I think it might work better if I just listed topics. I’ll collect posts in files, and usually I will put new material at the top. I’ll start with words.htm, though, which is mostly alphabetical.
Words: Interesting old and new words and phrases.
I think it might work better if I just listed topics. I’ll collect posts in files, and usually I will put new material at the top. I’ll start with words.htm, though, which is mostly alphabetical.
Words: Interesting old and new words and phrases.
From Prof. Eugene Volokh:
There are a host of special rules that simultaneously constrain and empower equitable remedies. These rules include the irreparable injury rule, equitable ripeness, equitable defenses (e.g., unclean hands and laches), opportunities to revisit and reopen the remedy (e.g., modification and dissolution of an injunction), and enforcement mechanisms such as contempt. These special rules apply to — and ordinarily only apply to — equitable remedies. They do not apply to the declaratory judgment.
Here are four thoughts:
(a) The idea of the declaratory judgment is very old even if the name is new. Two people have a dispute over rights and they ask the court to resolve it.
(b) A declaratory judgment is not a remedy. Getting one does nothing directly to solve the plaintiff’s problem. A remedy is a command, even if just an implicit command in the sense of declaring someone owes damages.
(c) A bit separate: ordinarily the plaintiff asks for an injunction as well as a declaratory judgment. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled en banc in the Cohen tax case (2011) that despite the plain language of the Declaratory Judgement Act, its scope is the same as the Anti-Injunction Act’s, so declaratory judgments which do not restrain the collection of taxes are okay. The court noted that this was perhaps of little practical importance, since it is the injunction that is the main remedy anyway.
(d) Also separate: I found this in a footnote: “Abbott Labs. v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 155 (1967) (the declaratory judgment and injunctive remedies are equitable in nature” But the Supreme Court was wrong when it said this.
“HOW DO I SET UP MY WI-FI NETWORK TO EXCLUDE ANDROID DEVICES? If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.”
I was just reading a good post of his upcoming Congressional testimony by Stewart Baker over at Volokh Conspiracy. One thing he talks about is the importance of making it legal for private corporations to fight cybercrime. They’re now hindered by unreasonable privacy laws. As he puts it, it’s like being worried about a theft conviction if you see a thief with your bicycle and take it back. Read more…
Is Ted Cruz, born abroad to an American mother and a non-American father, eligible to be President?
In nontechnical discourse people both now and in 1789 would no doubt divide citizens up into the two categories of natural-born and naturalized— so that natural-born would include anybody who was born a citizen, and if you weren’t naturalized, you must be natural-born.
The word “natural” is needed because to say “born citizen” doesn’t sound right—- it sounds as if it’s in distinction to citizens who came out of test tubes. The word “born” is needed because to say “natural citizen” makes it sound like someone who is just a natural American because he’s loves apple pie and football even though he’s Slovakian, or that I’m alluding to some sort of natural law concept of citizenship.
Is the following paragraph punctuated as it should be?
The phrase “value of the gift” in 26 U.S.C. § 6324(b) means what it says––not “dollar amount of the gift at the time of donation”, but “what the gift is worth”. “Value” is not “face value”.
I wrote a guest post at Taxprof recently. I wrote a long comment on the post too, which is equally worth reading.
At our law-and-econ lunch at Indiana University we talked about the Simkovic-McIntyre paper on the value of going to law school and the point that law students are a select bunch. My father, citing his experience in the Navy in 1945 and as a grand jury foreman in the 70’s, liked to say that university people don’t understand what ordinary people are like. So I looked up some facts, and here is my guess at what a typical law student is like.
He doesn’t go to Yale, or to Indiana. He goes to Albany Law School, a typical third-tier law school. Its 25th-75th LSAT scores are 149-155, a midpoint of 152.
Professor Ramseyer and I are circulating our new paper for comment:
“Lowering the Bar to Raise Up the Bar: Licensing Difficulty and Attorney Quality in Japan”
Under certain circumstance, a relaxation in occupational licensing standards can increase the quality of those who enter the industry. The effect turns on the opportunity costs of preparing for the licensing examination: making the test easier can increase the quality of those passing if it lowers the opportunity costs enough to increase the number of those willing to go to the trouble of taking the test. We explore the theoretical circumstances under which this can occur and the actual effect of the relaxation of the difficulty of the bar exam in Japan from 1992 to 2011. http://rasmusen.org/papers/barpass-ram-ras.pdf.
Congressman Renacci is proposing to add to the list of offenses for which an IRS employee can be fired,
(10) performing, delaying, or failing to perform (or threatening to perform, delay, or fail to perform)
any official action (including any audit) with respect to a taxpayer for purpose of extracting personal
gain or benefit or for a political purpose.’’
I sent him a letter with some suggestions. Read more…
The Education Dept. is bullying colleges by making absurd definitions of “sexual harassment”, something that itself is not part of the federal statute they are using. See http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/21/ocr-official-explains-harassment-policies-skeptical-college-lawyers, http://thefire.org/article/15970.html, http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/171165/ .
Some college has to actually fight the OCR in court. But who will bell the cat? The OCR knows that college administrators are generally cowards, and so they push them around, confident that the OCR can ignore the law because it won’t go to court. Could a college association perhaps ask for a declaratory judgement on behalf of its members, or could 50 or so colleges ask together, to avoid reprisal? The suit could ask for a declaration that a college is free under the statute to violate the OCR standard stated in the Montana agreement. The colleges would win, because OCR assertions that didn’t go through notice and comment and have no basis in the statute wouldn’t get Chevron deference. And it wouldn’t cost much to file such a challenge.
It would help the case that the colleges could quote the OCR representative as saying that he’ll “take it under advisement” as to whether the Dept. of Education should follow the Administrative Procedure Act. (“the entire room broke into applause in response to the notice and comment question”)
I found a good stats article on fitting data to a power law distribution, testing whether the fit is good, and testing whether a fit to an exponential or lognormal distribution would be better:
Power-law distributions in empirical data, SIAM (2009)
Aaron Clauset,1, 2 Cosma Rohilla Shalizi,3 and M. E. J. Newman
For anyone checking in here: I got out of the habit of posting on my blog around June 1 and haven’t managed to get back to it. I might resume, but I might not.
For example, while there was much hand-wringing in our own media about “Who lost Turkey?” when U.S. forces were denied entry to Iraq from the north in 2003, no such introspection was evident in Ankara and Istanbul. Read more…
I was just googling to try to find out how much the Gulf oil spill might cost in damage. I suspect it’s overblown. Apparently Exxon Valdex caused damage of less than 5 billion dollars according to the Courts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the true damge were much smaller, since the courts aren’t likely to be fair where oil companies are concerned. Think, too— if (a big assumption) all the wildlife in a stretch of 10 miles is destroyed, leaving virgin habitat (since the oil becomes harmless under sand), won’t wildlife move back in after just a few years? That might be a bad few years for fisheries–if there are any— but as far as Existence Value, it just means a few years of nonexistence during which nobody much woudl ahve visited it anyway.I value Alaskan wildlife in general quite highly, but I value Alaskan wildlife from 1995 to 2010 at almost zero. That fifteen years has no cosmic significance at all, and also no personal significance to me.
I wonder if the current BP spill is really causing any damage?
many seemed intent on skirting campaign finance laws: Obama’s foreign contributors were making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances — but others were aggregating in excess of the maximums when their contributions were all added up. Other donations came in from donors with names such as “Hbkjb,” “jkbkj,” and “Doodad.” Read more…
In January 1944, the Office of Strategic Services created a secret document entitled “Simple Sabotage Field Manual” (available hereas a free audio book) to assist operatives in disrupting the Axis war effort. It contains the expected stuff about starting fires and shorting electrical systems. But the most enlightening stuff comes at pages 28–31, in a section entitled “General Interference with Organizations and Production.” There, we learn that our secret weapon against the Nazi war machine was . . . bureaucracy. Note these ingenious plots:
The big problem with being poor in 21st Century America is not that you can’t afford to buy enough stuff, it’s that you can’t afford to move away from other poor people.
The European motive for doing this is to “save the euro” — a currency whose very existence is a monument to the unbounded narcissism of government. The euro notes are decorated by scenic views of handsome Renaissance, Gothic, and classical edifices — just like the White House on U.S. currency. The only difference is that the European buildings do not exist in what we used to call the real world. They’re entirely fictional. That’s Big Government: Even if you don’t build it, they’ll still come. If you invent a currency for a united Europe, a united Europe is sure to follow.
Who could be so stony-hearted, so truly inhuman, as to be insensible to what has occurred, or be affected by merely moderate grief? He is gone; heir of a noble house, prop of a family, a father’s hope, offspring of pious parents, nursed with innumerable prayers, in the very bloom of manhood, torn from his father’s hands…. Read more…
While I hesitate to ascribe motives, in the case of Brooks I shall make an exception. It really seems to me his ersatz Burkeianism is mostly about allowing him to pose as that irritating object, the liberals’ favorite conservative. And it conveniently allows him to do so without staking out any very specific territory. It’s just, oh, I don’t have any specific principles or ideas, you know; with me it’s about my dispositions, my habits, my gastro-intestinal predilections.
If deficits didn’t matter as many like Economist James Galbraith argue today, why should citizens even pay taxes? It would make everyone happier if they didn’t
I could never figure out whether the Platonic philosopher was aiming at the ability to offer irrefutable argument – argument which rendered him able to convince anyone he encountered of what he believed (the sort of thing Ivan Karamazov was good at) – or instead was aiming  at a sort of incommunicable, private bliss (the sort of thing his brother Alyosha seemed to possess). Read more…
I say that Marie Stopes International (which receives about £25 million a year from the NHS, much of it for killing unborn babies under contract) should be allowed to advertise its repellent services on TV. But on one condition. That each advertisement is followed by both of these: film of an actual abortion of a 24-week-old baby, and a brief documentary reminding viewers that Marie Stopes sent love poems to Adolf Hitler in August 1939, advocated compulsory sterilisation for the ‘unfit’, and cut her own son out of her will because he married a girl who wore glasses.
What sort of organisation would name itself after such a monstrous woman?
I’ve written about him once. That was in 2002. Washington University had decreed that reporters needed official permission to conduct an interview on campus. According to the new guidelines, a reporter who wanted to conduct an interview on campus was required to notify the Public Affairs office, and a person from that office would have the right to monitor the interview.
So Katz called and asked if I wanted to break the rules. Of course, I said. I went to his office and interviewed him. He wanted to talk about his bosses.
“They’re control freaks,” he said. “This kind of policy is something you’d expect from a corporation. I have nothing against corporations, but a university is a fundamentally different thing.”
He dismissed the notion of a closed campus.
“A university is a small town with public spaces open to all. There is supposed to be a free flow of ideas and people. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a real university. I’ve done a fair amount of consulting for the defense industry, and I’ve seen more freedom of thought, freedom to disagree, in the defense establishment than I see here.”
By the way, the door to his office was decorated with an American flag. That’s unusual in the physics department.
Update, May 29: More info–still not on murder specifically, and just Phoenix. Read more…
The attorney general has also used the power of the state to bully small businesses. In 2003, he sued Computers Plus Center for $1.75 million in damages for allegedly selling state government machines without specified parts. Mr. Blumenthal issued a press release accusing the business owner, Gina Malapanis, of fraud: “No supplier should be permitted to shortchange or overcharge the State without severe consequences,” he said. “We will vigorously pursue this case to recover taxpayer money and send a strong message about zero tolerance for contractor misconduct.” Ms. Malapanis was even arrested in her home on seven first-degree larceny charges.
In 2008 the charges against Ms. Malapanis were dismissed. As for the civil case, she refused to plead guilty and countersued the state for abusing its power and violating her constitutional rights. The jury, recoiling at the overly aggressive action that ruined her business, awarded her a whopping $18 million in January. In a handwritten note on court documents, the jury foreman said the state had engaged in a “pattern of conduct” that harmed Ms. Malapanis’s reputation, and cited the state’s press releases impugning her integrity, some of which came from Mr. Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal is appealing the decision.
Calderon was on with Wolf “Blitzed” last night on CNN Situation Room. Wolf Blitzer says, “What’s wrong with the folks in Arizona wanting to protect their border?”
CALDERON: In Arizona, there is some racial profiling criteria in order to enforce the law that it’s against any sense of human rights; and, of course, is provoking very disappointing, uh, things — or very disappointing opinion — in Mexico and around the world, even here in America. So to introduce this kind of elements, especially racial profiling aspect that are attempting against what we consider human rights, it’s the principle of discrimination which is against the values of this great nation.
RUSH: Yeah. Who is he to preach to us? For crying out loud, they deport more illegal immigrants from Mexico than we do! How do they catch their illegal immigrants? Do they profile them? How the hell do they find out who’s in their country illegally? Here’s the next question from Blitzer: “So if people want to come from Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador or Nicaragua, they want to just come into Mexico, can they just walk in?”
CALDERON: No! They need to fulfill, uh, a form. They need to establish their right name. We analyze if they have not a criminal precedence.
BLITZER: Do Mexican police go around asking for papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants?
CALDERON: Of course! Of course!
BLITZER: If somebody sneaks in from Nicaragua or some other country in Central America through the southern border of Mexico and they wind up in Mexico, they can going get a job?
CALDERON: No, no, no.
BLITZER: They can work?
CALDERON: If somebody do that without permissions, we send — we send back them.
RUSH: We didn’t record that ourselves. We didn’t make it up.
Unlike the U.S. Episcopal Church, which is almost entirely U.S. members plus some small dioceses from Latin America and Taiwan, United Methodism is more fully international, with about one third of its members in Africa. Amid growing United Methodist churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, among others, and a U.S. church losing about a 1,000 members weekly, the 11.4 million denomination likely will soon be majority African. At the church’s next governing General Conference in 2012, probably 40 percent of the delegates will come from outside the U.S., even further diminishing liberal hopes.
Without the religious background, there wouldn’t be any science, because the fundamental notion that separated the West from everybody else was the notion that God is rational and created a rational universe, so there were rules out there to be discovered.
Nobody else looked for the rules, because they didn’t believe they were there to be found. They didn’t believe that the world had been created in the same rational way. The marvelous thing is that these early Christian scientists, including Newton, believed God had created a rational world, went ahead and looked for the rules of that rational world — and darned if they didn’t find them. In an interesting sense, it was a scientific confirmation of the Christian religion.
Cultures change. What is overlooked about the Crusaders, and the knights and nobility of the 10th century and thereabouts, is that they were very bloody-minded. They had been raised since infancy to devote themselves to fighting. They were very sinful. They particularly were into coveting wives. And they were very religious.
The fact that these things can be combined strikes the modern mind as bizarre. But you have to deal with it if you’re going to understand these people. They would commit a horrid crime, and their confessor would say, “I don’t know if you can ever get over that one. I don’t know if atonement is in the books for you. But you better walk barefoot to the Holy Land and hope that that works.”
And they’d go. And then come back and sin some more.
the directors of the Legion issued a statement on March 26, which read, “We ask all those who accused him in the past to forgive us, those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place.” On April 25, Fr. Owen Kearns, publisher of the Legion’s newspaper, the National Catholic Register, added, “To Father Maciel’s victims, I pray you can accept these words: I’m sorry for what our founder did to you. I’m sorry for adding to your burden with my own defense of him and my accusations against you. I’m sorry for being unable to believe you earlier. I’m sorry this apology has taken so long.”
SAT Analogy Practice Test
* “Woody Allen Comes Out in Support of Polanski”–headline, Associated Press, May 16
* “Dodd Defends Blumenthal”–headline, The Weekly Standard website, May 18
Comments on the Milton Friedman Institute Protest letter
July 12 2008
(A group of University of Chicago faculty wrote a petition to our President opposing the foundation of a Milton Friedman Institute to support economic research. The full letter is here. These are my personal comments on that letter. I do not speak for or represent the Institute, the faculty committee, the University, or anyone else.)…
“Many colleagues are distressed by the notoriety of the Chicago School of Economics, especially throughout much of the global south, where they have often to defend the University’s reputation in the face of its negative image.”
If you’re wondering “what’s their objection?”, “how does a MFI hurt them?” you now have the answer. Translated, “when we go to fashionable lefty cocktail parties in Venezuela, it’s embarrassing to admit who signs our paychecks.” Interestingly, the hundred people who signed this didn’t have the guts even to say “we,” referring to some nebulous “they” as the subject of the sentence. Let’s read this literally: “We don’t really mind at all if there’s a MFI on campus, but some of our other colleagues, who are too shy to sign this letter, find it all too embarrassing to admit where they work.” If this is the reason for organizing a big protest perhaps someone has too much time on their hands.
I’ll just pick on this one as a stand-in for all the jargon in this letter. What does this oxymoron mean, and why do the letter writers use it? We used to say what we meant, “poor countries. ” That became unfashionable, in part because poverty is sometimes a bit of your own doing and not a state of pure victimhood. So, it became polite to call dysfunctional backwaters “developing.” That was already a lie (or at best highly wishful thinking) since the whole point is that they aren’t developing. But now bien-pensant circles don’t want to endorse “development” as a worthwhile goal anymore. “South” – well, nice places like Australia, New Zealand and Chile are there too (at least from a curiously North-American and European-centric perspective). So now it’s called “global south,” which though rather poor as directions for actually getting anywhere, identifies the speaker as the caring sort of person who always uses the politically correct word.
“The effects of the neoliberal global order that has been put in place in recent decades….”
Notice the interesting voice of the verb. Let’s call it the “accusatory passive.” “Has been put in place…” By who, I (or any decent writer) would want to know? Unnamed dark forces are at work.
“Many would argue that they have been negative for much of the world’s population… weakening … struggling local economies”
I can think of lots of words to describe what’s going on in, say, China and India, as well as what happened previously to countries that adopted the “neoliberal global order” like Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Billions of people are leading dramatically freer, healthier, longer and more prosperous lives than they were a generation ago. “Weakening…struggling local economies” is just factually wrong about events on this planet….
This is just the big lie theory at work. Say something often enough and people will start to believe it. It helps especially if what you say is vague and meaningless. Ok, I’ll try to be polite; a lie is deliberate and this is more like a willful disregard for the facts. Still, if you start with the premise that the last 40 or so years, including the fall of communism, and the opening of China and India are “negative for much of the world’s population,” you just don’t have any business being a social scientist. You don’t stand a chance of contributing something serious to the problems that we actually do face.
“the service of globalized capital..”
I was wondering who the subject of all these passive sentences is. Now I’m beginning to get the idea. This view has a particularly dark history. A hint: “Globalized capital” has names like Goldman and Sachs. …
The letter starts with two paragraphs of meaningless throat-clearing. (“This is a question of the meaning of the University’s investments, in all senses.” What in the world does that sentence actually mean?) I learned to delete throat-clearing in the first day of Writing 101. It’s all written in the passive, or with vague subjects. “Many” should not be the subject of any sentence. You should never write “has been put in place,” you should say who put something in place. You should take responsibility in your writing. Write “we,” not “many colleagues.” The final paragraphs wander around without saying much of anything.
The content of course is worse. There isn’t even an idea here, a concrete proposition about the human condition that one can disagree with, buttress or question with facts. It just slings a bunch of jargon, most of which has a real meaning opposite to the literal. “Global South,” “neoliberal global order,” “the service of globalized capital,” “substitution of monetization for democratization.” George Orwell would be proud.
Ignoring Liebowitz was not possible any more, however, after he submitted his counter-study officially as a comment to the JPE in September 2007. Levitt started by asking one of the authors, Koleman Strumpf, for his opinion. Strumpf handed in his reply in November. He defends the study and retaliates by pointing to alleged mistakes in Liebowitz? comment.
In addition, Levitt asked for a report from an impartial referee. The referee recommends publishing the comment in order to “save subsequent researchers from building on a flawed research foundation.” While he advises Liebowitz to rephrase his comment such that it would not contain any overt assertions of data manipulation he sides with him on almost all the critical points and comes to a damming conclusion regarding the file-sharing article: “I would suggest that the authors? conclusions are not warranted given the analysis and evidence that they provide.”
However, Levitt is not inclined to publish the comment. He anonymizes the reply by Strumpf and uses it as a second referee-report on which he bases his rejection of Liebowitz? comment.
The New Haven Independent reports:
[Susan] Bysiewicz …, a popular Democrat who’s secretary of the state … ran for attorney general instead …. [But] it turned out she might not legally qualify for the job, because she hasn’t been practicing law for the past 10 years.
The matter went to court. Bysiewicz convinced the lower court that even though she hasn’t been appearing before judges or doing technical legal work, her job as secretary of the state could still meet the legal definition of being a lawyer…. [But today the Connecticut Supreme Court] has in fact not been working as a lawyer, and is therefore ineligible to run for attorney general.
The relevant statute reads, “The Attorney General shall be an elector of this state and an attorney at law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state.”
If you could create a punctuation mark, what would its function be and what would it look like?
That’s from Hudson Collins, loyal MR reader. I’ve always liked the chess marks “!?” and “?!” and wondered why they weren’t used in standard English. The former refers to a startling move which is uncertain in merit and the latter refers to a dubious move which creates difficult to handle complications. Plus “N” could be used to mark sentences with novel ideas.
In January 2000, deranged Robert Ashman attacked Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones with a samurai sword as he conducted a surgery in his Cheltenham constituency.
Ashman seriously injured Mr Jones and stabbed to death his aide Andrew Pennington as he tried to protect the MP.
Mr Jones required 57 stiches to his hand.
Ashman later claimed he had carried out the attack because his MP was not doing enough to help him after he lost his job, got divorced and was declared bankrupt.
The former engineer was found guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder.
Sentencing the father of two at the time, a High Court judge said Ashman was so disturbed she could not foresee a time when he would be safely released.
But Ashman has since been allowed back on the streets after psychiatrists deemed him fit to be let out.
He is now living in a ‘halfway house’ in Bristol, just 35 miles away from the scene of the killing in Cheltenham.
Although he is supervised by police and has to obey a curfew, he is free to go out alone during the day.