Saturday, May 10, 2003

In response to my record three question emails on the matter: I don't do comments because -- surprise! -- Blogger has a heart attack when I try. I have tried three different comments engines, with the following results:

Try One: No Comments link ever appears. I can code HTML in my sleep, but no Comments link ever appears.

Try Two: My entire page becomes FUBAR. Text is multiple sizes (none of them correct), links don't work... AND I don't have a comments link.

Try Three: I got a comments link, but it wouldn't display a comments box, no matter what I did. And, every time I added a new post, it would screw up my archives, and make links nonfunctional. But at least the Comments link appeared, right?

It's not that I don't care... well, really, I don't. But that's not why there will not be a comments box on my page any time soon. If it is indeed senseless to fear that which you cannot avoid, it is a special variety of insanity to fight that which you cannot conquer.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Great. According to this, I have Asperger's Syndrome.

I don't mean to make light; I know someone who does indeed have that condition. But that's part of why this test hits me as screwy.
Damn good question.

(Mild disclaimer: I'm not sure I'm comfortable, yet, with the incorporation doctrine. There's the federalism problem; but I lost that battle decades before I was born.)
Josh Claybourn and Ben Domenech have takes on John Derbyshire's foray into "Metropolitan Conservatism" (you know our side is at least treading water if we can waste time arguing about things like this).

Like the parenthetical suggests, I think this is a bit overwrought, and I think Derbyshire is... off. But then again, with Dreher gone, NR had to find someone to say silly things like this, right?

UPDATE: Derb has the best response reasonably possible here. (Best line: "I personally think that people like that should be rounded up and dumped on some island at the further extremity of the Aleutian chain, to survive as best they can on walrus blubber and seagull eggs.") Folks, this is silly even by crunchy-con debate standards. Let it go. Derbyshire is actually a big fan of the literal creationists. And some of the commentary on this is way overheated.

(Oh, yeah, I'm one to cast stones at overheated commentators.)

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Rod Dreher is chiming in on Mr. Claybourn's comments section in the link above, and doing yeoman's work, even if he hasn't, for some reason, learned how to indicate where and to whom his replies are going.
This is so stupid that it Fisks itself.

The hat tip goes to Megan McArdle, who does the hard work so we don't have to.
This one's dedicated to Jimmy.


See what I mean about Eve Tushnet making me feel stupid? And she's not even a lawyer (that's a plus, to my mind, in this sort of discussion -- you're not carrying the emotional baggage of three years of ego puffery in law school into every debate). Start here and scroll down. She's especially right about this:

a) The Court not only follows the tide. It pulls the tide. The Court's decisions affect social movements--obviously, or social movements wouldn't always be trying to fight their battles in the courts!--and can add prestige and respectability to one side or another. The Court helps create the tide, and shouldn't present itself as a passive bit of flotsam.

b) Those social movements turn to the courts often because they have failed to win enough, or fast enough, victories in the legislature. That in itself seems to show that the tide has not necessarily turned, and that the movement's future is still uncertain.

c) Tides turn back. Cf. welfare reform as vs. the welfare-rights movement (which appeared to be gaining steam throughout the 1970s); the unpredictable political effects of America's periodic religious revivals and "awakenings"; the surge of pro-life beliefs among young people. This can either be a Justice Janis impetus to "get it while you can"--make as many controversial rulings as you can get away with before the tide turns against you--or as a call to a degree of humility about one's own ability to predict the effects of technological development, political pressure, and a country of restless souls.

and d) If these practical concerns (you can't always tell what History will say) are the only barriers to C-judging, the Court really is just a philosophical tribunal that refers to the Constitution as a kind of sacred hidden totem, useful for conferring legitimacy but not constraining upon Court decisions in any major way.
Simple, elegant, and considerably smarter than anything Balkin has written that I've read.

UPDATE: Eve's permalinks aren't working, so just go here and scroll down.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Thanks much to Paul Cella for indirectly pointing me to this (scroll down, permalinks not working) from some fellow who didn't have the good grace to forward his diatribe to me, about my ramblings on whether or not conservatives can be optimists (now updated to include all replies of which I'm aware). I replied in his comments section, but if you're too lazy (or if comments are non-functional when you get there), then here's what I said:



I should point out that while I stand by everything I wrote, you selected what I wrote mildly out of context. I was using Reagan as part of a larger exegesis on whether or not conservatives can be optimists. I wasn''t stating that Reagan was good (merely) because he gave so much of America a lift from (Carter''s) malaise.

Third, I don''t seem to remember saying anything about "hating the Russians and wanting war, which was fundamental to Reagan''s supposed revival of ''patriotism.''" I just re-read the piece, and I still can''t find it. Could you kindly direct me to that?

Fourth, Carter actually threw his hands up and accepted the reality of a foreign power that slaughtered tens of millions, tortured millions more, and enslaved, worked to death, and brutalized millions more. If that''s admirable, then we truly are coming from different perspectives here. (Would FDR have been great for doing the same in 1941? Just wondering.)

Finally, I''m sorry about your "predjudice," but you''re quite incorrect: I do not doubt that there are liberal, left-wing, far right-wing, etc., Americans, and that they are part of the same nation and society as I am. I do not doubt that they are as fully American as I, and disturbing as I find it, I do not doubt that (the vast majority anyway) most do and advocate what they do because they believe in America, and American ideals. Unlike liberals, I believe it''s possible to have different policy perspectives without a Zoroastrian clash of light and dark.

Paul Cella said quite well the rest of what I would say on that.

Oh, David: Little con-blog would like examples other than breaking the ATC union, please, of leg-kicking. Little con-blog is in fact quite taken with many of the social protests -- as Reagan was -- of the civil rights movement. Little con-blog is not taken with the anarchy of the late sixties, nor of the malaise of the 1970s. Little con-blog is not taken with an American president who could say, in 1979, "This is as far as we go, folks. It was fun, b[ut] we should just resign ourselves to losing now." Little con-blog is -- to use your side''s terminology -- on the winning side of History on this one.
Now, I did say that I wanted to go to war with the Soviets for shooting down a Korean airliner full of unarmed innocents; but I don't remember hating anyone in that passage, with the exception of Carter (and he's just a suckup to tyrants).
Without Supreme Courts, where would we get our grim humor?

Angering both sides of the abortion debate, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a fetus is a body part, akin to teeth, skin and hair that are eventually shed.

The ruling unanimously upheld the conviction of a man who tried to induce a miscarriage by slipping his girlfriend labor-inducing drugs. Edwin Sandoval argued he could not be charged with attempting to commit aggravated assault because the fetus was the target, not the mother.

Though the court held that the 5-week-old fetus was part of the woman's body, Chief Justice William J. Sullivan issued a separate concurring opinion saying a fetus might have "its own independent existence."
This is so terribly, profoundly stupid as to make you think every member of every judiciary in the nation should be forced to take, and pass, two years of elementary microbiology ("Class, no body part has different DNA from any other") before being allowed to sit on a bench. And that doesn't even touch on the stupidity of calling a child a body part.

There was a good point at the end of this, though:

Defense attorney Paula Waite said if the fetus is its own life form, the state's abortion laws are in question. If the fetus is a body part, laws increasing the penalty for assaulting a pregnant woman could be jeopardized.
Kinda points out what a silly balancing act we're doing now, doncha think?

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Awesome TNR article on the changing view of integration in the X-Men books. Part of why I stopped reading the things. (I was always a bigger Spidey fan anyway, and I'm one of three human males who thinks Cyclops is cooler than Wolverine.)

Two quibbles:

* With reference to Magneto fooling around with Rogue: Wouldn't you?

* I'd say the downfall actually started just after Wolverine lost his adamantium -- the battle that led to that was the last assault of the good guys on the Separatists that made Xavier's dream seem like the rational one. That would be, what, 1993? X-Men seemed pretty clear-cut in the 1980s, to me. (With the exception of the Fantastic Four v. X-Men series, but that was so staged, anyway, even if the art was fantastic.)

God, I'm a nerd.

(Hat tip: Ben Domenech.)
In the interest of fairness, here's the very last of my Santorum-related posts: Arthur Silber says that if you're in favor of sodomy laws, you're a Klansman without the good sense to know it makes a long post about his travails with his sexual orientation, and why Santorum is wrong on every level.

That's it, I'm done. I don't care what anyone sticks anywhere, so long as everyone sticking and being stuck consents (and is able to consent), for at least the next few months. I doubt most Americans will remember, or care. Have fun, Libertoids, with this great trauma on your collective soul; stack it with those deadly, ever-present, fascist steel tariffs, and while we're at it, blame Bush for the Patriot Act that some other branch of the Government helped put in place (and sunsetted). Being a fringe ideological group has its perks, doesn't it?

(Hat Tip: Eve Tushnet, who still makes me feel stupid whenever I read her blog.)
Remember everyone: Men are inherently violent and stupid, women are inherently loving and nurturing.
Memo to Trial Lawyers Who Give to the Edwards Campaign

From: A Fellow Trial Lawyer

RE: Ethics

Guys and gals: You aren't doing yourselves, the Plaintiff's Bar, the ATLA, the profession, or the Edwards campaign any favors by pulling poop like this.

And, in case that doesn't turn your rocks, I'd like to remind you that you are under an ethical obligation to comport with the laws of this nation, and to hold yourself out as being beyond reproach. This... falls short of the mark.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Seriously, this is good and fair: If each album costs $12 or so, and there are twelve or so tracks, why not charge $1 per track? I'll pay in a heartbeat. (And it'll eventually make it easier to find guilty pleasures like Rhythm of the Night -- try finding that outside a "Music of Miami Vice" sountrack. And those went off the shelves in, oh, 1990.)

UPDATE: Jimmy has a counterpoint:

ok, here's where i'm going with this. now we have online sales. online sales means that costs have just dropped like a frenchman's gun in battle. a whole fucking dollar PER SONG???? you gotta be kidding me. so let's say you wanted to download the whole matrix CD. 19 different songs on it. so that's $19. so you're paying the same as retail. you aren't getting anything MORE. at that cost you might as well buy the fucking CD so that's it's pre-burned onto a CD for a CD-player. you can always just rip the songs off the CD if you want them for MP3 players. you get the booklet in the CD which probabaly has lyrics or cool pics. and by buying it online, you just saved the company shipping, materials, and slew of other costs. you're paying the same amount of money yet getting nothing MORE in return. the only person making off like a bandit in this is the record company.
As I mentioned to him in a reply email, that:

I can't really speak to the end of that rant, but very briefly:

Why I find it acceptable is this: I almost never want every song on an album. A lot of the songs I like are hard to find -- remember the Transformers soundtrack before Rhino got in on the game? -- and if you can database all of those songs, I'll only have to pay $1 for a song I want and can burn away on at will.

Yes, I know, that's a lot -- except it's not. It's a [bleep]ing dollar. It's a dollar to cover the broadband cost, the server space, the license fee (screwy, but legal, and indeed, legally required), and the record companies' cut (yes, they're evil, but they're just capitalists, and I want them to keep putting out music).

So I won't end up paying the same as on an album. I'll pay for a single song. I'll get "She Bop" (shiver) for the wife without hassle, and the Demolition Man soundtrack version of Demolition Man without buying the whole, [bigoted sexuality remark] album. If I want a whole album, I'll buy that, then rip it.
This is not to negate his rather obvious point: We're still paying too much for the music. True. But we can drive cost structures down, even within this market arrangement (which smells suspiciously like a cartel arrangement to me) with online services and other media. (Query: How many other industries, when faced with a market signal that they're charging too much -- i.e., millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens take product from them on a regular basis -- respond by turning around and yelling that it's the customers' fault?)

Jimmy has a good point. But I find $1 a good cost-benefit meeting point.
I have no idea how to evaluate this.
As a Texan (yet as an American), I feel only mildly guilty about not saying something yesterday about Beat Up a Frenchman Day.

I would like to point out, however, that March 6th is either Beat Up a Mexican Day, Spit on Santa Anna Day, or, arguably my favorite, Thank a Vaquero Day. Missed it this time around, but it's worth noting for next year.

Monday, May 05, 2003


Oh, golly, he sucked, didn't he? Most wins for the franchise, got a team that was hobbled as often as not into the playoffs, and this close to home-court, won when they had no home...

Tightfisted morons. This'll bite you in the butt next year, I promise.
This is so cool:



Do you get it? The Nigerian scam artists are branching out!! They're adapting, like marketing Borg.