Friday, April 17, 2009

Nice, Orin

Professor Kerr holds the right to the same standards that he would ordinarily hold the left. And that clearly deserves an attaboy.

Huh?

I don't really understand what this post is actually about. But in the video at the link, Glenn Beck claims:
"You have a right to carry a gun. You have a right to own a guy. You have a right to be able to afford a gun."
I'm sorry, but that's BS. And that's where the Right drives me nuts.

You do have a right to a gun, and you have a right to carry a gun. (Think "keep and bear arms"). But there is absolutely no guaranteed right to afford a gun. Now, if the government should decide to tax guns to the point where the average person can't afford them, or to otherwise regulate them to where people cannot get their hands on them, then yes, that would be in violation of the 2nd Amendment. But it's not a question of having a right to afford a gun.

He's got me picturing breadlines—here's your soup, here's your gun. Yikes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Leave it to the Americans

What do you want to bet that the crew were exercising their 2nd Amendment rights and the pirates were unprepared for it?

Either way, that's one hell of a shipping crew.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We're All Frakked

And now the robots know how to use physics against us:
In just over a day, a powerful computer program accomplished a feat that took physicists centuries to complete: extrapolating the laws of motion from a pendulum's swings.
And now to go home and watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles, so I can feel better about out odds of defeating said robot conquerors.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meet the New Justice Department

Bush was cherry-picking legal advice all the time, right? Remember that infamous torture memo penned by John Yoo? Even though there's no evidence that he was pressured to present a particular viewpoint, the man is vilified (and now threatened with war crimes charges) for writing what he thought was an honest legal opinion.

But if it were true, that the Bush Administration, sought a legal justification that came out the way they wanted it to, that would be really bad, right?

What if the Obama Administration gets caught doing exactly that? The Attorney General hears a legal opinion he doesn't like, so he just asks someone else? That's definitely not the way things are supposed to work.

Where's the outrage?

Monday, March 30, 2009

And the Europeans Chortle

I gotta say, if I was Fiat, I'd tell Chrysler to eff off. After seeing what happened to companies that took TARP money (and how desperate they are to give it back) why would I want to get involved in a company that is effectively under US governmental control?

I wouldn't.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Good Move

Microsoft has targeted Apple on price. It's not a bad move. It's a little odd that the video really says nothing about Windows, and is basically an add for "I like the look of the HP best among the computers I can afford," rather than "Windows machines are better than OS X machines," but that will be lost on the average viewer.

In a down economy, cheaper is generally better—and I imagine that Microsoft will do better for the next few years than they have been, at least relative to Apple.

That being said, it's important to remember one key tenet of purchasing: You get what you pay for.

And yes, in case you've forgotten, I own a Mac. And it's the first one I've ever owned. And it is FAR superior to any PC I have ever used.

So while the campaign by Microsoft is smart, it will only sway the uninformed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Am I A Jerk?

Maybe I'm an asshole, but I think this guy deserved the ticket. I'm sorry his mom died, and I'm sorry the ticket-writing took 13 minutes. That being said, a guy who speeds deserves a ticket. If the law said "unless he's rushing to the hospital," then that would be fine. But why have laws if you leave it to the cops to make exceptions?

Technology and Courts

I don't really have much to say on this, because so much time has passed. Either way, I noticed an interesting pattern in technology news last week. First, there were theiPhone mistrial pieces that popped up everywhere. Then Twitter began interfering in trials.

And finally, CourtToons had their own commentary.

Practicing law in the modern age has gotten weird.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rep. Frank is an Asshole

The attempt to play the sexuality card is transparent and embarrassing. But I particularly like Prof. Althouse's classification of the statement.

Frank said:
Justice Scalia "makes it very clear that he's angry, frankly, about the existence of gay people. If you read his opinion, he thinks it's a good idea for two consenting adults who happen to be gay to be locked up because he is so disapproving of gay people."
Althouse replies:
Well, Barney, I have read that opinion many times, and I know that you are either lying about having read it, lying about what Scalia wrote, or an embarrassingly incompetent reader.
There ought to be a Godwin's Law corollary for making accusations like this. Frank can't hold up against a textualist, originalist interpretation of the constitution, so he accuses Scalia of bigotry.

That's just sad.

Grammar Nerds Unite

And take a look at our President's off-the-cuff speechifying.

Now it's not really fair to single out Obama, as this is what anyone will sound like in a press conference. Still a remarkable illustration of the way he speaks when lacking a teleprompter.

Monday, March 23, 2009

60 Minutes

Watched it last night, and wanted to throw something at the screen. I simply could not believe that he was laughing about the economy, in any context. And when confronted about that laughter, he attributed it to gallows humor.

Gallows humor includes a sense of irony. It's not full-on laughter, it's awkward laughter. Obama did not seem uncomfortable with the chuckling—he seemed to be enjoying himself. That may be an act, but it's disturbing either way.

It seems that John Hawkins was equally frustrated. In particular, I agree with this sentiment:
Obama is a silver-tongued political novice who has managed to be in the right place at the right time.

Now, if you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And if you’re a politician like Barack Obama, who has gotten everything he has in life by being slick and sounding confident, every problem looks like something that can just be talked away.
He's very smooth. He's easy going. You watch him interviewed, and you want to like him. But if you actually listen to what the man says, it's impossible not to come away thinking:
Now at first glance, that might seem to be a thoughtful answer. However, when you delve down into it, what you find is that is like many of Barack Obama’s comments, it’s utterly divorced from what he intends to do, while giving people on both sides of the case the impression that he agrees with them.
Read the whole thing, especially page 2.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

First Sentence!

Sigh. Must the bias be so obvious that it arrives in the first sentence of a column? Eleanor Clift:
Who would have thought 55 days into this administration we would be asking the question, what did he know and when did he know it?
Um, anyone who had a realistic view of how politics in Washington operates, and knew that the O is not infallible?

If you need an example, kindly look this way.

More on the O

So I finally watched Obama's appearance on Leno. (Ain't DVR grand?)

I think this assessment is not far off. At the very least, I think the Carter comparisons seem pretty apt.

Now I must concede that I was not alive when Carter was in office, so I cannot make any direct comparisons. But I have read extensively on his presidency, and I base these comments on that background of information. Okay? Okay.

As I mentioned the other day, I think that the key to these communication shortcomings from Obama, and that paralysis of decision, is a lack of ideology. We (and I use the term "we" loosely) have elected a man who has never been forced to make a decision, take a stand, and defend it vociferously. It has always just been good enough for him to be an intelligent black man running in a district that wanted an intelligent liberal.

I think this was true even last year. The country got on board with "hope & change" because they wanted the anti-Bush. But instead of a different ideology, a different governing philosophy, we got no ideology or philosophy. And this is going to continue to cause problems for the President.

Think I'm alone in seeing it this way? After I'd drafted the above, I stumbled across David Warren, writing from Canada. It seems that Mr. Warren has reached the exact same conclusion I did:
Again, to my mind -- and it is the only one I have with which to write this column -- we would be wrong to think of Mr. Obama as an ideologue. I think he was perfectly sincere in denying that he was anything of the sort, and in claiming that he would be looking for bipartisan consensus. I also think he is sincere in proceeding with an agenda -- on bail-outs, the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, etc. -- that leaves most Republicans, and quite a few of the more conservative Democrats, utterly aghast.

How to explain this apparent contradiction? I'm afraid it is easy. As I mentioned during the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was seriously unqualified for the job of president. He had no practical experience in running anything, except political campaigns; but worse, his background was one-dimensional.

All his life, from childhood through university through "community organizing" and Chicago wardheel politics, through Sunday mornings listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the left side of Democrat caucuses in Springfield and Washington, he has been surrounded almost exclusively by extremely liberal people, and moreover, by people who are quick and clever but intellectually narrow.

He is a free soul, but he is also the product of environments in which even moderately conservative ideas are never considered; but where people on the further reaches of the left are automatically welcomed as "avant-garde." His whole idea of where the middle might be, is well to the left of where the average American might think it is. To a man like Obama, as he has let slip on too many occasions when away from his teleprompter, "Middle America" is not something to be compromised with, but rather, something that must be manipulated, because it is stupid. And the proof that it can be manipulated, is that he is the president today.

It is at this point that the phenomenon known as "too clever by half" sets in. Technically, it is indistinguishable from arrogance and hubris, but it is unnecessary to stress the point. Sixty days into his first term (and I begin to doubt there'll be a second), he would seem already to have dug a hole from which no rhetorical skill can lift him.
Smart guy, that David Warren.