Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate #1

I thought it was a solid performance by both candidates. Neither candidate blew the other out of the water, but neither killed his own candidacy. If anything, I would say that Kerry may have refuted the idea that he would be weak internationally, at least to some minds. Bush, on the other hand, did a pretty good job of injecting the names of leaders and policy specifics to counter longstanding charges that he is a lightweight.

Of course, it depends as much on what the media says for the next few days as it does on what the candidates said in the debate. It should be interesting to see how the spin spins.

UPDATE: Here's Giuliani spinning on the Daily Show. Bush spoke, Kerry lectured. Kerry flip-flopped in the debate when he said the war was a mistake, but then that Saddam was a threat. Except that Kerry said that the manner in which the war was initiated and conducted was a mistake, or more broadly, the way that the President chose to deal with that threat was a mistake. I don't see that as a contradictory position. 1. Saddam was a threat. 2. There is a good way to deal with a threat like Saddam, and some bad ways. 3. The president chose one of the bad ways.

Not a flip-flop, in my mind.

UPDATE 2: Matt Yglesias at TAPPED on Bush inaccuracies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bush: taking cops off your street

Monday, September 27, 2004

Last post today, I swear

PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone, I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

(It can only be Walt Whitman, of course).

Mental Note

Read this and understand it. Possibly after you write the two papers that are due this week, procrastinator.

White paper on Widescale Biodiesel Production.

Ohio Secretary of State Moves to Disenfranchise Voters Because of Inadequate Paper Stock?

Leadership and Priorities

No editorializing today. Just some numbers.

Minimum Wage: $3.35
Congressional Wage: $89,500

Minimum Wage: $3.35
Congressional Wage: $96,600 (representatives)

Minimum Wage: $3.35
Congressional Wage: $101,900 (senators)

Minimum Wage: $3.35
Congressional Wage: $129,500

Minimum Wage: $3.35
Congressional Wage: $133,600

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $133,600

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $136,700

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $141,300

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $145,100

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $150,000

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $154,700

Minimum Wage: $5.15
Congressional Wage: $158,100

Stats found here and here.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Staying Power

73% of the visitors to Object Permanence stay for 5 seconds or less. Whee haw.


Common problem with Visit Length Stats

If you only install the StatCounter code on one page of your website and your visitors never reload that one page. Then your visit length will always be less than 5 seconds! It is highly recommended to install the same code on all pages of your website you want to track.

Speaking of Slimy Tactics

President Bush and leading Republicans are increasingly charging that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and others in his party are giving comfort to terrorists and undermining the war in Iraq -- a line of attack that tests the conventional bounds of political rhetoric.

"Giving comfort." Where have I heard that before?

Oh, that's right. Art III, Section 3 U.S. Constitution, in pertinent part:

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

So now political opposition may actually be treason, if that opposition takes the form of criticizing administration foreign policy. Good to know.

Study Music

Is there a better R.E.M. album than Automatic For the People?

Rowboat Veterans for Truth

Thanks to Jen for the link.

Something I wasn't concerned about.

From page 2 of Britney Spears' and Keven Federline's "faux marriage" contract:

Britney warrants and represents that she shall never claim that the "faux" wedding ceremony of the parties on September 18, 2004 was a "putative marriage."

Headline from next month's National Enquirer:

"I was putatively married," Says Britney. Shocking Details INSIDE!

Slimy Mailings

"The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush."


But Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued, "We have the First Amendment in this country which should protect churches, but there is no question that this is where some people want to go, that reading from the Bible could be hate speech."

Still, Mr. Land questioned the assertion that Democrats might ban the whole Bible. "I wouldn't say it," he said. "I would think that is probably stretching it a bit far."

This is so ridiculous it hardly bears saying. No one is going to criminalize a form of speech, particularly religious speech.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"We were better off with Saddam in power?"

What the hell? ABC News actually calling a spade a spade.

Link via Kos.

Kofi Annan

"Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it," he told the audience of delegates in the General Assembly hall, which included President Bush and Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister.

Link via Wonkette.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Busy busy

Sorry, people. The first law review cite check was due yesterday, so the last few days have been hectic.

Some highlights of the last few hours and days:

Bush criticizes Kerry's Iraq remarks as sending a "dangerously mixed message" to our troops, allies, and our enemies. In contrast, I call that political discourse. I call it an election year.

I went to a session at UW Law this morning on blogging with Ann Althouse and Gordon Smith. Unfortunately, these coffee and donuts sections (sorry, Professor) are always at 8:30, and for the second semester in a row, I have a class conflict. Today it was my Evidence class, which starts at 8:50, so I was really only there for the brief introductions and the "what is a blog" discussion. Otherwise, there is no way I am missing free coffee in the morning. Doesn't happen.

Professor Althouse has a great post up that polls poets, of all people, for the correct spelling of donuts/doughnuts.

Reporters continue to abuse the word touts.

Washington Post horserace story.

Last, I heard a good song on the radio on the way home. The singer has an inauspicious name, unless you are a radical Serbo-Croatian nationalist.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

What a load of doodey.

This story is a load of doodey. I've worked bunches of low and medium wage hourly jobs in the last ten years. I want to know what parallel universe this columnist lives in where employers are able to deny overtime to minimum wage workers under FLSA.

I suppose the pimply-faced kid in the McDonald's drive through is being exempted in Wyoming? Let's look over the list of exempt employee categories:

Automobile Dealers
Motor Carrier
Outside sales
Seasonal Amusement
Recreational Establishments

Here's a list of the job duties that qualify someone for exempt status. I assure you that, despite the long-outmoded salary floor for exempt employees, there was not a plague of short order cooks or Wal-Mart checkers who were being classified as exempt employees to screw them out of overtime.

from "Wild Grapes"

It wasn't my not weighing anything
So much as my not knowing anything-
My brother had been nearer right before.
I had not taken the first step in knowledge;
I had not learned to let go with the hands,
As I still have not learned to with the heart,
And have no wish to with the heart--nor need,
That I can see. The mind--is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind--
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.

(Robert Frost)

So beautiful, it hurts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Today's Event: Kerry in Madison

Well, my faithful few, I had hoped to post pictures of a photo-op with Senator Kerry today, but due to rain the photo-op was canceled.

You see, I volunteered to help with the event in Madison that was held today. A couple days after I volunteered, I got a call from the campus chair asking me to drive one of the cars in the Senator's motorcade. I thought, "how cool!" and said yes.

Unfortunately, that basically entails driving around in a rental van all day long, which isn't so bad, and missing class, which isn't so bad, and missing the event, which was mildly bad. The event was broadcast on local radio, though, so I still got to hear it.

We showed up at the airport and got screened by the Secret Service, who were much more polite than I expected, having read about all the mean things Secret Service agents allegedly do at Bush events. The inspection was surprisingly gentle, just a metal detector wand and a bomb sniffing dog. We did not, for instance, have to subject our personal bags to searches, which would seem to be a glaring hole in the security, except that of course we were all campaign volunteers.

We watched the Senator's plane come rolling in on the tarmac, and we even caught a glimpse of him as he deplaned. Then we mounted up, so to speak, and drove to the event. Driving in a Secret Service motorcade is exciting, even though it didn't go as fast as we had hoped. We drove down highway 51 and the Beltline, two of the busiest highways in Madison, on our way to the venue, and police cordoned off all traffic, which was pretty cool for us, not so much for the people in the traffic.

The speech was good, even if he did use (only once!) that abominable "W stands for wrong" line that he has been using. Whoever wrote that atrocious piece of crap should be beaten and then fired. Also, as is his custom, he slipped some local flavor in the beginning of the speech. Of course, he referred to "State Street Brats" (a famous college hangout) as "Main Street Brats." Nevertheless, he had me at "beer on the Union terrace." Mmm. Aside from that, he basically hammered on the holy triumvirate, Iraq, the economy, and health care (it's a right! he said). Also, he continued to talk about "wrong choices" and "wrong direction" without sinking back to "W stands for wrong" again.

After we motorcaded back to the airport (is "motorcaded" a permissible verb?), we had a chance to shake hands and say a few words to the Senator. Shy as I am, I'm amazed I even made eye contact, and I was even able to thank him for coming to Madison. So many clever things that I thought I would like to say, so little nerve to say them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

New posts at L&E news

I have a few new posts up at L&E news. They're really only interesting if you are interested in Employment Law. I had a long day today, plus a law review meeting tonight, so I am once again behind on everything. Also, tomorrow I am volunteering in connection with Senator Kerry's rally in Madison. I'm getting to do something really cool! I will blog it tomorrow when I get home, so check back!

Monday, September 13, 2004

9/11 recollections from Professor Althouse

Just catching up on my blog reading for a few minutes when I read this. Wow.

I remember walking between two large old university buildings on my way back to the street crossing where my colleague had told me the news a few hours ago. I looked at those buildings and thought: I had always assumed these buildings were so solid, but how foolish I was; these buildings are all now going to fall. I really felt, walking between those two buildings, that everything we had built was doomed, and that we had been living under an illusion that the world we had built could stand.

Moratorium on the Word "Touts"

Is anyone else sick of hearing this word in connection with politics?

Look at this if you want to see what I mean.

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,260 for president tout. (0.33 seconds)

I am a ghost

Normally, I am d'accord with Bukowski on solitude: you get so alone sometimes that it just makes sense.

But sometimes, once in awhile, I regret it when I walk into the atrium of that law school and realize how my family responsibilities have isolated me from my fellow students. There are precious few that I call friends, and even those are often surrounded by so many strangers that I am too daunted to approach.

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)


Sometimes I remind me of Ellison's Invisible Man.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Yglesias on Universal Health Care

Bill O'Reilly's New Friend

Take a look at this before they catch it and take it down:

Jack Mehoffer, Springfield, Massachusetts says, "O'Reilly, I see the new Fox definition of fair and balanced means interviewing DNC chief Terry McAuliffe at both conventions."

Well, right you are, Mr. Mehoffer. Newt Gingrich appeared with us at both conventions. So did Mr. McAuliffe. What's the beef, sir? It is long past time to stop the partisan nonsense. Fox News gives airtime to all responsible viewpoints. And our commentators are clear and lively. No hidden agenda here, just flat out stimulating TV. And that's memo.

He answered Jack Mehoffer. I kid you not.

Link via Fark.

My Dear...

I just want you to know that when we met, I pitched my heart into the depths of you. I am still waiting to hear it hit bottom.

Are You Kidding?

I seriously checked the Onion before I believed that this was really true.

Yep, it's true. The unemployment picture is much more rosy, thanks to thousands of e-bay entrepreneurs!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Health Care Premia continue to rise

Out of control -- premia are up almost 60% since 2001. What is the administration's response? Health Savings accounts, Association Health Plans, and Tort Reform? Yeah, that'll get a million or so people insurance, but the other 44 million uninsured people are SOL. Meanwhile, continuing ballooning Health care costs will only cause more to lose their insurance altogether, or to be underinsured.

From the article:

"The cost of family health insurance is rapidly approaching the gross earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker," said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "If these trends continue, workers and employers will find it increasingly difficult to pay for family health coverage and every year the share of Americans who have employer-sponsored health coverage will fall."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

More shocking revelations

...and then Blogger suddenly started working again.

Check this out:

Everybody is talking about Kitty Kelley's new book "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty". The scandal-hungry press is already salivating over rumors that the book will reveal George W. Bush's use of cocaine through the 1980's, the true story of his time in the National Guard, and the shocking details of the illegal abortion he procured for an ex-girlfriend. But the press doesn't know the half of it! I have obtained an advance copy of the book, and will now share the even more shocking revelations contained within!

Link, of course, via Atrios.

Curse you, Blogger!

For three hours last night, I was trying to blog. Blogger kept timing out, over and over again. I lost two of the three posts that I wrote. I may attempt to recreate those posts later.

UPDATE: It is still doing it. I can't get any posts up. Blech.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Kerry Wins Major Endorsement

...from Osama Bin Laden, apparently. Dick Cheney:

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Bush by the Numbers

Look at this, via TalkLeft.

A heretical idea for you

Regarding Hastert's smear of Soros.

A reader makes an obvious point about Dennis Hastert's dumb and dastardly attack on George Soros (which Eugene Volokh continues to cover with calm relentlessness): drug legalization is the very last thing illegal drug dealers want to see, since it would put them out of business.

But the reader then makes a non-obvious, but sensible, suggestion: is it possible that the cartels so fear George Soros's drug legalization campaign that they have paid Dennis Hastert to attack him? Like Hastert about Soros, I'm not saying the accusation is true; I'm just saying we don't know.

Links via Heretical Ideas, Mark. A Kleiman, and Volokh.

The "Do-over" election

Link via Atrios:

[T]he campaign's newest communications strategist, Joe Lockhart, derided Bush and his acceptance speech in unusually personal terms.

"It's almost like the president, with his boyish charm, is looking for a political do-over" — as if he has not been president the last four years, Lockhart told reporters.

To which the Bush campaign responded:

Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said that while Bush "is focused on his positive vision for the future … John Kerry … is consumed with the past."

This criticism had more legitimacy when we were talking about Vietnam. The suggestion that a candidate should not run against his opponent's record in office is absurd, as the Bush campaign implicitly acknowledges when it tries to make points against Senator Kerry's record. In that sense, the Bush campaign is much more "consumed with the past" than the Kerry campaign.

I know, I shouldn't say "sense" in connection with either one of these campaigns.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Lunch today

I hopped down to Library Mall today to get some Thai food for lunch.

It was delicious.

When I sat down on the cement stage area at the center of the mall, I was approached by a young lady trying to sell me a year's subscription to the Socialist newspaper. I told her I wasn't interested, but she, seeing the Kerry button on my backpack, decided to verbally attack me about the war in Iraq.

It ended up being a nice conversation, but she had the most puzzling mix of optimism and pessimism. She was full of high hopes that "humanity" would continue to innovate and excel in a system where there was no personal incentive to do so. I asked her about greedy capitalists in such a system -- how does a pure socialist system get them to be productive citizens? She had faith that they would somehow be converted in the revolution.

She expressed at one point the idea that garbage men should be paid more than doctors, since no one wants to collect garbage, while some people want to practice medicine. I didn't point out the absurdity of making this argument to an aspiring lawyer.

On the other hand, she was certain that Imperial America in its current incarnation was evil, no matter who ran it. She insisted that there is no difference between Bush and Kerry. She was pretty young, so maybe she wasn't paying much attention when people said that four years ago. On the other hand, maybe every capitalist candidate looks evil when you are a Socialist. Nevertheless, I think perhaps she was, as my boss last summer would say, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Only in Madison. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind. I didn't buy the paper, though.

Out with the Friday Trash...

From the article:

Medicare premiums for doctor visits will rise 17 percent next year, the Bush administration said Friday. The $11.60-a-month increase is the largest in the program's 40-year-history.
The timing of the release - the day following the Republican convention, just before the Labor Day weekend and with a hurricane bearing down on Florida and its nearly 3 million Medicare recipients - drew criticism Friday.

"This is a cynical attempt to bury bad news by leaking it out when you hope no one is watching," said Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, D-Calif. "This administration has had four years to improve Medicare and instead have made it worse. Today's news reflects the reality, not rhetoric, of this administration's bad record on Medicare."

A 17% rise is pretty crippling to someone on a fixed income.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Norms of Behavior

Professor Bainbridge says:

At least two protestors were hauled out of MSG during Bush's speech. There have been reports all week about demonstrators harrassing delegates. In contrast, no Republicans tried to disrupt Kerry's speech in Boston and I don't remember stories about Democrat delegates being spit on. I find the difference in norms of behavior between the right and left quite puzzling.

Me too, Professor.

Of course, I would point out the critical difference between the "left" and the Democratic party. Opposition to Bush does not equal support for Kerry, despite the electoral realities. And there is a more telling comparison between norms of behavior of the right and the left:

Barack Obama's keynote at DNC:

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that’s moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn’t have the money to go to college.

Don’t get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to.

Zell Miller keynote at RNC:

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief.

What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.
Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

I ask, rhetorically: what says more about the respective behaviors of the left and the right, the actions of unaffiliated activists, or the words of the keynote standard bearers?

Why on Earth did the Republicans put Miller up as a keynote speaker? Did they honestly not know that he would suggest that opposition to the president's agenda was unpatriotic and borderline treasonous? Miller can certainly call it that if he wants. I prefer to call it Democracy. Does Miller really believe that Democrats are willing to allow "freedom to falter?" Or that Democrats value tyranny over freedom?


Well, I'll be damned. CNN gave Terry McAuliffe first response to Bush's speech. I take back all the mean, nasty things I thought about CNN.

Now, if only Terry McAuliffe had better talking points. Seriously, who preps the Dem talking heads? Do these guys even have talking points? They look like a bunch of stooges.

Kerry Remarks

from Atrios.

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in-chief. We’ll, here’s my answer. I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.


one of Lorca's best lines
"agony, always
agony. . ."

think of this when you
kill a
cockroach or
pick up a razor to

or awaken in the morning
face the

("true" Charles Bukowski)

Saletan Strikes Again!

It's strange to me to be agreeing with Saletan so often recently:

"A senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequence to the nation," said Cheney. "But a president always casts the deciding vote." What America needs in this time of peril, he argued, is "a president we can count on to get it right."

You can't make the case against Bush more plainly than that.

Ouch, Will!

Then he starts to hammer on the executive-power referendum meme:

[T]he GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?

It's a good article, and you should read it. I would post the rest, but I don't want to exceed the reasonable limits of fair use.