This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Saturday, April 05, 2003


We're starting Affirmative Action discussions in Con Law this week.  Given that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the Michigan affirmative action case last week, I thought I'd throw some of the notes I jotted during last class' discussion. For what it's worth, , at least it's really condensed.

Is Equal Opportunity education possible?

- "Predisposition to self segregate" might only be a white excuse for why their neighborhoods are homogenous.  On the other hand, can you calculate the level of mistrust among minorities if a non-minority moves into their relatively exclusive neighborhood?

- A completely integrated educational system will effectively reduce the perceptions of differences in race, but to the effect of cultural homogenization.  Furthermore, you put those students who can most benefit from a quality education at a disadvantage by taxing the system with the responsibility of bringing those students who had long been at a disadvantage to a level of competitive equality.

Tori Wants Your Help On Her "Taxi Ride" Tori Amos is looking for help making her music video for her single "Taxi Ride": Epic Records, in partnership with...

This Message Brought To You By The State Of Florida... And God Plastic::Politics::Aids: Florida's Department of Health is distributing a brochure on "The Christian Response to AIDS." Take a wild guess what the ACLU thinks of that.

BAD NEWS AND GOOD NEWS. First the bad news: the Martin Savidge quote that everyone was excited about turns out to be a hoax. Now the good news: before he found out, Joe Katzman wrote this post. Which, together with the comments, is damned good.

So, as usual, is this news and background roundup from Winds of Change.

UPDATE: Check out Defense Tech, too.

Bush Executive Order on SARS quarantine CNN is reporting that President Bush has signed an Executive Order adding SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - to the list of diseases for which a person can be quarantined under federal law. The actual Order is not yet online from the White House, but should shortly be available here.

Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Charge Against SFPD Commanders We are disappointed today in a San Francisco Judge's dismissal of conspiracy charges against five police commanders in the city's...

Blawgs At The ABA TechShow

Rick, you went above and beyond covering yesterday's TechShow! Check out his several posts covering the talk given by Tom Mighell and Sabrina Pacifici on "Online Communities?From Bulletin Boards to Blogs." Rick doesn't get to take five just yet; he'll be presenting on two topics today at the show: emerging technologies and marketing your practice on the Internet. (Don't miss Rick and Ernie in this month's ABA Journal in an article by Jason Krause on cell phones; anyone have the link?)

WTC bombing conviction upheld WTC bombing conviction upheld
Atlanta Journal Constitution - A federal appeals court Friday upheld the convictions of the man who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plotted to blow up a dozen US jumbo jets over the Far East.

Kerry's call for "regime change" (4/5)

By Bryan Keefer

On Tuesday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) made this inflammatory statement: "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States." While Kerry went on to argue that "it will take a new president of the United States, declaring a new day for our relationship with the world, to clear the air and turn a new page on American history," his explicit rhetorical parallel between President Bush and Saddam Hussein is particularly nasty. The phrase "regime change" has been used almost exclusively in the public discourse to describe the U.S. effort to remove Saddam from power and thus carries a connotation that the regime is question is illegitimate and fundamentally evil. Leveraging these associations as an applause line is a cheap shot that undermines rational debate.

In response, however, the Republican National Committee has promulgated some spin of its own. An email [136K PDF] to supporters over the signature of Deputy Chairman Jack Oliver claimed that "These [Kerry's] comments are just the latest example of Democrat leaders blaming America first . . . Joe Lieberman called President Bush a 'greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein.'"

Lieberman, however, said no such thing. On February 27, Lieberman stated at a campaign stop that "When more people around the world see the current American president as a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein, then you know something is really wrong with his foreign policy." Clearly, Lieberman was making reference to world opinion - not stating that Bush is such a threat. The RNC email strips Lieberman's quote of any context in an utterly dishonest attack. It remains to be seen if this misquotation becomes another media myth.

[Email this to a friend] [Subscribe to our email list]

Related links:
-Spinsanity on terrorist labels and Taliban comparisons
-Trashing Patrick Leahy (Brendan Nyhan, 4/19/02)

[via Spinsanity]

Man sentenced for deaths of 14 in Arizona desert - Sat Apr 5, 10:34 am GMT
Miami man convicted of 5 Bronx slayings sentenced to life in prison - Sat Apr 5, 11:21 am GMT
Blair 'prevented war after 9/11' - Fri Apr 4, 03:50 am GMT
War Support Solid, Optimism Grows - Fri Apr 4, 02:29 pm GMT
Kerry Accuses GOP of 'Fake Patriotism' in Flap - Sat Apr 5, 12:01 pm GMT
Top journalists examine civil rights era - Sat Apr 5, 10:15 am GMT
Journalists reveal they are government agents - Sat Apr 5, 10:34 am GMT

Friday, April 04, 2003

DRAFT THE RICH? Blogistan is in love with this Wall Street Journal oped by the Cambridge parent of a young...
[via TAPPED]

CIA: Saddam tapes faked U.S. intelligence analysis determines tapes shown on Iraqi TV of Saddam Hussein were made before the war started, CNN has learned. Story developing. Interesting, to say the least....

Is Bush working for bin Laden? Speculation on a possible fifth column in the Oval Office.

Chuck Hansen, Nuclear Historian, 1947-2003 Plastic::SciTech::History: Hansen's collection of declassified documents regarding nuclear technology will go to George Washington University's National Security Archive.

Weblogs and the Emergence of a Global Civil Society

Posted by The Happy Tutor

The Second Great Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head, by Jim Moore, of The Berkman Center at Harvard, could be the Cluetrain for politically engaged or civic minded bloggers. Dave Winer's work on Harvard Weblogs is bearing interesting fruit. Since the second superpower will never have nukes, or elected international officials (not any time soon), perhaps it would make more sense to think of ourselves as the beginning of an international civil society. Harvard has the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Management. Dave or Jim, could you get their students and faculty to join this discussion of the role of weblogging and civil society? Wouldn't be fair, though, because we amateurs would be up against the pros. Probably would make us do homework. 

Big-ass "colossal" virus A "giant virus" has been discovered in a British water-tower.
The virus is so large that at first researchers mistook it for bacteria. Most viruses can only be seen with electron microscopes but this one was spotted through a high quality optical microscope...

Mimivirus has at least 900 genes, an enormous figure for a virus. The team compared its genes to other viruses and found it is related to other large viruses, such as smallpox.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Lupo!)


Okay, finally somebody picks up on the Time magazine blurb of how Castro, an evil dictator with probable access to weapons of mass destruction... or the technology to develop it, is rounding up dissidents and "evildoing" in broad daylight.

Also, Oliver Stone was seen palling around with the evil dictator in his new HBO documentary: "Taunt the Cuban exiles living on American Soil by Showing the Man Who Exiled Them Clowning Around with a Self-Interested Vietnam Burnout Druggie."

I only see Bush going after evil linked to oil.

DAVID CARR NOTES CASTRO'S CRACKDOWN ON DISSIDENTS and suggests that it's evidence that the Castro regime is worried:

When governments start incarcerating their political opponents for life, it is because they are frightened and deeply worried and usually with good reason. I suspect the game is nearly up.

I hope he's right. He also adds:

And, just as an aside, doesn't this show up the juvenile, publicity-seeking, egocentrism of the 'Bush is Hitler' mob in sharp relief? While genuine freedom fighters risk their very lives by taking on 'Il Presidente', the likes of Michael Moore can pose as 'oppressed heroic victims' while being chauffeured around to their various awards ceremonies and public speaking engagements.

And saying nice things about Castro, more often than not.

April 4 - Morning legal news Recommended readings from the latest legal news: Supreme Court Splits, Allows Execution of Man Who Was 17 When He Killed Two | APIraqi lawyer's tip led to rescue of POW | USA TodayA New Push to Grant Gun Industry Immunity From Suits | New York TimesCroatian Court: Ex-Army Chief Too Ill to Receive U.

Court Refuses to Take Kids From Pot-Smoking Mom This just in from NORML : COURT SAYS MOM'S USE OF POT NOT REASON TO REMOVE KIDS Akron, OH- Smoking...

Posner on IP

Rick Klau took great notes on Judge Posner's keynote this morning at the ABA TechShow, and asked an incisive follow-up question concerning a legal system that would enforce copyright laws versus one that would seek to render them technologically incapable of violation. (Wow: Judge Posner "had not heard of Morpheus or Kazaa, but was intrigued to hear that they are incorporating offshore and building decentralized systems to be 'better' than Napster.")

Dissenting Diplomats A pre-war interview with John Brady Kiesling and John Brown shows their concerns to have been alarmingly prescient.
[via AlterNet]

Amazing video on CNN a couple of moments ago about a demonstration in Najaf (which as of a couple of hours ago was one of the most welcoming cities we have entered) against American troops.  The mob quickly formed and turned ugly when a rumor emerged that US troops were planning to enter some holy site in the city. 

Mozilla to be Replaced by Phoenix, Thunderbird Mozilla to be Replaced by Phoenix, Thunderbird
BetaNews - In a new development roadmap published to its Web site, the Mozilla Organization outlined its future plans, which include a migration away from the current Mozilla suite to a leaner offshoot dubbed Phoenix

Law to Keep Priests' Cases Alive Is Signed - Fri Apr 4, 12:47 pm GMT
Man who used ``sleep driving'' defense acquitted in fatal crash - Fri Apr 4, 01:27 pm GMT
Lawmakers Avoid Criticizing Bush on War - Thu Apr 3, 06:22 pm GMT
Ex-Hacker Warns on Electronic Security - Fri Apr 4, 12:23 am GMT

Note that the price tag keeps going up...

Congress Approves $80B War Costs - Fri Apr 4, 05:20 am GMT

Binoche Finds Journalist Role Demanding - Fri Apr 4, 12:34 pm GMT
Microsoft makes Windows' changes...NYSE drops media disclosure rule - Fri Apr 4, 01:45 pm GMT
WashPost: Bush Meets Resistance On Mideast Plan - Fri Apr 4, 01:44 pm GMT

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Drudge clearing $800K a year? New in Biz2: The Secrets of Drudge Inc. How to set up a round-the-clock news site on a shoestring, bring in $3,500 a day, and still have time to lounge on the beach. Run on a shoestring, the Drudge Report,...


You have to read this b/c I really like this band.

Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights This isn?t the flavor of the week. It?s the flavor of the decade.

Intel employee, US citizen Mike Hawash detained without due process In an open letter to senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Intel SVP Steven McGeady writes:
On Thursday morning, March 20, a long-time employee of mine, Mike (Maher) Hawash, was arrested outside Intel's Hillsboro offices and taken into custody by the FBI and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. We later learned he was being "detained" as a material witness. Simultaneously, FBI agents in bulletproof vests and carrying M-16s woke Mike's wife and three children in their Hillsboro home, searched it for four hours, and presented Mrs. Hawash with a grand jury subpoena.

All of the court documents in this case are sealed. Mike was held incommunicado from his wife and attorneys for several days. When they did contact him, neither he, his attorneys, nor anyone else knows why he is being detained. Mike is a long-time U.S. citizen, originally of Palestinian birth and previously of Jordanian nationality. He has been a U.S. citizen for many years, having attended college in Texas. He worked for me at Intel on and off for 10 years. (...)

The only thing anyone can think of is that, long before 9/11/01, Mike and his wife donated to Global Relief, a once-respected international aid organization that since October 2002 has fallen into disrepute. But there is no way Mike could have known this at this time. My wife is a recently-naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Northern Ireland, another victim of terrorism. If our donations to Northern Irish aid were to be mis-directed, without our knowledge, would I have FBI agents kicking down my door? Would my wife be put into federal prison?

Read the rest of the letter here, read more about the case via The Register, Discuss (Thanks, Lisa)

FROM THE APPARENTLY NEVER-ENDING JOURNALISTIC IRONY SERIES: People are asking "how can you trust blogs when they're not Big Media?" After yesterday's fake-broadcast example, we now have a much more serious faked-photograph incident at the Los Angeles Times in which a photographer merged two photos to produce a dramatic -- and deceptive -- composite image that made it looks as if a coalition soldier was threatening a refugee and child. For shame.

Then, of course, there's this.

UPDATE: Dale Wetzel sends this link describing how a sharp-eyed Hartford Courant editor caught the fabrication.

Get Ready for PATRIOT II While war news dominates, Ashcroft is ready to batten down the homeland's hatches with a draconian list of curbs on civil liberties.
[via AlterNet]

Action Alert: Preserve Judge's Discretion in Sentencing Findlaw Columnist Edward Lazarus argues against the federal sentencing provisions that were made part of the Amber Alert bill passed...

Intel v. Hamidi Coverage (Pre-Argument)

Stories from the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and C|Net; Hamidi's Web site.

 DOCUMENTS THAT purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed ?not authentic? after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council.
       ElBaradei also rejected a key Bush administration claim ? made twice by the president in major speeches and repeated by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday ? that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors. [MSNBC Headlines]

U.S. Stocking Uranium-Rich Bombs?. Pentagon officials remain tight-lipped as weapons experts criticize what appears to be a U.S. buildup of highly potent bombs and missiles armed with depleted uranium in its preparation for a war with Iraq. By Elliot Borin. [Wired News]

Senators to Get Academy Rape Case Probe - Thu Apr 3, 06:19 am GMT
White House Revises War Message - Thu Apr 3, 01:58 pm GMT
Beijing ordered media to cover up SARS - Thu Apr 3, 01:44 pm GMT
Europe broadcasters say US limiting Iraq reporting - Thu Apr 3, 02:25 pm GMT
Middle East quartet to meet in Brussels to discuss road map to peace - Thu Apr 3, 09:41 am GMT
Mideast News: Arab TV Curtails Coverage After Move by Iraq - Thu Apr 3, 06:58 am GMT

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

DEPT. OF THINGS WE SHOULD HAVE FIGURED OUT BEFORE WE INVADED IRAQ. For years, neocon hawks like Paul Wolfowitz and...
[via TAPPED]

More on a Renaissance for Our Time
A friend asked me this morning how I found the ideas that I am attached to. Did I intuit them or do they come directly from my reading and hence have some attributable source? I had never given much conscious thought to how I think and so Jean got me going - here is my reply plus a bit more


What a good question! I start with an intuition but thankfully I am finding more and more science to back me up. I ground all my work in a hypothesis..Which is -


I think that we have been blinded from a proper understanding of nature by our manufactured modern dogma just as the medieval mind was in its own turn blinded by the dogma of its time. I believe that if we could see our nature and nature more clearly that most of our problems could be made better.


Posted because Jewel is the enemy of cool.  She had one good album (Spirit), an incredibly crappy album of poetry, and tripe upon tripe.  If she'd just stay folk, she'd retain her authenticity.  But, she had to go LeeAnn Rimes by Way of Shakira.  Pleh.

New Direction for Jewel Jewel, who was hanging in the audience on American Idol last night, has a new direction. She swings to an...

QTVR of NYC Hearings on 9/11 attacks Hans Nyberg writes: "I have a new masterpiece by the New York VR photograper Jook Leung, made yesterday at the hearing in New York about the Terrorist attacks. In this shot, the mayor of New York City is testifying." Link to fullscreen QTVR panorama, Link to 9/11 Commission website, Discuss

WOMEN IN COMBAT: Phil Carter writes:

Some have questioned the role of women in today's military. Make no mistake about it -- America's military sends its women into harm's way. Current DoD policy keeps women out of only the most direct of combat roles, such as the infantry. But in today's style of warfare, those distinctions are basically meaningless. Army Lieutenant Carrie Bruhl flies Apache helicopters deep into enemy territory, further than any American infantryman save the Special Forces. Other women fly deep combat missions in the Navy and Air Force. Female MPs fight as infantry just behind the front lines, hunting down and killing Iraqi guerilla units. America's daughters fight hard and they fight well. It's disingenuous and wrong to say that women like SPC Johnson and PFC Lynch don't belong at the front lines. They've earned the right to be there, and so far in our war, they've proven their ability to stay there.

Similarly, Virginia Postrel observes:

Reporters on Fox News Channel and MSNBC are displaying an exceedingly annoying habit of referring to Pfc. Jessica Lynch as just "Jessica" in news stories, the better to tug the viewers' paternal/maternal heartstrings. But Jessica Lynch is not the little girl who fell down the well. She is a U.S. soldier serving in harm's way. If you're old enough to be a POW, you're old enough to be referred to as "Private Lynch." Even if you're female.

I wonder if the presence of women in combat isn't, in part, responsible for increased support for this war among women.

I'M NOT FOLLOWING THE MICHIGAN AFFIRMATIVE-ACTION CASE: But The Power Line has a lot of information if you're interested.

Drug and Terror Ad Campaign Kaput The White House Drug Office has announced it is ending it's drug and terrorism advertising campaign. Now, the office will...

Here is a fear that I have been dreading for a while:  the US has become Israel.  We needed a target for our rightous indignation and thirst for revenge re: 9/11.  The long slow process of terrorist hunting wasn't enough to satisfy this need.  We didn't have Palestinians to beat up on so we manufactured them in Iraq.

The New Yorker.  Seymor Hersh.  Read it and be worried.  This line shot me to the core:

?The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements come.?

I do think we can hold out.  Americans are much tougher than many think.  It won't be pretty (given the destruction of a car full of women and children today).  But there won't be a total collapse.

Robert Hudec; pioneered study of global trade law - Wed Apr 2, 02:01 pm GMT
US and UK 'face twin terror threat' - Tue Apr 1, 11:04 pm GMT
Powell Seeks Restraints on Turkish Forces - Wed Apr 2, 11:10 am GMT
Procter & Gamble Continues To Pull Ads From News Programs - Tue Apr 1, 05:41 pm GMT
Public Relations Firms Alter Messages In Shadow Of War In Middle East - Wed Apr 2, 10:41 am GMT
U.S. Busts Iraqi Terror Cells in Mideast - Wed Apr 2, 11:57 am GMT
S. Korea to Send Troops to Middle East - Wed Apr 2, 02:02 pm GMT

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

US Supreme Court oral arguments in Michigan cases - webcast! C-SPAN Radio is now airing recorded audio of the oral arguments in the University of Michigan affirmative action admissions cases. Listen here .


So we're all clear on the fact that I'll post more than just reiterations of my perspective on stuff...


This is all part and parcel of Saddam's incestuous political and commercial relationship with the defense, business, and political elites of France that will undoubtedly be exposed after the war. As the Weekly Standard reported, Saddam threatened to expose what he saw as France's betrayal in the 1991 Gulf War, saying, "If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public."

The French fan dance with Iraq dates to the 1970s, when Chirac was the point man in selling nuclear reactors to Iraq, including the Osirak plant bombed by Israel in 1981. (The plant, incidentally, was known as the O'Chirac reactor.) It was Chirac who signed the treaty with Iraq allowing for the transfer of French nuclear technology and specialists. It was this same Chirac who lavished praise on Saddam as a "personal friend," a "great statesman," and who invited him to his home. And, yes, it was the very same Chirac who has led the French efforts to sell arms to Iraq, some $20 billion worth. Today, France remains Iraq's biggest European trading partner. Those who believe the United States went to war against Iraq inspired by oil are looking in the wrong direction. Try Paris.

Seems that Zuckerman isn't alone. David Carr has more dirt on oil money and French politics.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Affirmative Action Case - Tue Apr 1, 04:23 pm GMT
Peter Arnett gets the last word Peter Arnett has some parting comments for NBC and the U.S. new media after he was summarily fired last weekend. Here are excerpts from "This War Is Not Working": There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming...

Where does this go? Has President Bush been honest about his master plan for the Middle East?

The U.S. Military As A 'Warrior Caste' Plastic::Work::Military: Some scholars point to a developing 'warrior class' that will increasingly diverge politically and socially from society at large.

from the "we hope he was pro se" department of litigation In D.C. v. F.R., 286 N.J.Super. 589, 599, 670 A.2d 51 (App. Div. 1996), the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division addresses acts of a defendant who used pornographic photographs to coerce a minor into engaging in sex acts. As the Court noted in its first footnote addressing the pornography,In his brief, defendant contended that he had a property interest in the photographs and thus demanded their return.

U.S. Now Warns of Very High Casualties The Washington Post is reporting that an official has told reporters the U.S. is prepared for some very high casualties...

First Online-Only Law Journal Debuts

Click on over to the Santa Clara Journal of International Law, a journal of the Santa Clara University School of Law. Available only online, and only for free. First issue published last Friday, March 28:

A unique feature of the Santa Clara Journal of International Law is its purely electronic format. The Journal Editors hope that the online format will facilitate broad range accessibility in a way that print media cannot. The web-based format will allow the Journal to stay current continuously by publishing articles that are timely rather than having to wait to publish periodic volumes. The editors also feel that the online format offers easier access and direct reference to other relevant online materials. The Journal will publish reviews and comments from a diverse representation of international scholars and hope that this format will reach readers across all borders.

[via the Daily Journal]

The emerging second Superpower.  I have heard this a couple of times over the last week (I bet the Chinese would disagree ;->).  Very intersting how new memes spread so quickly.

Conflict will create 100 Bin Ladens, warns Egyptian president

Conflict will create 100 Bin Ladens, warns Egyptian president
Guardian - War on Iraq will create "100 Bin Ladens", the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, warned yesterday as hundreds of Arab volunteers streamed to Baghdad pledging "martyrdom operations" against US and British forces.

He should know, his last boss was killed by Muslim radicals, members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  Among them Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was later convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of Osama bin Laden's two top lieutenants.

At the Bar: Multilingual law creates opportunity - Tue Apr 1, 01:53 pm GMT
Bush Warns of Iraqi Retaliation in U.S. - Tue Apr 1, 11:05 am GMT
Scriptural ties help heal Mideast rift - Mon Mar 31, 10:51 pm GMT
Mideast plan said not negotiable - Tue Apr 1, 07:24 am GMT

Monday, March 31, 2003


A New Renaissance? Back to the Future

I think that we can usefully take a much deeper look at our Hunter Gatherer past. I have a sense than if we care to look we will find the ideas that may lead to a new Renaissance. Was not the last Renaissance a time when a few people saw past the page to the meaning of the ancient texts? Monks had been copying them for a thousand years but no one could "see" what they said so long as they were prisoners of the Medieval Mindset. The essence of the last Renaissance was that the great ideas of the Ancient world were re-contextualized for the modern world. The early actors did not seek to recreate the ancient world but to apply its thinking to the problems of their time. The result the birth of the modern world. What about our time?

Now our modern world is failing as a thought system. I wonder if we in the blogosphere have been climbing a ladder of revelation about social networks that in fact will take us back to the wisdom of our 4 million years of hunter gatherer tribal structures? These, surely are where we are hardwired to be most comfortable? I am not suggesting that we immediately don skins etc but I am suggesting that a more rigorous study of our hunter gatherer past will tell us how to live in the post industrial society.

My sense is that we, like our medieval forefathers are trapped in a way of thinking that has become the problem. We are prisoners of the Cartesian and Industrial Mindset. But as some of us work our way through how blogging reconnects us using the Magic numbers of social connections, the deep laws of tribal behaviour become revealed and their meaning burst upon us. We are experiencing the power and the value of these groupings - not as a design but as an experience.

I think that Daniel Pink's ideas about a Free Agent Nation also talk to a new way of participating in the economy where many of us seek to make a livelihood and no more. Many of us work at home and have no break from family. Many of us are building work relationships through blogging. I am experiencing this myself and I witness that you are experiencing this too. Here my needs are few and my work hours are also few. I find it hard to discriminate between work and play and between friends and collegues. My family is inside my work

Back to the Future? I think so. This is why the article that follows is so helpful.

Original Affluence. Marshall Sahlins is the author of Stone-Age Economics, which is an interesting read, in part about gift economies and how pre-historic economic systems weren't as miserable as they're commonly believed to be. Here is something from the article The Original Affluent Society:

"There are two possible courses to affluence. Wants may be "easily satisfied" either by producing much or desiring little The familiar conception, the Galbraithean way- based on the concept of market economies- states that man's wants are great, not to say infinite, whereas his means are limited, although they can be improved. Thus, the gap between means and ends can be narrowed by industrial productivity, at least to the point that "urgent goods" become plentiful. But there is also a Zen road to affluence, which states that human material wants are finite and few, and technical means unchanging but on the whole adequate. Adopting the Zen strategy, a people can enjoy an unparalleled material plenty - with a low standard of living. That, I think, describes the hunters. And it helps explain some of their more curious economic behaviour: their "prodigality" for example- the inclination to consume at once all stocks on hand, as if they had it made. Free from market obsessions of scarcity, hunters' economic propensities may be more consistently predicated on abundance than our own."
Sahlins explains how typical hunter-gatherers work 3-5 hours per day on acquiring food, and they have plenty of time for leisure. For that matter, they have a schedule that most civilized people would be sort of envious about. The more 'civilized' we become, the harder we tend to work, and the less time we have for leisure. He also makes some interesting distinctions between primitive living and poverty. In hunter-gatherer cultures starvation would be pretty much unthinkable.
"The world's most primitive people have few possessions. but they are not poor. Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilisation. It has grown with civilisation, at once as an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation that can render agrarian peasants more susceptible to natural catastrophes than any winter camp of Alaskan Eskimo."
I'm not sure what we can learn here, other than that it is possible to successfully live very simply and modestly. There must be some kind of point that applies also to a technological civilization. A just-in-time kind of thinking. We could very well arrange our world so that nobody ever has to starve and so we only work a few hours per day. From what I hear, only 2-3 percent of our work relates to actual production, and from my own observation, the majority of human work is inefficient or unnecessary, just arranged to keep people busy. So, why can't we have a an efficient and productive, but leisurely and relaxed, high tech society, where it would be unthinkable that basic needs wouldn't be filled? [Ming the Mechanic]

NBC Unimpressed By Peter Arnett's Impression Of Jane Fonda Plastic::Media::War: Peter Arnett, famous for his Baghdad-based coverage of the first Gulf War, has come under fire (metaphorical this time) for an interview on Iraqi TV.

Two new US Supreme Court rulings The United States Supreme Court handed down two decisions Monday. In Branch v. Smith, the Court ruled in a complicated split decision that a federal court can redraw electoral boundaries when state redistricting procedures fail, and that federal judges correctly blocked a Mississippi state court redistricting plan that had favored Democrats.

War crimes tribunal ruling against Bosnian Croats The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Monday found two former commanders of Bosnian Croat military units guilty of crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions in connection with their persecution of Muslims during the 1993-94 conflict between the Croat and Muslims communities in southern Bosnia.

War Cannot Be Confined to Iraq Robert Dreyfuss has an excellent article, Just the Beginning, in the new issue of American Prospect in which he says the war on Iraq may be just the opening salvo. Dreyfuss quotes several military, national security and other experts who say the war cannot be confined to Iraq. It will spread all over the Middle East. Already, Dreyfuss says, Bush and the neoconservatives in his Administration have formed plans to reshape the entire region, and possibly the world.

There have been reports (including the BBC this morning) that indicate that the ground assault on the Republican Guard (ringed around Baghdad) ill be delayed by up to 40 days (as anticipated by this weblog).  Given the s**t storm surrounding Rumsfeld and Franks right now in the press, everyone should expect to see a rapid retreat from the "shock and awe" doctrine to the "Powell" doctrine.

One thing I hope people understand re: the recent reckless attacks (including the recent suicide bomber and Toyota "technical" type assaults that routinely effictively result in suicide) by Iraqis on American positions:  these attacks don't closely fit the model we routinely see in the suicide attacks on Israel or the assault we experienced in 9/11.  These suicide attacks aren't derived from a well-spring of patriotism or religious fervor.  They are driven by Saddam's Stalinist tactics.  Saddam, like Stalin before him, understands how to use mind-numbing terror to compel people to throw their lives away in support of his goals.  To quote Mao: "Power grows out of the barrel of a gun."  Who wouldn't drive a car laden with explosives if his/her family was inches away from the barrel of a Fedayeen rifle?


Mother's manslaughter sentence cut - Mon Mar 31, 07:07 pm GMT

Cut undeservedly.


Dallas lawyer's altruism is a lifelong practice - Mon Mar 31, 07:15 pm GMT

Think of this lawyer when you're thinking of passing along a lawyer joke...

EBay says PayPal didn't violate law, acted in good faith - Mon Mar 31, 07:22 pm GMT

Jesse Jackson off to Baghdad to help look for missing journalists - Mon Mar 31, 07:04 pm GMT

Makes one wonder what Billy Graham is up to.

HUD Sends Guidance to Lenders on Mortgage Relief For Soldiers and Sailors Deployed to Middle East - Mon Mar 31, 04:50 pm GMT
Rice spells out US vision on Mideast - Mon Mar 31, 06:24 pm GMT

So here it is - the dagger at Rumsfeld's throat. The words have been spoken and what we all suspected has been put on the public record. The clock and history tick for both the forces in Iraq and for Rumsfeld himself

OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. Here is the New Yorker article. Read it. You can chose to believe it or not but it will affect the way many people view this war. Here is a relevant quote:

Rumsfeld further stunned the Joint Staff by insisting that he would control the timing and flow of Army and Marine troops to the combat zone. Such decisions are known in the military as R.F.F.s?requests for forces. He, and not the generals, would decide which unit would go when and where.
The article also describes several incidents where Rumsfeld then tried to deny ANY responsibility for the war plans or their execution. Some of this article, even most of it, may just be the whinings of some malcontents, except that these malcontents seem to also be in military intelligence, the CIA and the State Department, as well as the Pentagon. The rest of the world will have a very easy time believing what this article says. I think I can start to see why we screwed up the diplomatic side of things the last few months so much that even our friends have problems with us. [A Man with a Ph.D. - Richard Gayle's Weblog]


First Stop Iraq. Well researched article that provides some depth and background on the four people most responsible for where we are now: Buch, Cheney, Powell, and Wolfowitz. Good read. [A Man with a Ph.D. - Richard Gayle's Weblog]

An excellent article - most of what the press is putting out is very disappointing but here are two important pieces extracted by Richard that start to set the stage for a key story - Why are we in this war? How did we get here? Who was involved?


I got yer moral clarity right here, pal.

[via Textism]

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear 40-Year-Old Molestation Case Plastic::Work::Law: When statutes of limitations expire, can legislatures extend them? Forty years later?

Cheney Proved 'Awesomely Wrong' On California Energy Crisis, More To Come? Plastic::Politics::Money: A devastating report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission indicates that market manipulation was widespread during the energy crisis that struck the Western states in 2000 and 2001 and cost residents of California as much as $45 billion.

Weezer's symbolic value Great undergrad thesis on the rise, fall and rebirth of the band Weezer, written for a Harvard social studies degree.
Utilizing the institutional framework and terminology Pierre Bourdieu establishes in his "Market of Symbolic Goods," I frame rock music as a middlebrow art that regards itself as possessing certain elements of highbrow "legitimate" art ¿ namely "symbolic value" beyond a work's value as a market commodity. I then use this institutional framework and aesthetic ideology to investigate the process by which Weezer's reputation changed dramatically over time. Examining data from several sources: an original survey of 150 music writers, an original survey of 20,000 Weezer fans, original interviews with music writers and editors, and an analysis of a sample of 2000 articles and reviews mentioning Weezer, I argue that a strong fan following led to a reconsideration of Weezer's artistic merits by the music press and altered the vocabulary used to discuss the band. I ultimately conclude that a number of parties play a role in deliberating claims of artistic value in rock music: music writers, artists, fans, and the commercial interests that employ writers and artists.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Joe!)

Other view: Suddenly Bush believes in international law - Mon Mar 31, 01:39 pm GMT
NBC Severs Ties With Journalist Arnett - Mon Mar 31, 01:48 pm GMT
U.S. to release "road map" to Middle East peace - Mon Mar 31, 05:24 am GMT

Sunday, March 30, 2003

The logic of retaliation If the war is retaliation for 9-11, are there any limits to U.S. violence? Plus: Michael Moore vs. Ann Coulter.


Please pardon the eewy title.  Plastic though of it.  Not me.

America Pops Its Cherry: Preparing For A Severe Terror Alert Plastic::Politics::Terrorism: Code Orange doesn't bother most Americans, but Code Red means lockdown in many states. What's under preparation, and are you ready for it?


On one level, Arabs know that Saddam Hussein is a monster. They know he has killed more Arabs than Israel ever could do. Saddam has been the worst thing to happen to Mesopotamia since the Mongols razed Baghdad. But Arabs are so jealous and discouraged that they need to inflate even Saddam into a hero. They have no one else.

Try to understand how broken the Arab world must be, how pitiful, if the celebrated Arab "triumph" of this war is the execution of prisoners in cold blood and the display of a few POWs on TV.

We would be foolish to descend to their level and gloat. The world would be better off were Arab civilization a success. We all should pray that the Arab world might, one day, be better governed and more equitable, that Arab peoples might join us in the march of human progress, instead of fleeing into reveries of bygone glories.

Indeed. Read the whole thing, to see why Iraq matters.

Japan can help rebuild Iraq without new law: Kawaguchi - Mon Mar 31, 01:10 am GMT
Parkinson's Drug Shows Surprising Results - Sun Mar 30, 10:45 pm GMT
Israel denies any linkage between Iraq war, Mideast peace blueprint - Mon Mar 31, 12:11 am GMT
Man arrested in NYC shootings; allegedly admitted attacking people from Middle East because of 9/11 - Mon Mar 31, 12:33 am GMT
WHY OIL IS BAD for national economies, and democracy.


After little more than a week, is this war coverage in trouble? Already questions are being raised about whether the media's plan was fatally flawed. Several analysts are surprised that, despite overwhelming dominance of the air, television and radio divisions have so quickly repeated the mistakes of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, on the ground, rapidly advancing columns become stalled in Vietnam-style quagmires around the second paragraph.

He has a lot of eminent retired military guys critiquing the journalists' strategy, too.

Plan B.  I took some time tonight to reread Liddell Hart's (one of my favorite military thinkers) analysis of the campaigns of Belisarius (a Byzantine general that fought some of the most brilliant and bloodless campaigns in history).  It is great for out of the box thinking.  My question:  what would Belisarius do in the place of Rumsfeld and Franks?  He would first identify the threat and then devise an economical means to eliminate it (economical in that there is as little fighting as possible).  

If the threat is that Iraq is able to fund terrorism and fund the development of weapons of mass destruction, then the common basis for the threats is his ability to fund.  How does he fund these threats?  Obviously, oil revenues.  He cheats on the UN oil for food program.  So, what would Belisarius do if he was leading US forces?

He would take the oil.  A quick and limited military strike could have done that.  The oil would then be put under a joint US/UN control and the funds would be strictly controlled.  Payments to Turkey and Kuwait would be made for their inconvenience.  Funds for food and medicine would be made and these goods would be shipped to Iraqi authorities.  A slight modification of the plan would enable the creation of autonomous zones for Kurds (including Kirkuk and Iraq's northern oil field) and Shiites (including Basra and Iraq's southern oil field).  This would require a small amount of fighting to clear these cities.  These zones in turn would get access to unrestricted funds.  The rest of a penniless Iraq would be left to Saddam.  In order for Iraq to get the oil back, they would be forced to disarm and undergo social changes that would provide freedoms for Iraqis (effectively, that would require the removal of Saddam).  The first phase would last three years and be renewed annually until the requirements were met.

Of course, we could still do this.  It would be even easier to generate change if we did it after we smashed the Republican Guard.  Without the Republican Guard, Saddam wouldn't have any sufficient force to fend off an aggressive guerilla movement or a coup.  Of course, given this strategy, this fight isn't even necessary if a truly bloodless victory is the top requirement.  Remember Liddell's words,

"In the case of a state that is seeking not conquest but the maintenance of its security, the aim is fulfilled if the threat be removed -- if the enemy is lead to abandon his purpose."

Al Qaeda Ready to Join Fight Near Basra Al Qaeda Ready to Join Fight Near Basra
FoxNews - Al Qaeda fighters may be in southern Iraq, coordinating grenade and gun attacks on British forces in a town near Basra, it was reported last night.
British troops were believed to be planning a military strike on the Al Qaeda hideout, the newspaper said. If the prisoners? reports are true, they may provide a concrete link between Saddam Hussein?s regime and the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center.


We discussed this in Con Law this week:

Sweet tea may be the law in Georgia - Sun Mar 30, 02:33 pm GMT

Saddam: I'll hit UK with terror squads - Sun Mar 30, 04:51 am GMT
Bush annoyed by US media war coverage - Sun Mar 30, 01:50 pm GMT
Two Newsday Journalists Detained - Sun Mar 30, 02:31 pm GMT