Thursday, July 26, 2007

I WON'T TAKE the time to count all the ways that this is inane, not to mention politically naïve.

Volokh Conspiracy commenters, take it away!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

JACK SHAFER argues sensibly that journalists should stop using the word "loophole":

Over the centuries, this perfectly useful term has been corrupted by rhetorical con artists to mean terrible "gaps" in the law—or in the tax code—that demand "closing." Because the legal code allows all that it does not prohibit, loophole prospectors needn't look far to discover new ones. Just find a permitted behavior in the proximity of a banned one and scream, "Eureka!"

It's a loaded, partisan word, one that implies wrongdoing and scandal where none exists, and inserting it into a political argument gives the inserter the upper hand. When loophole creeps into news stories, they start to read like editorials.
Shafer notes that the same concept applies to talk of people "skirting the law":

Like loophole, skirt is a slippery, vague, and slightly accusatory word. But why should we think of it that way? By definition, anybody who skirts a law is still in compliance with it.
Sounds like a lawyer talking!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SO, I DECIDED to check out Facebook. I'd heard of it, of course, but I'd assumed it was pretty much the same as MySpace -- plastered with pixie dust and prancing unicorns -- and I wasn't interested.

But I like Facebook; it's cleaner than MySpace and has a much classier feel. And Slate said recently that it has the "potential to devour the whole Internet." Gotta get on that bandwagon!

Of course, I'm a big-time geezer by Facebook standards. The few "friends" I've been able to round up consist mainly of my college-age relatives, and I detected a whiff of reluctance in my little brother's response to my friend request. (He has a few hundred friends; I have eight.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"The happiest is the person who suffers the least pain; the most miserable who enjoys the least pleasure."
~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

Song of the Day:
KT Tunstall, "Suddenly I See"

Happy Birthday:
Corey Feldman
Will Ferrell
Ginger Rogers
Barry Sanders
NIXON BUFFS will not want to miss this newly released memo, in which RN complains to chief of staff H.R. Haldeman that the White House staff isn't doing a good enough job conveying his presidential "warmth."

All the RN tics are there -- the references to himself in the third person, the bad-mouthing of his predecessors (particularly JFK), the preoccupation with his image in the press despite his protestations that they'll never treat him fairly, the dancing around what exactly it is he wants his staff to do:

Here's a taste:
There are innumberable examples of warm items -- the way we have gone far beyond any previous President in this century in breaking our backs to be nicey-nice to the Cabinet, staff, the Congress, etc., around Christmastime . . . [Nixon lists his own good deeds at great length.]

All of this must be handled subtly and under no circumstances am I going to sit down with anybody and start telling them all the good deeds I have done. Again, such things, to be believable, have to be discivered, and one of the great factors that should be emphasized is that the President does not brag about all the good things he does for people.
H.R. Haldeman had one of the toughest jobs in history.
SOME NOTES from the KC:

- I went on a fun trip to Tuscaloosa last week that featured a tour of the University of Alabama football facilities, plus lunch at Dreamland. Huge thanks to Thad Turnipseed for the amazing tour!

- I've achieved blogging nirvana: A comment of mine was mentioned by Bob Wright on! (And fittingly, I'm identified as a Kaus groupie.)

- I guest-blogged at Above the Law again a few times over the past two weeks. (There are also recent Legal Eagle Wedding Watches here, here, and here.) That only partially explains my non-blogging here, though -- read on for another reason.

- The home-ownership thing looks like it's going to happen. Very exciting! It's like someone's drawn back the curtain on an alternate universe where paint and bath fixtures become endlessly fascinating.

- I'm thinking of enabling comments here at the KC. This endeavor will require some assistance from our technical support division, which is currently swamped with requests. But stay tuned.