Monday, April 30, 2007

BACK FROM blogging at Above the Law, and a fun weekend in New York. We got to see a Yankees win--albeit the only one in the last 9 games--and we had two delicious meals, one at Del Posto and one at OTTO.

I've got to take care of some things this morning (buying groceries, for one). But if I don't post some stuff I'll have blogging withdrawal, having been at it as my day job for three days last week. So I'll be back later.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'LL BE guest-blogging over at Above The Law this week. That and my day job will be keeping me pretty busy, so I don't expect to be posting much here.

But I'm not abandoning the KC! Here's a fun link to keep you occupied: The Modesty Survey. This is easy to make fun of, and people have (don't miss the responses to the question in the General/Other category about family members). My opinion about it is a little more complicated, but I don't have time to do a whole post on it right now. Maybe later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SCENES FROM outside my study window, just a little while ago:

Above is most of Family A (with three offspring). The patriarch of Family A was busy picking a fight with Family B (six offspring -- they looked a little older than Family A's) about 10 yards away, pictured here:

Dad A was very aggressive toward the other family, hissing and flapping and at one point creating a splash that dunked all six of the B youngsters underwater. Weary of the harassment, Family B retreated to the grass:

They were surprisingly tame (I'm sure it helped that I had bread).

Monday, April 16, 2007

"THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN a market for anti-hick editorializing in the New York Times, especially anti-Southern-hick editorializing," says Mickey Kaus.

Friday, April 13, 2007

TERRY MORAN tells us "Don't Feel Too Sorry for the Dukies." John Podhoretz's response is worth reading:

The amount of money their parents may or may not have had does not mitigate the Kafka nightmare to which they were consigned. Indeed, America should be grateful their families had the resources to pursue their exoneration, as the process revealed that a the criminal-justice system in a city of 275,000 people was being run by a conscienceless sociopath. His certain prosecution and probable conviction on ethics and perjury charges will remove Mike Nifong from office and spare untold numbers of others who might be subject to his prosecutorial whim.

Including poor people. Including African-Americans.

Finally, Moran offers one of those cutesy, let's-roll-the-news-events-of-the-moment-into-a-neat-package sentence when he says dismissively that the three men are "are very differently situated in life from, say, the young women of the Rutgers University women's basketball team."

Yes, they are. They spent a year in torment, as did their families. They and their families incurred huge legal fees. . . .

The Rutgers women's basketball team was insulted by a shock jock, and in about 12 minutes became America's darlings. I'd say the Duke three were "differently situated." With the exception of Don Imus, America has greeted the Rutgers team as heroes. Most of elite America was certain for months that these three men were guilty of rape.
There are some good comments following Moran's post, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN woman has a message for the Duke lacrosse players:

I'm sorry.

It's not enough, and I won't pretend that it is. For the last year, your lives and those of your families have been more difficult than any of us can possibly imagine. I'll never know what it was like walking around normal society labeled a rapist. I'll never know what it's like to lose everything -- your school, your program and your life -- because of one unproven accusation.
And another article on SI.com looks at the sheer lunacy of Nifong's crusade:

Over and over, lawyers and people from the players' camp, desperate to figure out Nifong, kept telling me that, perhaps, the source of his zeal was his lifelong hostility toward Duke University. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, after all. I barely listened; at the time, it seemed absurd to consider that a childish school rivalry could somehow be driving a rape prosecution. But at this point, it makes as much sense as anything.
I had not heard the Duke-Carolina rivalry advanced as a serious explanation for Nifong's behavior, and I have trouble believing it now. Isn't it more plausible that the man just wanted to hang on to his job and thought this was the easiest way to do it?
I'VE BEEN MEANING to direct your attention to Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project Blog, which, not surprisingly, is about the concept of happiness and all the many ways human beings experience and achieve it.

I've found many of Gretchen's tips on organization really helpful, like how to use Ziploc bags, how to handle mail, and how to clear clutter.

The whole blog is great, and I don't mean to give the impression that it's just about being organized. If you're like me, though, it's hard to be really serene if your surrounding are disorderly. One of my favorite things about being at home this year has been the opportunity to create little organizational systems for things like our medicines, pictures, maps, etc. I'm particularly proud of my new filing system. Every time I look at the pretty color-coded folders with the neatly typed labels, I feel . . . happy. Creating the system was actually a lot of fun, and filing is less of a chore now because I'm not inwardly groaning about my ugly files.

One final recommendation on the subject of getting organized: This Martha Stewart book is beautifully photographed and full of good ideas.
IS YOUR CAR gay or straight?

Cars are no more straight or gay than cellphones, office chairs or weed whackers. But in recent years that truism has not stopped a perception among some motorists that certain cars can, in the right context, be statements about a driver’s sexual orientation.
"Gay cars" apparently include Miatas, Subarus, and Mini Coopers.
I HAVE A NEW Legal Eagle Wedding Watch on Above The Law.
AS FOR THE accuser in the Duke case, John Podhoretz is one of the many who are naming names:

Her name is Crystal Gail Mangum.

She must be denied anonymity because she makes a mockery of the very policy of granting anonymity to rape accusers. We do not publish their names so that they will not fear public exposure. But people who are tempted to do the monstrous thing Mangum did should fear public exposure.

They should be terrified of it.

They should have nightmares about it.

They should be given no encouragement whatsoever to believe they can launch a nuclear weapon at someone's reputation and escape unscathed.
The Duke Chronicle's lead editorial has a simple message: "Disbar Mike Nifong"
YESTERDAY'S TOP STORIES collide: Don Imus asks, when will Al Sharpton apologize to the Duke lacrosse players?
IN MY INBOX this morning:

Dear Member of the Duke University Community,

I write to you on behalf of the Trustees of Duke University.

Today the North Carolina State Attorney General announced that all remaining charges against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann have been dropped and should never have been brought. This announcement explicitly and unequivocally establishes the innocence of David, Collin and Reade, who with their families have suffered an unimaginable year of accusation and public scrutiny. They deserve our respect for the honorable way they have conducted themselves during this long legal ordeal that ends with their exoneration.

The Attorney General determined that there was no credible evidence to support the charges that were brought, with so many statements of certainty, by the Durham District Attorney last spring. Many have suffered from his actions, these three students and their families most of all. The Attorney General's investigation places responsibility for this miscarriage of justice with the District Attorney, and we now look to the proceedings of the state bar to call him to account before his peers.

Much as we wish that these three young men, their teammates and their families and indeed the whole community of people who love Duke could have been spared the agony of the past year, we believe that it was essential for the University to defer to the criminal justice system. As imperfect and flawed as it may be, it is that process that brings us today to this resolution.

Throughout the past year President Richard Brodhead consulted regularly with the trustees and has had our continuing support. He made considered and thoughtful decisions in a volatile and uncertain situation. Each step of the way, the board agreed with the principles that he established and the actions he took. As we look back and with the benefit of what we now know there is no question that there are some things that might have been done differently. However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board.

In closing, we express our relief for today's outcome and recognize the character that our three students, their teammates and all of their families have shown over the past year. Furthermore, we hope that the resolution of this unfair, divisive and painful episode can serve to unite us all. There is much to learn from the events that we have lived through, and we intend to put this learning to use. Duke is a great university that steps up to challenges and opportunities, and together we will use this moment to make our community stronger.

Robert K. Steel, Chair, Duke University Board of Trustees
Interesting that there is a ringing defense of Brodhead but nothing about the Duke faculty.

UPDATE: Don't miss KC Johnson today.
Quote of the Day:
"However far the stream flows, it never forgets its source."
~ Nigerian Proverb

Song of the Day:
Nik Kershaw, "Wouldn't It Be Good"

Happy Birthday:
David Cassidy
Tom Clancy
Claire Danes
Andy Garcia
Vince Gill
David Letterman

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

THE IRS gets the "Girls Gone Wild" guy.
FRED THOMPSON has lymphoma, but I'm not all that worried about his virility, because he also has a four-month-old son!
"'MOST E-MAILED LIST' Tearing New York Times' Newsroom Apart":

Nagourney, currently stuck covering Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Minnesota, said he's been trying to make his stories more e-mail-friendly. But so far, success has eluded him.

"I thought my Elizabeth Edwards breast cancer article the other week had a great chance, as it was at the intersection of politics, health, death, and family—and had the word 'breast' in the headline—but it didn't even make the top 10," Nagourney said. "Whatever."
It's a joke, but there's probably a kernel of truth there.
THE DUKE LACROSSE case appears to be headed to some kind of a resolution. KC Johnson will continue to have news and analysis.

UPDATE: Prosecutors have dropped all the charges:

"There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a damning assessment of Durham County District Mike Nifong's handling of the sensational case.

Cooper, who took over the case in January after Nifong was charged with ethics violations that could get him disbarred, said his own investigation "led us to the conclusion that no attack occurred."

"I think a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people," Cooper said. "I think those people ought to consider doing that."
Here's video. And the accuser's name is splashed across the Drudge Report.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

WORLD FAMOUS violinist plays in D.C. Metro station as the oblivious crowd rushes by.

More commentary here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Song of the Day:
The Tubes, "She's A Beauty"

Happy Birthday:
Hugh Hefner
Cynthia Nixon
Dennis Quaid
I'M SURPRISED this story hasn't gotten more attention. If it's anti-Semitic to stand up during the Hallelujah chorus, what can we say about Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell the next time they appear on Imus's show?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

IS HANDEL'S "Messiah" anti-Semitic? Michael Marissen makes the case in the NYT and sanctimoniously concludes that "Listeners might do well to ponder exactly what it means when, in keeping with tradition, they stand during the 'Hallelujah' chorus."

I'd be interested in reading other scholars' opinions on the budding controversy, but I'm totally underwhelmed by this argument of Marissen's:

Handel’s music makes its own contribution to the troubling theological message here. The mood of the “Hallelujah” chorus is over-the-top triumph. For the first time in “Messiah” trumpets and drums are used together [in the 'Hallelujah' chorus], although they would have been appropriate or welcome at several earlier places.
Huh? That seems almost laughably subjective.
AN IMPRESSIVE college prank.
Quote of the Day:
"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
~ Linus Pauling

Song of the Day:
Michael Bublé, "Everything"

Happy Birthday:
Patricia Arquette
Betty Ford
Mary Pickford
A BRITISH WRITER went undercover as a model/saleperson at Abercrombie & Fitch's London store. He found it "so dark, customers get lost and panic." And it's obsessed with projecting an image through its staff:

I tried out the tagline. "Hello, how are you," I said to a stressed looking middle-aged man. He looked at me suspiciously. More customers came into view and I repeated the line. Then a manager told me to keep "interacting".

"I am, I've spoken to everyone here".

"Yeah, but if you've said it once to someone, follow it up when you see them again. Say 'Hi, are you still all right?'"
This is why I refuse to go back to the Birmingham Pottery Barn. I've been in twice, and each time at least three salespeople chased me around the store asking "Can I help you?" The final straw was when a woman I'd already brushed away with a polite "Just looking" came back with a perky "So, are you looking for inspiration for your home office?"

No, lady. I am killing time. If I need help, I know how to ask for it. Your repeated forced "interactions" are only making me head for the door.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

WHEN I SAW the subhead, "How Pat Robertson's Law School Is Changing America," my first thought was that the article would be about his alma mater.

I had forgotten that Pat Robertson founded a law school: Regent University School of Law (where "Law is more than a profession. It's a calling."). It's where Monica Goodling went.
I HAVE A NEW blogging gig: Legal Eagle Wedding Watch at David Lat's Above The Law! Here's my first column.

And for the benefit of the four regular readers of this blog, I'm adding ATL to the blogroll.
THERE'S AN epic battle shaping up between the makers of Splenda and Equal over Splenda's advertising claim that it's "made from sugar." That line has helped Splenda sales soar:

Equal had once dominated the market, finding its way into more than 6,000 consumer products like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, the two biggest buyers of artificial sweeteners in the world. But since Splenda was introduced in late 1999, Equal has steadily been elbowed aside and Splenda is now No. 1, with 62 percent of the market in the United States.
So is it really made from sugar?

McNeil says that the process it uses to manufacture Splenda starts with sugar, pure and simple. To make sucralose, McNeil adds three chlorine atoms that are naturally found in foods like salt and lettuce to a molecule of sucrose. The sucrose disappears in the manufacturing process, but the result — sucralose — is 600 times as sweet as ordinary table sugar. Splenda then mixes two bulking agents, dextrose and maltodextrin, into the sucralose.
It's definitely not "made of sugar." But it sounds like it's "made with sugar," and "made from sugar" doesn't really seem like too much of a stretch.

But the KC still prefers Sweet'n Low.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it."
~ Franklin P Jones

Song of the Day:
James, "Out To Get You"

Happy Birthday
Butch Cassidy
Merle Haggard
Andre Previn

Thursday, April 05, 2007

EUGENE VOLOKH reminds us that the passive voice is not always bad.