called for such seemingly radical measures as an energy tax and an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, including coal and oil.
The article provides a good, simple analysis of what's happened here in the United States.
[T]here's a huge and growing disconnect between the scale of our current environmental crisis and U.S. government leaders' willingness to act.

To be sure, past U.S. presidents, including staunch conservatives, have often taken bold steps to protect the quality of our air and water. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. George H.W. Bush signed amendments to the Clean Air Act that, through market incentives, brought about major reductions of sulfur-dioxide emissions responsible for acid rain. Still, no U.S. president has managed to confront global warming.

There are two rather obvious explanations for this failure. One is that even though the United States accounts for most of the problem--spewing about 25 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions--it's also the most insulated, at least in the short term, from what are likely to be the worst impacts. While tiny, soon-to-be-submerged Pacific Islands nations are finalizing evacuation plans, we're enjoying sunny winters in Boston and New York.

The other reason owes to what many Americans seem to regard as a constitutional right to cheap gasoline, with few politicians courageous enough to make the link between that privilege and a darkening future for all life on Earth.

No wonder, then, that President Bill "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" Clinton abandoned his early pledge to tax energy, and Al "Earth in the Balance" Gore was all but mute on global warming in his 2000 campaign.

Still, President George W. Bush has easily done the most damage to hopes that world governments might unite to stave off the looming crisis. Last year he backed out of the Kyoto Protocol, maintaining, despite considerable research to the contrary, that it would do too much harm to the American economy.
The willingness of these companies to join hands with these thorny environmenalists is news indeed, and a strong indication that the problem is likely as bad as the environmentalists have been claiming. Their gesture, however, must be matched by the government, as Katherine Ellison, the author of the Tribune piece, very smartly points out. "In the end, it's up to governments, not firms, to make the 'business case' for sustainable development--to provide bottom-line incentives to encourage moral decisions and ensure that being a good guy and investing in clean technologies doesn't mean you'll come in last, undercut by competitors propped up by billions of dollars of subsidies for our unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels."


"Have some jazz, dammit." Bigwig at Silflay Hraka force feeds this week's collection of self-nominated blogging bests in the Carnival of the Vanities, take 6. As usual, there are some gems. The one that caught my eye was Greeblie Blog's tirade against popups. Those things are evil incarnate.
China Watch:

Confusion in China caused by Xinhua, the state news agency. Shocker!
Quote of the Day:
"Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong."
~ Oscar Wilde

Song of the Day:
Celine Dion, "I'm Alive"

Happy Birthday:
John Adams
Christopher Columbus
Diego Maradonna
Ezra Pound
Henry Winkler

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Speaking of our own little realms, it's clear that Kate and Lily are the aristocracy here at the Kitchen Cabinet, at least for the time being. Abby will return to the posting world after the dust settles from next Tuesday's election. We anxiously await her return.
David Brooks has an insightful and hilarious piece in The Atlantic about the surfeit of self-esteem in modern life. Everybody's a self-important superstar in his own little realm:

We have democratized elitism in this country. There is no longer a clear pecking order, with the Vanderbilts and the Biddles and the Roosevelts at the top and everybody else down below. Everybody gets to be an aristocrat now. And the number of social structures is infinite. You can be an outlaw-biker aristocrat, a corporate-real-estate aristocrat, an X Games aristocrat, a Pentecostal-minister aristocrat. You will have your own code of honor and your own field of accomplishment. And everybody can be a snob, because everybody can look down from the heights of his mountaintop at those millions of poor saps who are less accomplished in the field of, say, skateboard jumping, or who are total poseurs when it comes to financial instruments, or who are sadly backward when it comes to social awareness or the salvation of their own souls.
But I find Brooks's description of the phenomenon much more compelling than his account of why it's such a bad thing.
College hoops: ESPN's Pat Forde gives a "nice, overlooked little squad some love." In a related story, "ESPN programming meetings will no longer begin with everyone slapping their palms on the floor."

And the lovely golden color is back.
Harry Potter? Not this Halloween. This costume is SOLD OUT.
The Yale Daily News continues to report on the Cornell grad student union vote. It is running an online poll (scroll down), as well. Hopefully, the Kitchen Cabinet will get more reports from our source on the scene.
Bad news for the power-of-positive-thinking crowd: positivity might not be so powerful. A study has found that cancer support groups do not help patients live longer. "The researchers were quick to point out that they have no doubt that positive thinking helps patients feel better and improves the quality of their lives. It just doesn't add days to them."

I love the book titles from some of the experts quoted in the article: "The Power of Negative Thinking," "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking," and "Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching." All published within the past three years! Who knew there was a whole pro-negativity movement?
After Giants Manager Dusty Baker's son almost got trampled in game 5 of the World Series, Major League Baseball has decided to keep kids out of the dugouts.
A reader sends in this article about an MIT team of students who made millions in Vegas counting cards. I always thought those kids were smart, but get this:
Eventually, members of the blackjack team were betrayed. Out of greed, some team members sold names and faces to the Griffin Agency, which is hired by some casinos to track players who win disproportionately. The Griffin Agency compiles a face book of card counters and prohibits them from betting. “It gets the MIT freshmen picture book every year,” Mezrich said.
Never fear, the kids did not go to prison as "[c]ard counting is entirely legal." Stay tuned for the Kevin Spacey production of this story.
Kevin Spacey is planning to both produce and act in the movie, which could come out as soon as 2004. It will be unique in that many of the MIT students will be portrayed by minority actors, as was the actual case.
Unique? I guess. Why would they think to do it any other way?
Nearly a million of the American students who graduated high school last year did not enroll in college this fall. This article in Sunday's Washington Post profiles one of those students, who tend to be male, white, and poor. The student, Ben Farmer of Altavista, Virginia, just didn't think college was for him -- too expensive, too unknown:

"There was a lot of unknowns about college," he says after he thinks about it. "It was going to be this big, tough, hard, hard time in which all you'd do is write papers, which I don't like to do." So for now he assembles air conditioning ducts in a factory, for $7 an hour, which is as much as his mother makes in her new job at the bank, her first sit-down job in all the years she's been raising him.
And it sounds like his high school guidance counselors didn't do a very good job of making a college degree seem attainable and desirable to Ben. Then again, maybe college isn't as necessary as I thought; I was surprised by a quote from a Penn State professor, who said that "[t]he real opportunities for youth are grossly distorted by colleges. Seventy-one percent of jobs don't require anything beyond a high school education."

It's a very good article. The reporter, Laura Sessions Stepp, makes the people of Altavista seem like real people -- not rugged cowboys or ignorant rednecks.
Eugene Volokh posts about the law-professor-hiring process: meat markets and "stud books." Not to mention all the hassles involved with getting published...
Quote of the Day:
"Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something."
~ Thoreau

Song of the Day:
Mark Chesnutt, "She Was"

Happy Birthday:
James Boswell
Richard Dreyfuss
Edmund Halley

Monday, October 28, 2002

Nature over nuture. A court says a chicken is a chicken, regardless of how it is raised.
Electoral wackiness in Virginia: Lyndon LaRouche disciple Nancy Spannaus is trying to pass herself off as the Democratic nominee for John Warner's Senate seat, but the Democratic party wants nothing to do with her.

You can visit Spannaus's website, where she's posted that if you're not willing to "get off your duff and fight alongside LaRouche and me... you are nothing but a pathetic sucker."
Dan Savage has written a response to the Robert Bork conservative classic Slouching Towards Gomorrah. (Which a friend of the Kitchen Cabinet once misidentified as Creeping Towards Gomorrah -- an even better title, in my opinion.)

Savage's book is called Skipping Towards Gomorrah. This review in the WP calls it "a rhetorical assault on the Bork-Bennett 'virtuecrats' who want Americans to stop partying and go to church and listen to nicer music." But the reviewer is unimpressed by Savage's attempt to paint vices as virtues, particularly in the chapter where he "endeavors (lamely) to pack every known sin into one bacchanalian outing in New York."

Once again, the take-home message seems to be that moderation is a good thing.
Gore was mouthing off again the other day about the United States' vulnerability to biochemical warfare. This may be true, but the following line from the NY Times article made the whole thing seem silly:
Mr. Gore, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in the 2000 presidential election, is considering another bid for the White House. His speech today, at George Washington University, was the latest evidence of his effort to prove that he would be a viable candidate in 2004. In recent weeks, he has also given speeches on Iraq and the nation's economic problems.
I've heard he's finally slimmed down again.

This column by Michael Novak on the ACLU's campaign to remove the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courthouse completely fails to engage the ACLU's point of view, which Novak is too smart not to understand. Instead, he looks right past it:

"There are civil liberties because our Creator made us free. And also, responsible finally to Him. Why would the ACLU want to cut out of American consciousness the reason why, for a plurality of Americans, respect for civil liberties is a serious, even a sacred duty?"
Novak goes on:

"[P]rior to any obligation to the state, prior even to any obligation to civil society (prior both in time and in degree of importance), is the inalienable communion between the individual and the Creator, to Whom the human being owes a duty precedent to any he owes state or civil society.... This inalienable relation between the individual and the Creator is the ground and foundation of the right to religious liberty, and through that first right, of all the other civil rights and liberties. From that human-divine relation emanates the spiritual power of the ACLU."
The obvious problem is that the ACLU disagrees with Novak about what constitutes "the ground and foundation of the right to religious liberty." But he blows right past that fundamental point, and the resulting column adds nothing to the debate.

Jason Oraker's weekly Yale Daily News sports column is up. This time, the law student puts his legal analysis to work as he considers the effect of Title IX on minor mens' sports:
[A]s Title IX passes through its 30th year of existence, it is time to examine the other side of the equal opportunity argument that this legislation supposedly promotes. During the same time frame in which such strides have been made in women's athletics, men's athletics programs generally have suffered. More than 400 men's athletics teams -- the majority being swimming and wrestling -- have been eliminated as a result of Title IX's substantial proportionality requirement, as colleges are finding it easier and legally safer to discontinue certain men's athletic teams rather than create new women's programs. This disturbing trend ultimately runs counter to Title IX's original purpose.
Jason, who has decided he wants to be a sports broadcaster, also got the opportunity to report on this past weekend's dismal football loss to UPenn.
"He's an ultra-liberal. His wife kicked him out and he moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu. Is that South Carolina values? I don't think so."
~ Alex Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina, criticizing Lindsey Graham's acceptance of support from Rudy Giuliani.
More on the graduate students at Cornell in today's Yale Daily News.
Quote of the Day:
"We are getting into semantics again. If we use words, there is a very grave danger they will be misinterpreted."
~ H.R. Haldeman

Song of the Day:
Duran Duran, "Come Undone"

Happy Birthday:
Nicolas Culpeper
Erasmus
Rachel Farbiarz
Bill Gates
Julia Roberts
Jonas Salk
Isaac Singer
Evelyn Waugh

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Movie Quote of the Day:
"You wanna find an outlaw, you call an outlaw. You wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop."
~ Raising Arizona

Song of the Day:
Roy Orbison, "You Got It"

Happy Birthday:
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Mahalia Jackson
Francois Mitterand
Pat Sajak
Domenico Scarlatti
Jaclyn Smith

Friday, October 25, 2002

Graduate students at Cornell have voted overwhelmingly against unionization. The Cornell union would have been the second at a private university. Cornell saw a contentious debate over this issue, and you can bet other private schools have been watching closely.

A reader at Cornell worries about the comment from the professor there who thinks that the United Auto Workers, which was behind the unionization attempt, is "in this for the long run." Our correspondent writes that "it sounds like they want to take over universities!"

Maybe, but UAW lost the Cornell battle decisively. 2,043 of 2,318 eligible grad students voted, and the final tally was 69.9 percent against unionization. Some voters even wrote messages on their ballots, like "no," "absolutely not," and "no way."
Quote of the Day:
"The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."
~ T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Song of the Day:
Van Morrison, "These Are the Days"

Happy Birthday:
George Bizet
Richard Byrd
Jack Kent Cooke
Bob Knight
Pablo Picasso
Johann Strauss, Jr.
Senator Paul Wellstone has died in a plane crash.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Shameless plug (although, isn't a blog just one giant shameless plug?):

Don't forget to vote for us at The Bloggys. Only one more week!
I love animals--elephants in particular--but this is ridiculous. In their quest for publicity, environmentalists often get too clever. So clever that they come full around and back to ridiculous, opening themselves up for endless mockery.
China Watch:

USA Today ran an op-ed today advocating a firm stance on China. Good for them. Their op-ed doesn't say anything earth-shattering, novel, or even particularly interesting, but the general tone is a good one.
Now Bush risks titling too far in the other direction. He did not object to China's hosting the 2008 Olympics, looked the other way as Beijing arrested dissidents as ''terrorists'' and has added Jiang to the small list of foreign leaders invited to his ranch.
In related news, two fur protesters may be an indication of some progress in China. How did two nude protesters end up near Tiananmen. Sadly, they probably got away with it because they weren't Chinese.
Ha ha.

Things a man should not know.
A reader from North Carolina passes along a column by Dennis Rogers of the Raleigh News & Observer about the Dole-Bowles Senate race. The two candidates debated on Saturday night, and it sounds like Dole gave her opponent a lesson about what's in a name:

What she did to Erskine Bowles at the beginning of Saturday night's debate was a rhetorical butt-whipping delivered by the reigning queen of the Steel Magnolia Sisterhood. Just call me Elizabeth, she purred from behind the innocent smile of a Columbus County water moccasin. Then she stuck a sterling silver butter knife between that Charlotte fratboy's ribs with her sweet offer to "make it Liddy, as you have in your ads."

Call in the dogs and put out the fire, boys: This hunt's over.

Bowles, who looked as if he'd been told his fly was open at a Presbyterian funeral, bravely soldiered on, but his heart wasn't in it. He knew he had fallen into the velvet trap that has ensnared many an unwary Southern male... Had he called her "Liddy" on live television, she would likely have crawled over that lectern and smacked him upside the head with a can of the industrial-strength hair spray she keeps close at all times. Even her own campaign staff goes to great lengths to refer her as "Mrs. Dole" and never as "Elizabeth" or, God forbid, "Liddy."

She has him where she wants him now. He has become the diminutive "Erskine," while she is the dominant "Mrs. Dole."
It's another interesting example of the kind of tiny detail that can matter much more than the issues when candidates debate these days. Nobody remembers much about the substance of the Bush-Gore debates in 2000, but everybody remembers Gore sighing, sweating, and invading Bush's personal space.
Quote of the Day:
"Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don't even remember leaving open."
~ Rose Lane

Song of the Day:
Edwin McCain, "I Could Not Ask for More"

Happy Birthday:
F. Murray Abraham
Kevin Kline
Bill Wyman
In response to the music industry's redirected efforts toward preventing music "piracy" at universities, Yale University has capitulated again, slowing the download rate for Kazaa (the current heir to Napster) to a measly 50kbps, 200 times slower than the normal transfer rate. The Yale Daily News reports its editorial view, taking a weak, fence-sitting stance on the matter:
So in response to Kazaa's brewing legal troubles, administrators have slowed to an amble the rate at which students can download MP3s with the software. Yale is right to protect itself and to encourage students to obey the law by making file-sharing inconvenient; it is wise to recognize that outlawing access and forbidding MP3 downloads would be a waste of time.
To their credit, they do make the following excellent point:
Yale and its students know that the widespread copyright infringement now present on campus is illegal, but it is not the University's role to regulate before even Congress and the music industry decide how to reform the current system.
Our universities are here to educate our students, not to police them. The last thing we need is a nation full of mini fascist states, parenting our college kids when they should be investing in more resources and better professors.

In related news, Harvard has followed Yale in banning kegs and keg parties for the Game (the Harvard-Yale football game) weekend.
For the Kitchen Cabinet's friend Alex Keh, "Excerpts of Ex-Nirvana Frontman Kurt Cobain's 'Journals' Published."

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Congratulations to YLS 3L Adam Haslett, who's been nominated for the 2002 National Book Award.

Phenomenal. Now I'll definitely have to get him to sign a copy of his book before graduation.
Quote of the Day:
"Every morning I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work."
~ Robert Orben

Song of the Day:
Elton John, "Nikita"

Happy Birthday:
Johnny Carson
Michael Crichton
Doug Flutie
John Heinz
Scientists are close to finding the gene responsible for ADHD. I have quite a bit to say about ADHD. More tomorrow (well, later today).
Boondocks, a hilarious and social conscience prodding comic strip, gets noticed in USA Today in an op-ed.
McGruder's comic strip is an unwavering voice of black consciousness. He is as much the nemesis of the black leaders he believes have gone astray as he is of whites he thinks have undermined the interests of African-Americans.

That makes him a very dangerous black man.


Jason Oraker's weekly sports column is up at the Yale Daily News. He briefs us on the four certainties after the first half of the college football season. Unfortunately, Jason has not drawn the same ire he drew last week (here and here) with his column on Notre Dame. Stop by and berate him a bit, he'll feel like he's doing something.
Week five of the Carnival of the Vanities is up. Our usual illustrious host, Bigwig at Silflay Hraka, is out this week, but thank you to Laurence Simon at Amish Tech Support for picking up the weekly collection of self-nominated blogging bests. Great stuff, as usual. Laurence has been so good as to give little summaries of everyone's submissions.
From the Yale Daily News:

An excellent column about why environmental issues matter now. Jack Dafoe, a junior at Yale College, does a serendipitous good job at addressing my point about the fantasy world of environmentalism where individuals could make a difference by doing small things. I could comment here more about how he has managed to bridge environmentalism into serious world issues, but he speaks so well that I should just let him speak for himself:
Indeed, were environmentalism no more than an aesthetic appreciation of trees and bunnies or an abstract concept of preserving natural balances, then it would be naive to suggest that environmental issues should be a major concern for every voter this election season. But environmentalism is much broader than that. Certainly, it can be grounded in an appreciation for pristine wilderness and "nature for nature's sake," and it does seek to preserve ecological systems.

However, this emphasis on preservation is fundamentally based in a pragmatic, scientifically informed understanding that humanity has depleted the natural stockpile of resources like fossil fuels and irreparably damaged self-restoring resources like lumber, fish and fresh water. So the environmental question is not just about the fate of your local park that might be opened up to mining, the local wetland that is being developed into a strip mall, or the ancient redwoods that are being cut down in California. It is also about ensuring that in 100 years there will not be international wars over water when other rivers follow the lead of the Rio Grande and Yellow River to become drained and silted dry. It is about making sure that the giant cloud of smog and particulate matter that has reduced visibility around the Taj Mahal and prompted the Indian government to take drastic measures to decrease air pollution damage to the famous landmark is not a portent of future air quality in other industrial centers. Essentially, environmentalism is about sustaining human civilization by rethinking methods of development and considering how we can manage our inevitable growth and social progress in a world of finite resources.
Hear, hear, Jack. Keep writing and keep talking. People are listening.

In related news, California keeps up its pressure on the rest of the nation by proposing a ban on dry cleaning chemicals.

UPDATE: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is also making a case for the larger significance of environmental issues.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

China Watch:

Despite my incessant mockery of China, this is a very interesting piece from the op-ed page of The China Daily on how China has changed over the past fifty years. It is written by a man who had not set foot in the mainland for fifty-four years. Worth a gander.
Every little bit counts.

So stop reading this blog, get out from behind your computer, and go exercise!
After having made my environmentalist post, here's my vote for stupid headline of the day: "People Take Up Most of the Planet, U.S. Study Says"
We've been getting some traffic from The Bloggys, where we've been nominated in a handful of categories (when by handful I mean three). I don't know about "best new blog" or "blog of the month," but definitely vote for us for "most posts"!
Somewhat old news, but far from stale: two victories for anti-discrimination law!

Gays can sue for sexual harassment under federal civil rights laws. More significantly, in a demonstration that we have indeed come a long way since World War II (see here, too), a federal district court has maintained reason in the post-9/11 panic, ruling "that although airlines need to remove passengers who pose a security threat, that duty 'does not grant them a license to discriminate.'"
Could it be? Voters are finally realizing that the link between politics and the economy is tenuous at best?

"Investors have shown little inclination to blame Republicans for Wall Street's problems over the past few months, polls suggest, complicating a Democratic attempt to make the economy a rallying cry in their final push to the elections." How long will this burst of intelligence last? We shall see. I'm not holding my breath.
"Eat my voltage"

I saw this in a car this morning. I walked back and found that it was, as I suspected, a hybrid. 2002 EPA estimated 52/45/48 city/highway/combined mpg. Sweet. I want one.

I am a fan of how California continues to push the envelope on environmental legislation in this country. I mention this, of course, because the low emission vehicles got their start from California's exceptionally low emission requirements. The enormous California market put pressure on automakers, which had found themselves producing two types of cars--California cars and rest-of-the-US cars. It is both a good and bad indicator for enviromentalists. California demonstrates what can happen when enough political capital is thrown behind a certain initiative. Unfortunately, it also shows the amount of political capital necessary to get something through. Environmentalists have come to realize the functional futility of things like recycling, which were based on the idea that everyone doing their little bit could change the world. I still want to live in that fantasy land.
I missed Senator John McCain's appearance on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend. Here's part of his "interview" with a fake Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." I must admit I was well into the transcript before I realized it was a joke:

"Russert": "Our issue this Sunday -- a test of will for the president as he weighs invading to Iraq and for the Buffalo Bills as they head to Miami. Joining us, to discuss Iraq -- the next move -- is Senator John McCain of Arizona. Senator, we have ask -- are you considering running again in 2004?"
McCain: "No, I have no plans to run for higher office. The president's doing a fine job."
"Russert": "No plans, but you wouldn't say no."
McCain: "Tim, I have no interest in running."
"Russert": "You didn't answer my question, senator."
McCain: "What was the question?"
"Russert": "Whether you would say no, unequivocally, to running for president of the United States."
McCain: "Tim, I haven't even considered running."
"Russert": "What if President Bush does not run?"
McCain: "I don't see any reason..."
"Russert": "What if he forgets to run? The president forgets to run for re-election and the Republicans are without a candidate, would John McCain step in to fill that void?"
McCain: "I would call the president and remind him to run."
"Russert": "So you're running?"
McCain: "What? No."
"Russert": "You're a candidate?"
McCain: "I am not a candidate."
"Russert": "John McCain is running for president in 2004."
McCain: "No."
"Russert": "2008?"
McCain: "No."
"Russert": "2012?"
McCain: "No."
"Russert": "2016?"
McCain: "No."
"Russert": "2020?"
McCain: "No."
"Russert": "Let's talk about 2024."
McCain: "I'll be 90."
"Russert": "Alright, hypothetically, genetic engineering has extended the human the lifespan to 200 years. Would a relatively young John McCain challenge a reanimated Jimmy Carter zombie?"
McCain: "Now, President Carter has been a great humanitarian."
"Russert": "So John McCain would back down. Are you afraid of Carter eating you?"
McCain: "I don't think that's an accurate..."
"Russert": "So you're a candidate?"
McCain: "No."


Matt Labash, my favorite Weekly Standard scribe, can write with sparkling wit about even the dullest topics. This week's cover story on Arnold Schwarzenegger is a gem. Labash spends some time travelling with Arnold -- who is not dull by any means.

It sounds to me like Schwarzenegger has big political plans.

I love what Maria Shriver told her Kennedy family when she married Schwarzenegger: "Don't look at [Arnold] as a Republican, look at him as the man I love. And if that doesn't work, look at him as someone who can squash you."
Movie Quote of the Day:
"We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh."
~ Agnes Repplier

Song of the Day:
Natalie Cole, "Miss You Like Crazy"

Happy Birthday:
Brian Boitano
Timothy Leary
Franz Liszt
Christopher Lloyd
N.C. Wyeth

Monday, October 21, 2002

China Watch:

Ha ha. The government's propoganda rag, the China Daily, reports that "[g]rassroots democracy is flourishing in China."
The developer of this new technology should be placed in a burlap sack and beaten with a large stick.
Just as Lily joins him, Andy Rooney has admitted he shouldn't have made his remarks about women sportscasters. Of course, he didn't apologize for the comment, saying instead, "Anyone who says I'm sexist knows less about me than those women do about football."
Culinary coup.

Tearless onions may be on the way.
Linda Chavez has an awful op-ed in USA Today about affirmative action. I'm not saying that it's awful because I disagree; while I do see the usefulness of affirmative action in certain contexts, on the whole I've never been a huge fan of affirmative action. Rather, the op-ed is awful because it is poorly written and poorly reasoned. Chavez offers nothing new to the debate; she simply recycles a few tired anti-affirmative action arguments. Worse yet, the spin she puts on these arguments does nothing but weaken them.
I've seen, firsthand, the corrosive effect of racial and ethnic preferences. Instead of guaranteeing true opportunity for minorities to prove themselves on the same basis as everyone else, they promote double standards and cast doubt on the qualifications of those blacks and Hispanics who have worked hardest to achieve. If colleges start picking coaches to satisfy an affirmative plan, they'll undermine the achievements of men such as Willingham or Temple University basketball coach John Cheney.
Really? Surely Chavez doesn't think that prospective affirmative action plans would affect previous hirings, hirings that clearly occured before any affirmative action plan. Chavez also rehashes the familiar, and sorry, specter of the slippery slope:
If we accept the idea of proportional representation by race for coaching staffs, what's next, quotas on the field or court? Blacks may be ''underrepresented'' among coaches, but by the same token they're ''overrepresented'' among players. Should we start making cuts on teams based on whether we have too many black running backs or too few Asian quarterbacks?
Come on. Who really believes this? There's a serious difference between the argument that coaches need affirmative action and that players need affirmative action. For starters, a player's merits are much more easily discerned, making it far clearer if a player has been discriminated against on the basis of race.




We all knew Hollywood was a weird place, but this article really creeped me out. It's about rudeness as a sign of social status in the increasingly competitve movie industry. Apparently, you signal that you're Somebody by not showing up at parties you've RSVP'd for and never returning phone calls: "Hollywood etiquette is all about reminding others that you are more important than they are." Lovely.
Apologies for my light and oddly timed posting lately. I am in Virginia visiting my parents. Today I am chauffeuring my mother to Potomac Mills, in the heart of sniper territory. We won't be stopping for gas there.

Speaking of posting, a reader recently asked Kate whether Abby was a real person or just a name we put on the site because it sounded cool. Rest assured that Abby actually exists! She even posts... sometimes... I think...
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the kind of career I want. Today I found inspiration in an unlikely place: the pages of Sports Illustrated. There's an article in the October 14 issue of SI about Amy Trask, the chief executive of the Oakland Raiders. It's not available online, but here's a bit:

In her professional capacity as Al Davis's right-hand woman, Trask makes no apologies for her rebellious and occasionally off-putting behavior. At 41 she is regarded as the most powerful woman in America's most macho pro sport, and the words and actions that have propelled her to that position have been as subtle as a Ray Lewis tackle. "The big thing is, she's fearless," says Davis, who worries that Trask will be plucked away by a big corporation. "Early on I wondered, Will she be intimidated? Because she was going to be a woman in a man's world. But she's been tough." There's no way to know for sure, but Davis, 73, strongly suggests that Trask is a heartbeat away from taking over day-to-day operations of one of the sports world's most conspicuous properties. ...Trask, says one of her many detractors, a top executive for a rival team, "is like a younger, sharper, meaner version of Al -- with a law degree."

Wrap your brain around that: The next Al Davis may well be a 5'3", 107-pound, pearl-wearing spitfire who wouldn't be caught dead in a nylon warmup suit. Yet no one who has been in business settings with Trask doubts that she could fill Davis's shoes... Who else would have hovered over 77-year-old league observer Art McNally in a packed Foxboro Stadium press box at the pivotal moment of last January's divisional playoff game between the Raiders and the New England Patriots -- the replay review of Pats quarterback Tom Brady's apparent game-ending fumble -- and screamed, "You'd better call 911, because I'm going to have a f------ heart attack if you overturn this f------ call!"?
It's hard for me to articulate exactly why, but I think this woman has a great job. Maybe it's because she gets to wake up every morning and be a total ball-buster for the sake of an institution she's passionate about.

And yes, I know I just posted about how women don't belong in the NFL...
Movie Quote of the Day:
"Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth."
"I know him. You'd like him, he's married."
~ When Harry Met Sally

Song of the Day:
Sublime, "Santeria"

Happy Birthday:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Carrie Fisher
Dizzy Gillespie
Benjamin Netanyahu
Alfred Nobel

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Quote of the Day:
"The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky."
~ Solomon Short

Song of the Day:
The Backstreet Boys, "Drowning"

Happy Birthday:
Art Buchwald
Snoop Dogg
Bela Lugosi
Mickey Mantle
Tom Petty
Christopher Wren
Ted Rall mulls whether the new movie Red Dragon inspired the D.C. area sniper. This was, of course, bound to happen. A new movie about a person trapped in a phone booth by a sniper will likely be delayed, if not pulled.

Maybe we should turn ourselves into Pleasantville. I mean, I can see how people become concerned about how our arts and entertainment shape our society. However, is it really that hard to see that self-starting creativity is what makes America great?
I ran into Geraldo once, here on Yale campus. Looks like I should have stopped him and asked for an autograph. He might have signed my ... shorts.
Microsoft is doing well ... again.

I hate Microsoft. Have I said that before? I just purchased a new computer and have been struggling horribly with the insidious Microsoft products. For a while, I was borrowing a computer on which words would mysteriously appear--all by themselves. After driving me insane for two hours, I finally found this article, explaining why my computer appeared to be possessed by the devil (interesting turn of phrase--possessed by Microsoft?). My latest problem is that I need to change the config.sys file, but can't seem to find it.

My problem with Microsoft is that in creating a system that is user-friendly, they've created a system that is completely inaccessible to the computer-savvy user. Not an earth-shaking complaint, but one I needed to make.
Stop the presses! Another inane man v. machine chess match. Breath a sigh of relief. While we did not prevail, neither did we lose.
The Rally Monkey.

This makes me feel somewhat better about the Anaheim Angels. I had worked myself into a frenzy over the fact that the Angels' rally monkey was the random, but sickly profitable, concoction of some genius Disney marketer. Have you seen one of their home postseason games? The Angels are making a killing on those stuffed monkeys. At least we now know that the derivation of the monkey is legitimate.
Since I was willing to post this study about men with big feet, I can't possibly pass up this study about men with long fingers.

Big feet, big shoes. Long fingers, long ...
Disc golf is making the headlines in the Baltimore Sun. For long time players of Ultimate Frisbee, this is a most frustrating development. Rachel Mansir, who was interviewed in the Sun article, complained: "All of our friends make fun of us - 'You're freaks.'" Try experiencing that as an Ultimate player. Unlike Disc Golf, Ultimate involves running, diving, passing, blocking, defense, and scoring. It is, in short, as real a sport as soccer or track. It also involves injuries as real as those incurred in rugby or football. As a result, we get the same "freaklike" treatment, but with greater insult. We are actually sweating and working, but are still considered, at best, pseudo-athletes. The worst are trips to the emergency room with sprained wrists, torn ACLs, or fractured ribs. The doctors treat us like zoo animals, calling in everybody within earshot to get a look at the "freak" who hurt him or herself "playing frisbee." "What? Did you trip on the dog?"

Disc golf? The slower, lesser, stupider cousin of Ultimate Frisbee.

For more on Ultimate Frisbee, check out the Ultimate Players Association website or the 2002 World Club Championships website. The best site, I think, is the Gaia site (Gaia makes Ultimate gear). They have some excellent graphical presentations of what Ultimate is all about. And for a thorough documentary on Ultimate, go to IBleedBlack.com, the website for an excellent documentary on the UC Santa Barbara men's ultimate team, Black Tide. As much as I hate them, it's a good site.
Why Instapundit is king.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Quote of the Day:
"Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home."
~ Bill Cosby

Song of the Day:
When In Rome, "The Promise"

Happy Birthday:
Evander Holyfield
John Lithgow
Robert Reed

Friday, October 18, 2002

Lily and Kate are away for the day.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Yes, I admit it. I agree with Andy Rooney: "I mean, I'm not a sexist person, but a woman has no business being down there trying to make some comment about a football game."

The female sportscasters' responses to Rooney in this article, while certainly relevant, don't really get at my problem with female sideline reporters. I have no doubt they're very smart and know what they're talking about. It's more an aesthetic issue. They just don't belong there. Women can't even play in the NFL; they're down there commenting on a world they can only be a part of as commentators! It's like a man working in Victoria's Secret -- and I don't care how knowledgeable he is about bras and underwear. I find the out-of-place-ness distracting and creepy. I'm sure Melissa Stark is great at what she does, but unfortunately I never listen to a word she says. I'm too busy trying to figure out why on earth she wants to do it.

But as another Monday Night Football personality is fond of saying, "That's just my opinion. I could be wrong."
Well, Kate, at least one critic of girls club is underwhelmed.
So glad you mentioned literacy, Kate. Apparently literacy does have its detractors -- specifically, the Harvard Law School Federalist Society. One HLS Federalist, who I've mentioned before in this space, frets on their blog that "universal literacy has come with considerable costs." You know, it enables the populace to think things through for themselves, which leads to less automatic deference to "authority" (read: people who dress and talk like the Harvard Law School Federalist Society).

Honestly, I should just stay away from their site. It makes me want to run off and join the ACLU. But don't worry -- I won't. (Here's why.)

More snippets: "Personally, I'd be much more pleased with American foreign policy if we would go around the world restoring monarchies rather than establishing democracies." Something to think about, Condi and Colin?

"One the gravest deficiencies of contemporary American conservativism is that it has lost any aristocratic temperament." Speaking of literacy, a still graver deficiency is that some champions of "conservativism," aristocratic or not, don't seem to be able to spell.

In truth, it's probably unfair of me to pick on them for typos. And I do agree with them about a lot. But I think it's a shame when smart people deliberately make such beanie-wearing asses of themselves that they open themselves up to being mocked and caricatured. When you criticize things like representative democracy and universal literacy in 2002 America, you're just begging people not to take you seriously.

One final thought from another HLS Federalist, with whom I might agree if only I knew what the heck he was talking about: "What's the use of bleeding in vain for generations if we cannot quote our Latin correctly?"
"Alternative country musician" Ryan Adams kicked a fan out of his concert for yelling out a request for "Summer of '69," a Bryan Adams song. Adams responded to the fan's request "with stream of expletives and ordered the house lights turned on." He then gave the fan $30 cash as a refund for his ticket, "ordered him to leave and said he wouldn't play another note until that happened."
I am immensely curious about the new David Kelley production, girls club. I have the bad feeling it will turn out like Boston Public did--an immense disappointment. I had hoped for a wonderful tribute to teaching. Rather, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summed up the result quite well:
Set at an inner city school, the series salutes the important work of teachers, but continues to do so in an over-the-top, unrealistic way that undermines its ode to the profession.
girls club will probably do something similarly stupid.
Ha ha. I'm having trouble getting my work done and posting as well, can I have Frank Lautenberg sit in for me?

I also saw this in this week's Time magazine. A very funny Republican ad running in New Jersey against the new Lautenberg Senate campaign.

I read in this week's Time magazine about Andy Rooney's comments about women sideline sportscasters. I clearly missed this on the Internet news circuits.

Personally, I don't mind women sideline sportscasters. I think most sports commentators--male or female--are useless, unless they're calling plays or reporting on penalties or injuries. I don't need color commentary of any sort. Lily, I think, might have something to say about this.
An update on The Kitchen Cabinet's sports columnist friend Jason Oraker. Oraker's Yale Daily News column on Notre Dame and the BCS has now received 20 comments, many of which are hateful, knee-jerk reactions by Notre Dame fans. Again, you're pissing someone off, so keep it up Jason! In another lucid selection from the comments, here's yet again an example of someone who is unable to understand that intelligence and sports knowledge (or a love for sports) are not mutually exclusive:
Speaking of brats, who does Jason Oraker think he is? He is from Colorado, goes to Yale and roots for Michigan?
What does this mean? It's so inane I can't even make heads or tails of it. Finally, in the midst of the madness, some sense:
This article points out more about the BCS than about Notre Dame. It's too bad all the ND defenders out there didn't seem to see that. ND hasn't really done anything wrong and I don't think you really said they did. ND haters can't stand that stuff, but there's nothing wrong about it - simply a situation of taking advantage of what you can and the analogy to the Yankees is appropos. In fact, you acknowledge they have a great coach and are having a great season - they ARE doing it on the field and this is good for college football.
It's nice to see that some of the non-Yale readers of the Yale Daily News are literate.
Movie Quote of the Day:
"Relax. Kids swallow quarters all the time."
"Really?"
"Sure. If she craps out two dimes and a nickel, then you can start worrying."
~ Grumpier Old Men

Song of the Day:
U2, "Mysterious Ways"

Happy Birthday:
Jimmy Breslin
Lucas Cupps
Rita Hayworth
Evel Knievel
Arthur Miller

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Don't drink alcohol while you're pregnant.

A new study shows that even one drink a day while pregnant has lasting effects on the child. Is this new? Sheesh.
The ship formerly known as the Exxon Valdez is being retired. Renamed the SeaRiver Mediterranean, the tanker has become an icon for environmental groups. Greenpeace activists managed to float alongside the ship in 1994 and painted "Stop me B4 I spill again" on the hull. Congress banned it from ever returning to Prince William Sound after the Good Friday 1989 incident that spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil there, and Exxon's suit to have that ban overturned is now at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If Exxon wins the appeal, the ship might be brought back into service.

"That ship is an obvious icon for the environmental movement, and was really the trigger for a lot of progressive thinking about the environment and corporate responsibility," says Kert Davies of Greenpeace USA. "We'd like to see that ship off the waters because we'd like to see any old ship retired, but the issues are much larger now than just the Exxon Valdez."
The $9.95 Eggplant Parmigiana at Scalini's Italian restaurant in Cobb County, GA, is labor-inducing. More than 300 of the pregnant women who have eaten it there have given birth within 48 hours. The restaurant calls the results "Eggplant Babies" and puts their pictures on the walls. If it doesn't work, the pregnant women get a gift certificate for another meal.

The recipe for the magic dish is here.
Instapundit is now available on your PDA. And I have a major case of blog envy.
Stanley Kurtz blasts NYU Law School on The Corner:

"The NYU Law School Federalist Society has invited University of Chicago professor Richard Epstein to address the law school on the issue of military recruitment on campus. The NYU Federalist Society has invited over 100 NYU law professors to debate Epstein, but not a single professor has accepted. Yet each of these professors signed a statement deploring military policy and criticizing the school's decision to allow military recruiting on campus.

"The NYU case tells us something interesting about political bias at law schools. The public at large is split on 'don't ask, don't tell.' And many more who might not favor that policy still believe that it's wrong to ban the military from a college campus. Yet at NYU law school, over a hundred professors signed the statement deploring the military's presence, while only four professors declined. What does that tell you about the existence of genuine intellectual diversity at NYU Law School? And by the way, a reporter in Saint Louis was recently told by a professor at Washington University Law School that, 'a moderate Democrat would be on the far Right here.' Do we need any more proof of the damaging one-sidedness that does daily damage to the heart and soul of the academy[?]"
I'm just glad to hear that Federalists exist at all at NYU. Last month I tried to invite their chapter to a Federalist Society event we were having at Yale, but they weren't even listed as an NYU organization.

Catch our reporting on the Yale Law School's version of the military recruiting controversy starting here.

UPDATE: Lane McFadden, an NYU Law School alum, reports on the controversy.
Kausfiles has just been to a screening of Unprecedented, a documentary about the Florida recount:

"The unintended highlight of Unprecedented comes when a Democratic talking head, explaining why the Republicans might try to block felons from voting, says (I'm paraphrasing here) 'Ninety-five percent of people coming out of prison vote Democratic.' ... Dick Gephardt, there's your campaign slogan!"
Kaus also has thoughts about recent Linda Greenhouse reporting on Bush v. Gore.
If you're interested at all in the New York versus DC debate, check out Ruth Franklin's defense of DC in The New Republic. Franklin makes a great point:

"D.C. without its Virginia and Maryland surroundings is like Manhattan without the outer boroughs, San Francisco without Oakland and Berkeley, Boston without Cambridge and Somerville. (I'm assuming Rich has Cambridge-based Harvard and MIT in mind when he says 'Boston' is America's education center.) Bailey's Crossroads, a Virginia suburb, has the most authentic Thai food in the region -- something new for someone accustomed to New York's dreary pad Thais and curries. A nearby pocket is nicknamed 'Little Vietnam.' And the suburbs aren't just good for food: A few weeks ago I heard the pianist Santiago Rodriguez, considered sone of the world's foremost interpreters of Rachmaninoff, perform with the Arlington Symphony at Northern Virginia Community College. Rodriguez won't be appearing at Lincoln Center this fall."
But considering recent events in the news, perhaps this isn't the best time for me to be singing the praises of the DC suburbs.


More on food: Chevy Chase will star in the film "Bad Meat," where he will play a senator "who -- through a series of events -- is butchered into steaks that are shipped to a supermarket chain." Former Onion editor Scott Dikkers will direct the movie. They'll be filming in Chicago for five days in mid-November.
Siflay Hraka reminds us that bloggers can't hit homeruns every day, or even have multiple base hits every day, but that we have to keep churning out the singles. I guess the worry is that we aren't even hitting singles all the time, which, if one were to really follow the baseball analogy, is probably true. Most people probably are popping out, or grounding out, or more likely, striking out, on a regular basis. In fact, as the analogy goes, probably two out of every ten posts (.200) are outs of some sort. In baseball, however, somebody is still watching you hit (at least in the Majors) even if you're batting .200. For blogs, the analogy ends there. Is anyone really reading if you're batting .200?

That said, here's evidence that even Volokh isn't swinging for the fences on every post.
Quote of the Day:
"There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."
~ Louis L'Amour

Song of the Day:
Weezer, "Island in the Sun"

Happy Birthday:
David Ben-Gurion
Charles Colson
William O. Douglas
Angela Lansbury
Eugene O'Neill
Noah Webster

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Reports have it that a Yale Law Professor has referred to Judge Posner as "the Dickster." Dickmania.com, here we come.
Jason Oraker, a friend of the Kitchen Cabinet, had his third column printed on the Sports page of the Yale Daily News. Oraker talks about another of the teams people love to hate, Notre Dame. I think Oraker's got a great column. And as the adage goes, if you're pissing people off, you're doing something right. Here is a clip from a "comment" on his column:
Wonderful article, and by wonderful I mean terrible. Let's start from the stirring conclusion: "No one plays harder, smarter, and with more heart than the Air Force Academy." This should not be in print.
Keep it up, Jason.

Here are Jason's other columns: Heisman hoopla and road-tripping. The comments for these two articles are once again confirmation that if you are pissing someone off, you're doing something right. Oraker had effectively no comments for these earlier two columns. Well, he had one for the first column, but as I will point out, the guy was a complete idiot, devaluing his comment to the extent that it doesn't count. Here's what he said in response to Jason's first column:
We do know what garbage time is, it was when we used to dump all over the Eli's!! I was at the game, and the crowd noise was not as indicated, but some in the crowd were happy for the score(s), as they allowed UConn to beat the spread, again. Do Yale fans know what that is?? By the way, How's attendance??
What? We don't know what a spread is just because we're Yale students? This pathetic UConn fan is unable to decipher that intelligence and sports knowledge are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps that's because he lacks the intelligence to even begin to comprehend that.
Gratuitous personal update: I spent much of the weekend sight-seeing with the parents. It was nice to see some parts of Connecticut I'd never been to. This is a prettier state than one might think if one's defining Connecticut experience up to now had been, say, two years in New Haven.

We went northwest to Litchfield, where the fall color is nearing its peak, and east to Mystic, where we ate at Mystic Pizza. And along the way we stopped at plenty of antique shops and saw lots of those old white clapboard houses my mother loves.

Two minor quibbles. I don't think Connecticut has very good road signs. Is this the Yankee way of keeping newcomers out? And what is up with this state's obsession with Dunkin Donuts? There's practically one on every block in some towns.
Another reader from North Carolina (we love our NC readers!) passes along this column by Thomas Sowell on Jimmy Carter. Sowell thinks Carter is a dictator-coddling foreign policy nuisance and says the Nobel Peace Prize should properly have gone to Ronald Reagan for ending the Cold War.
Speaking of annoying food discussions, there's a new book on the history of vegetarianism. This review in the Washington Post calls it "essentially an extended argument that portrays vegetarians through the ages as a persecuted minority driven to the fringe or, in some cases, extinction, chiefly by their saintly refusal to eat animals."

And at least in my browser, beside the article there's a Magruder's ad for London broil, boneless chicken breasts, and Italian sausage.
Bored? Here's the original script from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Still bored? The Salma Hayek versus Friedrich Hayek scorecard.

Still bored? Here are some frequently asked questions about Freecell.
A reader from North Carolina reports that ESPN.com has the first basketball bracket of the season, a full five months before the NCAA tournament.

But inexplicably, that lovely golden color is gone.
Quote of the Day:
"Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don't collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don't really mean anything."
~ Norman Lear

Song of the Day:
R.E.M., "Imitation of Life"

Happy Birthday:
John Kenneth Galbraith
Lee Iacocca
Friedrich Nietzsche
Mario Puzo
Virgil
Oscar Wilde
Edith Galt Wilson
P.G. Wodehouse

Monday, October 14, 2002

The USA Today op-ed page has weighed in on the new federal guidelines for pharmaceutical gift-giving to doctors. I stand by what I said, well over a week ago.
Apparently, there has been a raging debate on NRO about "crunchy conservatism." (Click here and scroll down.) I like this column by Jonah Goldberg, who is suspicious of any political movement that dictates the "right" tastes in food and clothing. And this follow-up, where he hits the nail on the head: "The kind of shirt you wear, the sort of food you eat, and the kind of music you listen to should be as irrelevant in the voting booth as your eye color."

On a related note, I get so annoyed when people I barely know try to have long conversations with me about what I eat and don't eat, and for what political/societal/health reasons. I always feel as if they're simultaneously invading my privacy and boring me to death. And I'll never forget the tedious conversation I had with a classmate last year: she went on and on about how she ate no sugar -- no fruit, even. All this while she gulped a glass of white wine.
Quote of the Day:
"Governments never learn. Only people learn."
~ Milton Friedman

Song of the Day:
Peter Gabriel, "In Your Eyes"

Happy Birthday:
Hannah Arendt
e.e. cummings
John W. Dean III
Dwight Eisenhower
Ralph Lauren
Isaac Mizrahi
Roger Moore
William Penn
John Wooden

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Quote of the Day:
"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
~ Gore Vidal

Song of the Day:
The Temptations, "My Girl"

Happy Birthday:
Janna Hansen
Nancy Kerrigan
Paul Simon
Margaret Thatcher



Saturday, October 12, 2002

Movie Quote of the Day:
"Don't talk to me about contracts, Wonka. I use them myself – they're strictly for suckers."
~ Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Song of the Day:
Van Halen, "Right Now"

Happy Birthday:
Edward VI
Luciano Pavarotti

Friday, October 11, 2002

It's a big, big night in sports.

But some people have better things to do than romp around in fancy-schmancy new stadiums in the middle of the night.

The 24th annual Turkey Testicle Festival is this weekend in Byron, Illinois. Three hundred sixty pounds of testicles will be deep-fried as Byron's own Testilett Dancers sing the "Turkey Testicle Song."
An excellent Op-ed in USA Today about the SAT.
Here's a look at the practical ramifications of the Eldred v. Ashcroft case that is before the Supreme Court this term. Volokh takes a crack at predicting how the Court will come down on this landmark copyright case.
Kids want respect. Will that always be so difficult for adults to understand? A study of health information leaflet presentation found that doctors thought adolescents would prefer to read "comic book" style information while adolescents overwhelmingly stated they wanted clear, factual presentation.

How is it that when we get older we forget all the perspective we had as children? We are so often told by our elders that we can't understand something until we've experienced it. Frequently, parents don't lecture, but wait for their children to experience something for themselves, because the latter is clearly more effective. For some reason, however, that logic fails to follow completely through. Adolescents and young adults know what it is their parents do that upset them or alienate them. Yet, we don't see the next generation of parents acting that much better. Rather, we see them repeating the same mistakes, driving their children away in the same manner that their parents drove them away. Do we pass some magical age after which we become dumb again?