Friday, December 31, 2004

When to Revote?
Jim Lindgren at Volokh is urging Rossi to stop calling for a revote in Washington State. To him it is a sign of a lack of class. As he says, "there should be a limit to one man's ambition." This isn't solely about ambition - it is about dirty election tactis. So when are dirty election tactics sufficient enough to urge a revote and not be "classless"? My guess is when it is clear that the party you support will win that revote.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Something Fishy In Washington State
First the Republican wins the Governor Race. Then there is a recount - and he wins by 42 votes again. Then another recount in King County, Seattle - Democrat now wins by 10 votes. Then votes are "discovered" that had been overlooked - dem wins by 130 votes.

Seem odd? Read this.

Anyway, a recount should not be justified on the guise of counting every ballot, because you can never do so with complete certainity. Rather, it has to be justified on counting every ballot more accurately than the previous count. As the risks for corruption, ballot theft/alteration increase with each counting, eventually this justification becomes moot after a certain number of counts. How many counts? That is the big question.
You Call This Journalism?
Summation of Controversy: Op-ed writer for minor paper criticizes prominent blog for being a partisan hack page without oversight. When editor called about dozens of substantial errors in article, its revealed that the piece involved only opinion, no fact, and as such any errors are irrelevant.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

,Oh $#@%#$%!
This will make your day:
MORE to worry about: "So, in summary, there's a 1-in-233 chance of the worst disaster in recorded history happening on April 13, 2029, and a 232-in-233 chance of nothing happening. Have a nice day!"

Related thoughts here.

UPDATE: Uh-oh. The risk is now upgraded to 1/62.5, with a Torino scale of 4. (Via Liberty's Blog). This is moving out of the "isn't that interesting" range, and into the "isn't that worrisome" range.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The risk has been upgraded again, to 1 in 42.

MY UPDATE - Well the odds are now at 1 in 45. You can check yourself here. We'll know one way or another in the next few weeks whether this thing will hit. If it does, it will be a one and a half GIGATON blast (that is 30 times more powerful than any nuclear weapon ever detonated). So what does this mean? Obviously, if you are under the thing, you aren't going to make it. I've been trying to hunt down the formula for a blast radius. Two things I think I know at this point - as explosive power goes up, the radius of the blast does not go up as fast. I saw on the web that a Gig bomb would be about 190 mile blast radius, so I'll hedge for now and assume about a 210 mile radius. Also, there could be a difference if it explodes in the air (airburst) or on the ground. This isn't my field, I'm just trying to figure things out.

UPDATE - New data has made the risk neglible. Thank Goodness.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Regarding Phoebe's Post
Funny stuff. I remember growing up with the words of Robin Morgan's ilk held as a model to live by my summer camps. Years later, all I can say about it is - - - - blah.

Seriously, end of the world alarmism only works for so long. You'll often hear progressives bemoaning a climate of fear that has been irresponsibly foisted on us after 9/11, reminiscent of Nazi Germany, that is designed on purpose to keep us scared, dumb, and voting Republican. While one could reasonably agree with the general direction of the complaint (as opposed to its degree), you rarely see mention in the main stream media of a countering irresponsible climate of fear that is designed to keep us scared, dumb, and voting democrat. Fear of "The Day After Tomorrow," of coathangers in lieu of Roe v. Wade, of Grannie without her social security, of 45 million without health care, etc. If progressives bemoan one climate of fear, then how come they don't bemoan the other? Maybe because what they dislike isn't "the climate of fear" - maybe it is the Republican voting. Just a thought.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

in the interest of responsible advertising.....
reconstructionist feminist theory, elliot? i find this just a tad odd (but not bad odd, of course) that you should list this painfully *dated* area of scholarship as one of the primary subjects of perusal on the fladen experience. i have yet to read even *one* post on this blog that does justice to this relic of times gone by....

in fact, elliot, in the interest of responsible adertising, and of compassionate conservatism in this time of grief for our country's lost and wounded soldiers serving us bravely in the rugged hinterlands of iraq, i would humbly urge all fladenites (and all blogosphere residents, for that matter) to save discussion of this curio of a bygone age, the "reconstructionist feminist theory" to which this blog's banner alludes, until *after* the revolution, and then only in tightly knit and responsibly controlled academic circles.

"what revolution?" you might ask...

and in these dark times (on this i can come clean) your question is a fair one. the late 1960's are fully 35 years ago. But its memory, for better or worse, sputters on. A decade that was first vilified, then forgotten, then excused, and finally exonerated and made into the object of a thousand masturbations... our collective cultural musings on this era have run their course.

i write not to praise the naive excesses of such an age but to bury them in the sands of history, to lay gently to rest 35 years of recent history, and the tired rhetorical flourishes we have inherited from the peace movement, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the racialist movement the LSD movement and innumerable other movements that moved only minds but did not move them far enough for long enough to avoid imperceptibly slow deaths.... and the texture and fabric of the country was altered, a nearly-chemical change as if heavy molten metals spattering in an enormous crucible leagues below the earth's surface had bubbled up and left the boomers with their vapors that wafted ever so seditiously into their unsuspecting noses) and their children the x'ers (harried and sadistic) forgot forever what it was like to crouch humbly by a campfire (at night a hearth) thanking the gods for existence and for the world and all your fellows, and to expect that someday... someday it would all get better than it ever actually was or could be..........


in the spirit of *giving* and holiday *cheer* in our country's time of *remembrance* and *sacrifice* (even *deja vu* perhaps???) i shall type a few of my favorite passages from one of my favorite advocates of today's initial whipping boy, reconstructionist feminist theory.

From Robin Morgan, The Word of a Woman, "The Wretched of the Hearth."

on putting out...

"As for the myth of the sexual revolution: there is no such thing yet - for women. The double standard exists more powerfully and hypocritically than ever, among radicals and hippies as well as straights. A sexually free woman is still a lay guys can exchange stories about, while a woman who might not "want to" is considered hung-up: she has the pill, so what's stopping her? (Conceivably, a sense of distaste)."

on the war of all against all

"Humankind has polluted the air and water and land of our planet; we have all but destroyed ourselves by the twin suicidal weapons of overkill and overbreeding. The famine is upon us, the cities are in flames, our sisters and brothers all oer the world are locked in a struggle with the dragon that is imperialism. It is for us in America, the dragon's lair, to put every priority of oppression first, to fight on every front for human dignity, to vurn our way out of the dragon's gut while our comrades hack away at its scaly exterior, until the beast is dead, and we rise in joy, a woman and a man, phoenix from its ashes."

on being a psycho bitch from hell

"Let it all hang out. Let it seem bitchy, catty, dykey, frustrated, crazy, nutty, frigid, ridiculous, bitter, embarrassing, man-hating, libelous, pure, unfair, envious, intuitive, low-down, stupid, petty, liberating. We are the women that men have warned us about."

what the one witch whispered to the other witch

Whisper One: All your betrayals of me, my dear, are somehow payments against what we both fear and never speak of: mine.

Whisper Two: Freiendship is mutual blackmail elevated to the level of love.

Whisper Three: We may as well trust each other. They're going to try to burn us anyway.

Merry Christmas, and Good Tidings to All.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

holiday haiku for high rollers

bitter cold outside;
suede booties (in dusty rose)
kiss pedicured toes.

drinking hot toddies
after a day on the slopes
makes for warm bodies.

the limo driver,
he used to live in niger.
he's got an accent.

here is some champagne.
or maybe you'd like coffee?
come give mom a hug.

we like to go shop;
it passes the time away.
then we go get drunk.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Kinsley Gets Fisked
One of the best policy fiskings I have seen in a while. A little bit ago, Kinsley issued a challenge in the LA Times and on Andrew Sullivan's blog to refute a theory of his that Social Security Privatization could not work. Luskin took him up on it, and demolished Kinsley's theory. Excellent, excellent reading for policy wonks.
Well, life continues. My first amendment exam came and went - I overstudied, which probably hurt me. Yesterday I continued writing on my paper. A little bit of background about it: I'm writing about how to calculate interest in the event that reparations for slavery are ever implemented. Not an easy question - first off, do you imply compound or simple interest; constant, annual, or continuous compounding. More importantly, what is the proper interest rate to discount over time - the arithmetic mean or the geometric mean? And the mean of what - the long term bond rate since 1865, the actual rates of interest that the market ended up bearing over the last 140 or so years, or some different rate altogether? Should there even be interest, or should it be a constant or gradually declining balance?

That should give those of you who still read this blog why I have not been posting - I've been phenomonally busy researching and writing this thing. I guess I could make a post on the news as of late, but I don't care for Kerrick's love trysts, and Bush's reiteration of putting a man on Mars makes me feel nauseous. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Blogging Schedule
Due to an upcoming exam on first ammend I will not blogging again until friday night at the earliest. I will then have two papers two write over my Christmas Break - a 30 pager on Raich v. Ashcroft, and a 50 pager on how to calculate the proper interest rate for slave reparations - but these papers should not prevent me from blogging.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Why Aren't There More Repubs in the Academy?
Here is a hint - its not because there aren't enough overly qualified candidates.
China on Verge of Catching US. Then What?
Business Week has an interesting stat - assuming that current rates of economic growth continue (big assumption, but assume it anyway), guess how long it will be until China catches the United States? Answer - 10 years. And you know what else, India is probably right around there as well.

So let's say China does catch us in the near future. Then what on the international stage? Will we see the return of the multi-polar world, with India, China, and the U.S. as the main fulcrums and Europe twisting in the winds on the sidelines (ironically, given France's and Germany's repeated desire to become bigger players through a larger United Nations)? How would our policy aims differ? How can these nations become more our partners with their increased strength?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Only Three-and-a-half Months
Yuschenko, the opposition candidate for Ukraine, was given a poison that destroyed his face. Take a look at how effective it was in these two pictures.
Pro-Choice, Anti-Roe v. Wade
New blog of leftist professors trying to understand red-america has a post on the argument here.
James Taronto argues why the death of Roe would be terrible for Republicans here.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Updates and Life
I haven't posted for the last week because I was in the middle of getting ready for my Advocacy Skills trial. Did I do a good job? Yes. I hammered the witness in my cross, had a pretty good direct, and made a mostly good closing argument. It just wasn't enough - the two opposing counsel, Leah Vickers and particularly Aaron Thacker were just two damn good.

Anyway, earlier this week was the Raich case as I posted. I have been incredibly disillusioned since the arguments came down, and I am hoping for a 5-4 split in the respondent's favor with O'Connor, Ginsburg, Thomas, Rehnquist, and Kennedy voting for affirmance and Stevens, Souter, Scalia, and that other guy (yep I forgot, sue me) voting for reversal. Its a long shot as Kennedy seemed highly skeptical of the argument, and O'Connor/Rehnquist have always been very law and order (viewing the war on drugs as a matter of national concern). I have very little faith for the court to do its duty and use its powers of persuasion to limit congress to its enumerated powers.

Finally, its about time Butch Davis is out of the Browns. A coach that won't share credit for success and always looks for scapegoats for failure is doomed to failure. To squash threats emenating from losing seasons, Davis never minded serving up his coordinators on silver platters. As for the talent situation on the Browns, Davis was hired for his ability to recognize talent, and his connections to the players that were coming up the college pipeline in the next few drafts. Yet, his choices have been less than inspiring, and the browns remain one of the least talented teams in the league. Worse still, often talented players would be run off because Davis perceived them as threats to control of the clubhouse. When they brought veteran personal man Tom Wolfe aboard, Davis perceived that as well to be a threat to his rule as opposed to an opportunity to win and had him purged. Ultimately, the biggest threat to Davis was his own incompetance.

Well, those are my random thoughts. Finals are upon me, and I have work to do, but you will see more posting in the next few days - it will just be sparse.