The test for me that separates good food and great food is that of memory. Can you feel, remember, and reminisce about a meal or ingredient or sip months and years later? Or did the food immediately slip beyond your reach, remembered only as an event rather than as a taste? My sense is that the more actually memorable meals we eat, the less often, and the less extremely, we have to indulge. And that’s why I pose a single question this Saturday; what’s the furthest you’ve ever gone for a single ingredient or food?
I personally remember fondly a multi-mile jaunt across Paris for a single slice of the famous cake called opera. The steady tread of my feet on the lively Parisian pavement, the gentle rustling of the paper all French bakeries wrap their cakes in, the noisy smoky bustle of the small café I stopped in on the way back for an espresso to accompany the cake – these are the kinds of things that make that particular 12 francs, as it was then, and countless calories, worth so much more than just 12 francs and a number of calories. That cake is something I still I remember and taste – even today, I think I can describe the delicate crispness of the syrup doused almond biscuits that formed its base, or the strikingly chocolate butter cream that made that particular patissier’s effort so famous.
I’m not going to take the time now to describe too many of those memories. The story of my family’s epic quest for a warm knefe b’jbni in Damascus, culminating in a wonderful moment of shared gluttony as we tore apart a warm pound of shredded dough, walnuts, sheep’s milk cheese from a local farm, and honeyed syrup, standing under the canopy of an isolated shop in the countryside, is too long to relate here. And I covered my first taste of real cheese in two years on my own food blog a few months ago, which I almost ran back to my London hotel almost three miles away. But I did want to mention my trip today to the Butcher Shop of Boston, a lovely little butcher and wine bar (a new combination to me, to be sure) on Tremont Street in our still cold city. As soon as I walked in there, I realized that the glistening pork on the bottom rack of the meat refrigerator would have to be taken home. And rubbed simply with lemon, and then singed brutally on my cast iron skillet at the highest possible heat, black smoke billowing into the rest of my microscopic overpriced apartment, windows fully open onto the street, the meat was worth every cent I paid for it. Despite appearances from what I write, I don’t actually eat very much meat. But when I do, I want it to be gamey rather than bland –I want it to taste of something in of itself. And this pork fit the bill in a way I haven’t tasted in months – the fact that I walked four miles to get it only makes the memory that much more vivid.
So if anyone has a story about going a long way specifically for a meal or an ingredient or a food, I’d love to hear it, whether it’s a pizza, or a truffle, or a basket of particularly tasty French fries. I don’t think this is pointless gluttony – I think it’s real appreciation, the very antidote to the impotent face stuffing that was at least my own curse for such a long time.
Re: Waddling Thunder's post below about how the United States government is committing some heinous sin by banning unpasteurized cheese because of what may only be an exceedingly tiny risk to pregnant women. I'll admit, I'm not sure how much unpasteurized cheese I've eaten (I may have eaten some when I spent a week in Paris, I suppose -- maybe those were the cheeses I found too strong for my unrefined American palate and carefully urged toward my napkin quietly so as not to insult my gracious hosts, or, as the case may have been, the other restaurant patrons), but it seems a small price to pay for even an infinitesimally small risk of problems. With Kraft now making a delicious sharp cheddar flavored processed cheese product, and parmesan-style grated topping no longer even requiring refrigeration, isn't there enough pasteurized cheese to satisfy even the most discriminating cheeseheads?
Belle responds to my post about cheese, fish, and the FDA by noting that our governmental guardian angels may be right about the mercury. I admit that a known poison doesn’t seem like a great thing to be eating. I suppose my point about fish was more that I’m made skeptical of the FDA’s argument now because of what they’ve said in the past, and that their prior false alarms have diminished considerably the chance that I’ll listen to them when they do manage to be right. I have only a limited capacity for government advice, so they had better be economical with their demands on my attention
As for the cheese, I have no objection if the FDA wanted to say something like “the following products pose an exceedingly small risk of listeria to the following groups. If you don’t want to run that risk, you might want to forbear from eating them”. My agenda hardly runs to stuffing potentially murderous feta down the throats of unwilling mothers to be.
But the unequivocal commands of the FDA on this matter, and especially on unpasteurized cheese, are plainly wrong. As I mentioned to a friend last night, I know dozens of European women who did nothing during their pregnancies but guzzle the occasional glass of wine and the odd kilo of proper cheese. Their surprisingly alive and reassuringly normal progeny don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects, which of course is entirely predictable given the extremely low possibility that Europe would tolerate higher miscarriage rates than the United States. If the FDA wants to do anything, it should probably busy itself regulating the way unpasteurized cheeses are made, as Belle herself notes. Instead of this sensible measure, the FDA has chosen to divine a rule of food hygiene unknown to anyone else in the civilized world, and scoffed at by most. It’s that coercive puritanicalism I object to, not a bona fide effort to distribute information to the extremely risk averse.
Mired in finals, I didn't catch this gem from the 6-12 March Economist until yesterday:
He has perhaps the world's hardest job, but very little to do. Abdi Jimale Osman is Somalia's minister of tourism. His inbox is always empty; unsurprisingly, given that his anarchic homeland has not had a single officially acknowledged tourist in 14 years.
Somalia is not without attractions. The sun shines, the beaches are sandy and you can dine on lobster on the roof of the Sharmo Hotel, which commands a splendid view of the capital, Mogadishu. It is not safe, however. The Sharmo advises guests to hire at least ten armed guards to escort them from the airport.
Since civil war broke out in 1990, Somalia has been divided into some two dozen warring fiefs. But Mr Jimale is undaunted. "Tourists can still go and see the former beautiful sights," he says. "The only problem is they're all totally destroyed." Your correspondent admired what was left of the cathedral. Graffiti outside warned "Beware of landmines".
Mr Jimale wants donors to help re-build Somalia's national parks, though they mainly lie in areas the government does not control. "Most of the animals have disappeared too," he concedes, "Because we have eaten them."
Brave tourists can find unusual bargains in Mogadishu. In the market, a hand grenade sells for $10, a Howitzer for $20,000. For those who remain unconvinced, Mr Jimale is reassuring. "I'm sure tourists would leave Somalia alive and I'm hopeful they wouldn't be kidnapped," he says. "At least, we would try to make sure they were not kidnapped, although it can happen."
In response to my previous post, a practicing attorney emails the following:
Taught law is tough law. thirty years on I remember the cases, the rest of is bullshit you will have to unlearn anyway. I used to threaten bodily injury to associates who told me about theories.This response is certainly amusing and is not at all unexpected. Some thoughts. First, I think the law school graduate that remembers "the cases" 30 years after garduation is the exception, not the rule. Most people I know remember only the most exceptional cases beyond the relevant final exam period. It's more likely that a practicing attorney will "remember the cases" 30 years after law school as a result of repeated encounters with them in practice. That is, the cases may not have stayed in the mind from, for example, Torts through 30 years post-graduation, but through a process of continuing education the cases learned once upon a time were remembered. In this more realistic framework, I think my recommendation for a more theoretically oriented approach to teaching holds. It's my view that if students understand the theoretical underpinnings of the black letter law, that the law will be more easily recalled as a result. In a sense, the law then becomes secondary to the conceptual understanding of a subject's theoretical bases in the sense that it can be easily understood and recalled when one is able to think about it in the context of its theoretical foundations.
As for the part about threatening bodily injury to associates that might attempt to discuss theory in the office, I have no doubt that this is the view held by most partners and my suggestion was not that this should change. In my original post I made no claim for making everyday legal arguments more abstract by introducing complex theoretical perspectives. Instead, my claim was simply that lawyers would better understand the simple legal arguments if they were able to work from a solid theoretical background. Currently, law school does not do a good job of providing that background. This, I think, is a mistake.
Heidi Bond has a poem about ducks (update: It's also on Crescat below). (For previous posts on ducks, see her post and mine and hers). I'm particularly impressed with her ability to find three different rhymes for "Scalia". (For The Straight Dope's explanation of the Nintendo game Duck Hunt, go here). Anyway, here is my reply:
Ducks are green, but also yummy;
Hunt some ducks; don't be a dummy.
Heidi's world would be quite crummy,
With no ducks inside my tummy.
Stuffed with lemons, leeks, or thyme,
A noble duck caught in its prime.
Its sacrifice is quite sublime.
Hunting ducks is not a crime!
I posted this on my site.
Ducks have feathers colored green;
That's why they're so quickly seen.
With flapping wings and beaks that preen
Ducks are great! They're really keen!
Don't hunt ducks if it is rainy;
Don't hunt ducks or be called zany;
Don't hunt ducks if you are brainy;
Don't hunt ducks with Richard Cheney.
Let ducks live, a panacea
For the problems that we see-a
Hunting ducks--a bad idea!
Shame on you, Justice Scalia.
Hello! I'm Waddling Thunder, a second year student at Harvard Law School. I'll be blogging here for the next week or so, largely writing about food with one or two posts about law thrown into the mix. I'm sure most will be glad to hear that my particular brand of intransigent political analysis will be left on my own sites. For those who'd like to read my content there, though, I'll be following the rule of INS v. AP 248 U.S. 215 (1918) - that is to say, my posting here will remain here exclusively until it's no longer "fresh", at which point I'll add the posts to Waddling Thunder and The Waddling Kitchen as well.
Within the next few days, I'll have a big food essay up on this site. For now, though, let me note that the FDA says today that some people should limit fish intake. The problem with this is that the FDA says a lot of things about food, and many of them are really stupid.
A prime example is this astonishing fact sheet about dairy safety. Not only does the FDA reiterate its frankly hysterical regulatory ban on unpasteurized cheese and milk ("Unpasteurized milk and dairy products may contain harmful pathogens and are not safe to eat, drink, or use in making foods"), but it also somehow decides that even pasteurized soft cheeses are unsuitable for consumption by "pregnant women and their fetuses, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems".
This pronouncement, I think, will come as rather a surprise to the millions of pregnant women, fetuses, and elderly who eat not only the apparently deadly pasteurized soft cheeses, but unpasteurized cheeses as well. I suspect the FDA's opinion is just as surprising to the health ministers of countries where such precipice walking is a daily fact of life, given that their populaces have till now stubbornly refused to get ill or die en masse. And now they're after fish, and just a few days ago, foie gras.
I think I'm going to have to make and eat some sort of unpasterized raw egg foie gras and fish cookie dough in protest. Even if it won't change very much, at least I'll feel as if I've struck a blow for freedom.
Earlier this week, I posted some doubts about the Bioethics Commission's Being Human, especially in its co-opting of Nabokov into the cause of bioethics. Now, it seems, I may not be able to find out more:
Thank you for your interest in the works of the Council.
We regret to inform you that we have run out of copies of Being Human due to the unforeseen demand for this publication. Unfortunately, our copyright agreements prevent us from posting the book on our website or from printing further copies at this time.
We are looking at different options and will keep your name on a waiting list. We thank you for your understanding.
The President's Council on Bioethics
From the Associated Press:
Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) said Thursday its Red Lobster chain will cut back on all-you-can-eat promotions, which generated customer traffic but hurt profit margins.
Last year, an all-you-can-eat crab promotion went awry when diners loaded up on numerous refills that obliterated profit margins.
Yeah, the promotion "went awry" because people eat more than Red Lobster expected. I guess that's a polite way of saying people who go to Red Lobster are eating too much. I don't know why this amuses me, but it kind of does.
P.S. A hearty welcome to classmate and friend Waddling Thunder (see below). He promises some food entries. He should know he's competing with all-you-can-eat mass-produced crab for the readers' attention.
Since my spring break begins today, I thought we would welcome our next Crescat guest-blogger a little bit ahead of schedule. Waddling Thunder, a Harvard 2L who blogs at Waddling Thunder and the Waddling Kitchen (yum) should be posting here for the next week or so. Expect great things, even if he doesn't post immediately.
As always, feel free to email me with any complaints or thoughts or accolades, or Waddling Thunder himself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Micha Ghertner makes the noble if ill-fated case to defend the British Government from the hordes of ravaging Libertarian Economists. In case you haven't been following the case, the basic issues is that the British Government wants to reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the wrongly imprisoned by the costs of their room and board while wrongfully imprisioned.
On the one hand, Micha has a point-- a good point-- this is a cost, so surely it should be measured in the compensation formula. On the other hand, Crescatter Greg Goelzhauser writes (on his own blog)
I don’t have any knowledge of exactly how much people received in compensation, but it is almost certainly less than they deserved considering the direct costs and opportunity costs that we could value in determining payment, e.g. general happiness in pursuing leisure, procreation, spending time with loved ones living out their final years, career development, and so on. . .
Now, I certainly agree with Greg that the decision to deduct living expenses from compensation benefits may very well be wrong on practical grounds if the compensation is lower than it should be. But that’s neither here nor there.
from Michael Ondaatje's The Cinnamon Peeler
A girl whom I’ve not spoken to
or shared coffee with for several years
writes of an old scar.
On her wrist it sleeps, smooth and white,
the size of a leech.
I gave it to her
brandishing a new Italian penknife.
Look, I said turning,
and blood spat onto her shirt.
My wife has scars like spread raindrops on knees and ankles, she talks of broken greenhouse panes and yet, apart from imagining red feet, (a nymph out of Chagall) I bring little to that scene. We remember the time around scars, they freeze irrelevant emotions and divide us from present friends. I remember this girl’s face, the widening rise of surprise.
And would she
moving with lover or husband
conceal or flaunt it,
or keep it at her wrist
a mysterious watch.
And this scar I then remember
is medallion of no emotion.
I would meet you now
and I would wish this scar
to have been given with
all the love
that never occurred between us.
Toby Stern calls my attention to an interesting question he asks:
Would you read or not read someone's blog depending on their looks?
Having had New York bagels I can sadly confirm Matthew Ygelsias' New York snobbery on the subject. [Oddly enough Bloomington, IN used to be hold to some nearly-New-York-quality bagels until that bagelry closed, not long after I came to college; the Bloomington Bagel Company just isn't the same.] Also, as to pizza, he writes:
... most everywhere you go the ratio of good pizza (which is cooked to order, and served by the pie) to pizza-as-fast-food (which is re-heated, and served by the slice, often to go) is very low.
At the risk of being seen as a partisan pro-Crescatter, I concur with Heidi Bond's sentiments about Scalia's response to the recusal motion. I was quite prepared to be skeptical, but barring any out-and-out laws, I think the matter is quite eloquently settled. Supreme Court Justices have friends in high places, and so long as they all behave themselves, that's that.
I dissent, however, from Ms. Bond's sentiments that the ducks should not have been hunted. They may be small and feathered and cute and swimmy, but they are also positively delicious. [Of course, the hunting didn't go particularly well, Scalia says in his opinion, and there's no record of whether they ate them.]
UPDATE: Heidi Bond is
useless too the uselessest!.
There are lots of advantages to the young, urban, single lifestyle--the bohemian apartments in undiscovered neighborhoods, the culinary adventures, the cameraderie...(cue to chorus of "La Vie Boheme"). But there is a singular disadvantage of which I am reminded every year--the unobtainability of that pinnacle of the baker's art, the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie. (Note that while I use the singular cookie to maintain parallelism with pinnacle, I am looking to obtain more than one cookie. Several boxes of cookies would be more like it.) The problem is that as a young, urban single, I socialize pretty exclusively with other young, urban singles, who in turn socialize exclusively with other young, urban singles, which means no parents, which means no little Girl Scouts going industriously round the neighborhood with their cookie order forms.
This was never a problem when I lived with my parents. There were always random friends of the family trouping their daughters up to our doorstep to feed my addiction. But once I got out on my own and no longer had my mother behind me as I filled out my order asking, "What on earth are you going to do with ten boxes of Thin Mint cookies? You can't possibly eat that many!" Girl Scouts no longer came to me peddling their wares. It took me three years before I could locate a reliable source in Chicago, in the form of the two daughters of a woman who worked in the same office as me. Now I'm in New York, and completely at a loss.
So any Girl Scouts (or parents of Girl Scouts) who might be reading this blog here's a hint for your cookie sales. Try setting up a table outside a college dormitory, and watch your sales pour in. There's a larger point here as well about a faintly disturbing sort of cultural insularity prevalent among young, urban singles, but I'm sure it's been made by many before me.
And for those wondering how to lend your consumption of Thin Mints a more grown-up air of decadance, try accompanying them with an inexpensive ruby port. The port is sweet enough to compliment the chocolate, and assertive enough to stand up to the peppermint. It's really an addictive combination.
It still pains me when I read such prases as "children under 10 eat free" and "the meeting will begin around noon." It's "younger than 10" and "about noon" because both under and around refer to a directional or physical distinction, not a temporal one.
Under: 22. b. Below, not having attained to (a specified age).
c1400 MANDEVILLE (1839) xxvii. 278 The faireste Damyseles, that myghte ben founde undir the Age of 15 Zere. 1565 COOPER Thesaurus s.v. Minor, Vnder .xxv. yeres of age. 1570-4 BP. COX Injunct. in 2nd Rep. Ritual Comm. (1868) 406/2 Their chyldren and seruauntes..beyng of sixe yeres of age, and vnder twentie. 1658 HARRINGTON Prerog. Pop. Govt. Wks. (1700) 335 It is provided..that no man under thirty years of Age be capable of Magistracy. 1692 O. WALKER Grk. & Rom. Hist. 9 Then was Augustus under nineteen years old. 1729 JACOB Law Dict., Nonage,..is all the Time of a Person's being under the Age of One and twenty; and, in a special Sense, where one is under Fourteen, as to Marriage, &c. 1825 T. HOOK Sayings Ser. II. II. 247 He is under fifty-seven. 1885 Law Rep. 10 P.D. 189 Till their only child should attain twenty-one, or die under that age.
Around: 4. b. Of time, amount, etc.: about, sometime near. U.S.
1888 N.Y. Mercury (Farmer), Presuming he was born around three o'clock in the afternoon, he is under Leo and the Sun. 1920 Daily Tel. 3 Apr. 10/6 (N.Y. Lett.), S. Motor Company shares, which usually sell around $100 each. 1931 W. G. MCADOO Crowded Years x. 158 The convention adjourned around four o'clock.
Another thing to remember-- HR 3920 would only allow Congress to overrule unpopular Supreme Court rulings with respect to acts of Congress. If we assume Congress will generally vote to support the things that Congress voted to support (a result which may not hold for all congressmen but will surely hold for most of them), it becomes even less clear that this would get at the results that conservatives abhor. Lawrence v. Texas, for example, dealt with a state statute.
Anthony Rickey needs to lighten up.
[See critical updates below]
Whether or not it's the case that Heidi Bond and Ditzy Genius are part of the "'Bush is stupid' crowd", and whether or not it's the case that they make "Clinton-haters" look petty, I don't agree that Ms. Bond has "outlived [her] usefulness" by any stretch. (Notice, for example, her occasional welcomed presence on Crescat, and also her own wonderful blog).
Mr. Rickey's counterpoint-- that the men in the curious photo aren't really being fired, and that "pink slips" are merely symbolic-- are both useful nits to pick. But picking such nits while also launching into an ill-considered attack on an entire class of speakers is not just unwise, it's likely to hurt one's credibility among neutral readers.
Anyway, always be skeptical when partisan speakers tell speakers of the other political persuasion that they are no longer useful. Anthony Rickey may not find Heidi Bond's blog valuable, entertaining or funny (though how he could not is beyond me), but hundreds of readers (including this one) apparently disagree.
[Incidentally, I thought some of the "petty" Clinton-hating was quite entertaining (which is to say valuable) too. Maureen Dowd's columns back in the Clinton days were certainly much more pleasurable to read than her bizarre attack on Justice Clarence Thomas.]
There's nothing wrong with attacking viewpoints with which one disagrees (witness this post). Nor is there anything wrong with nit-picking when one believes that other people are playing a bit too free-and-easy with the facts (although I abstain on whether that's an accurate characterization of the Bond-Rickey battle); I'm a dedicated nit-picker myself. But, as I said, Anthony Rickey needs to lighten up.
UPDATE: Anthony Rickey emails to tell me that I've jumped to conclusions. When he declares that a crowd of people are useless, he does not necessarily mean that each individual person in that crowd, in all of their other capacities, are useless. [In other words, he claims-- Crowd X is useless; Person Y is in Crowd X; Person Y might still not be useless.] Further, he denies that it can be reasonably inferred from what he wrote that he does not find Letters of Marque "valuable, entertaining or funny".
UPDATE the SECOND:
I had hoped that I could comment on the Bond-Rickey fracas intelligently and amusingly, and it's clear from some responses I've received that I've not succeeded at that. In the future I'll leave this sort of blog infighting to them; they're better at it than I am.
Jayson Blair fights back against Jack Shafer-- an ill-considered move, considering that Jack Shafer has a Slate column and legitimate writing chops. Shafer is right and Blair is wrong (caveat: I haven't actually read Blair's book, but as Slate says, I don't think I have to).
Anyway, I'm just wondering whether Shafer's allusion to The Fountainhead is intentional or accidental. [Query: If it's accidental, is it still an allusion?] Shafer writes:
If my familiarity with the paper constitutes a "conflict of interest," then I'm guilty. Is Blair saying that a writer who knows nothing about the Times or has never written about it should have been assigned to review his book? Should poets review books on science and baseball players review books about opera?Ayn Rand's Gail Wynand (editor of The Banner) knew this tactic well, though he used it not to acheive objectivity but rather to destroy men's souls:
It was a long process and there had been permonitory signs, but Scarret did not notice a ccertain new trait in Gail Wynand's character until Wynand was forty-five. Then it became apparent to many. Wynand lost interest in breaking industrialists and financiers. He found a new kind of victim. People could not tell whether it was a sport, a mania or a systematic pursuit. They thought it was horrible, because it seemed so vicious and pointless.
It began with the case of Dwight Carson. Dwight Carson was a talented young writer who had achieved the spotless reputation of a man passionately devoted to his convictions. He upheld the cause of the individual against the masses. He wrote for magazines of great prestige and small circulation, which were no threat to Wynand. Wynand bought Dwight Carson. He forced Carson to write a column in the Banner, dedicated to preaching the superiority of the masses over the man of genius. It was a bad column, dull and unconvincing; it made many people angry. It was a waste of space and of a big salary. Wynand insisted on continuing it. . . .
A few months later Wynand bought a young writer from a radical magazine, a man known for his honesty, and put him to work on a series of articles glorifying exceptional men and damning the masses. That, too, made a great many of his readers angry. He continued it. He seemed not to care any longer about the delicate signs of effect on circulation.
He hired a sensitive poet to cover baseball games. He hired an art expert to handle financial news. He got a socialist to defend factory owners and a conservative to champion labor. He forced an atheist to write on the glories of religion. He made a disciplined scientist proclaim the superiority of mystical intuition over the scientific method. He gave a great symphony conductor a munificent yearly income, for no work at all, on the sole condition that he never conduct an orchestra again.
I think that unconstitutional legislation serves as a useful safety valve in our system. (I'd love to figure out some way to test that, but I don't have any plans of doing the research myself any time soon... perhaps it's a subject that's already been written on).
(the simplified story) Congressmen can get a certain number of brownie points with their constituents by sponsoring bills and voting for them; if the bill is then struck down, they can complain that they did their best but goshdarnit, those conservatives/liberals on the Supreme Court struck it down. And the constituency is outraged, and they re-elect the Congressman who appoints to the bench more liberal justices/more members of the Federalist Society. And I'm happy because now there are more justices who are either using possible sketchy means of Constitutional interpretation to enact worldviews I don't mind, or there are more justices lecturing a conservative Congress on its lack of power to conservatize the country. It's not a perfect system, and other parts of the country are still mad, but neh, whatever.
But if "The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004" (HR 3920) were passed, Congress would have the authority to decide whether or not a proper regard for federalism and the separation of powers endowed them with the authority to pass the bills they pass. I suspect (again, a hunch) that currently, Congressmen might not bother wasting their political capital fighting bills they don't particularly like but suspect the courts will strike down anyway. With HR 3920, potentially unconstitutional bills would become more contentious, as disapproving Congressmen could no longer dismiss them with a wave, "ah, those guys are just blowing off steam again, we'll vote with them to keep the silly constituency happy, thank god for the courts' understanding of federalism." And then the bill becomes an act, is struck down, Congress retrieves it under HR 3920, and a group of people who aren't really qualified to have the debate (more unqualified in the House than the Senate) and certainly aren't unbiased try to figure out the requirements of federalism.
I'm not liking this. Let the states take care of Violence against Women, Gun-Free School Zones, and Religious Freedom. Don't put it in the hands of Congress.
As a Congressman, I would support such a bill, even if I knew it would never be used. Why? To tell the courts that we've had it with courts using the Constitution to enact the personal policy preferences. To tell them we've had it with courts thinking that they are some sort of super-legislature with power to set social policy on everything from economics to sexuality. And to remind them that in a democracy, it is the will of the people - not of nine unelected old men and women - that is the ultimate authority.
Eric Asimov takes a pleasant little trip down memory lane in the Times dining section, lamenting the expense of the delicious wines he once found for $6.
I just thought I'd clarify a few numbers-- the $6 (in 1980s dollars) Giacomo Conterno, Aldo Conterno and Bruno Giacosa cost $10-15 inflation-adjusted dollars, so they've really "only" doubled or tripled in price. The $8 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Le Orme 2001 that Asimov deems a grad-student wine would have been a $3.50-4.50 wine back in his golden days of grad. school.
This isn't to cast any aspersions on his judgments on the wine, just to try to put his numbers in better perspective.
Inflation adjustments via WestEgg
Dahlia Lithwick reports on a bill that would give would give Congress veto power over certain Supreme Court decisions. In his remarks on the floor introducing the bill, Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY) complained that judicial activism was taking too much power out of the hands of the people's branch of government:
"I am introducing legislation today to address these serious, pressing issues in a direct and forceful manner. The bill that I have authored, if enacted, will allow Congress, by a two-thirds majority of each House, to reverse a judgment of the Supreme Court. This additional check may only be enforced on rulings concerning the constitutionality of an act of Congress following the enactment of this bill.
"In his first Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln warned, 'The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.'"
Were this bill to pass Congress, I can't see that the Rehnquist court would do anything but strike it down. What happens if a two-thirds vote of both houses decides the Court ruled wrongly in invalidating the act?
Miss L. Butler-to-be-Biedermann discusses her incredibly sensible reasons to change her name, namely, she thinks she'd rather be a Biedermann. I think this is a great way to think of it.
For instance, when deciding between Saltanovitz and Przybylski, you choose Przybylski because it will confound every professor for ages. If you go to law school, you will almost certainly not get called on the first day of class. The professor will look at you and say "Ms. Per--per. Um. Okay. Mr. Baude, why don't you tell us the facts of the case."
In my case, I'm particularly happy with my last name. First I was a chemist (okay, fourth I was a chemist, but let's not count). Compare my last name. How cool is that? And I could name my kids things like Ionic and Covalent if I wanted to watch them slowly go mad.
Now I'm a law student. Compare my last name. How cool is that? I can still watch my kids go mad by naming them Jail and Savings (depending on how I like my criminal law sliced). Of course, none of this precludes me from calling them Ionic or Covalent anyways. They let you do that. (In a complete aside about bad things to name kids, I have this story which is complete hearsay--"friend of a friend"--about some guy who was named something pronounced "Shah-theed." It got spelled, in immigrations, as S-H-I-T-H-E-A-D). They would even let me name a child James.
At any rate, those are basically the only ways to choose what name to use: for practical reasons, or to drive your kids mad. For that last reason, you might want to choose hyphenation, particularly if you already have a hyphenated last name. Przybylski-Butler weds Saltanovitz-Biedermann, forming the Przybylski-Biedermann-Saltanovitz-Butler conglomerate, a last name so long that children expire before they can finish saying it (which reminds me of another story about a bad name, Tikki tikki tembo no sarembo chari bari ruchipep pip peri pembo. Spelling not guaranteed; pretty sure that's exactly the way my mom read it to us though). Extrapolate two generations for complete mayhem.
[Hal Sirowitz] finished his term as the official poet laureate of Queens in December, and ever since, a committee of Queens librarians and professors has been struggling to find his replacement. The winner must be someone who has lived in Queens for at least five years and has written, in English, "poetry inspired by the borough."
The committee has not found anyone.
PG expresses her skepticism of tofu here. This is a skepticism I still occasionally share, though it's been muted by a year of living and cooking with a vegetarian. Luckily for all, Mark Bittman comes to the rescue in this week's Minimalist column: "Tofu Without a Grimace".
How not to turn in a paper:
1: Begin paper at midnight the night before it is due.
2: With eyes hurting terribly, go to sleep with paper half-finished.
3: Wake up, finish paper.
4: Go to library to print paper.
5: Realize that one has forgotten to send one's paper to oneself, leave library to go back home.
6: Realize that one has forgotten one's notes and appendices in the library, return to the library.
7: Return home, with notes, send paper to oneself.
8: Blog about the whole thing.
9: Return to library, print out paper (expected).
10: Collapse (expected).
In the spirit of Mark Kleiman's post about how bloggers (journalists that we are) should cover the foibles of both sides, Ampersand has a post up taking the Feminist Majority to task for its false claim that "The fate of Roe still hangs by ONE VOTE on the Supreme Court."
Ampersand also goes on to discuss whether a Bush re-election might still lead to Roe's demise (unlikely, but possible) and to remind us that the fate of Roe did hang by one vote in 1992, when Justice Kennedy was the crucial swing vote who changed his mind after Rehnquist had drafted the anti-Roe opinion.
Finally Ampersand's point that if Bork had been confirmed, things would have gone differently. Has anybody conducted serious speculation as to what Judge Douglas Ginsburg would have done if he had been confirmed (remember, he was the judge nominated between Bork and Kennedy, who got in trouble for smoking marijuana)?
I attend a school that is overwhelmingly focused on churning out lawyers. Black letter law is taught to the exclusion of theoretical perspectives in most classes on the understanding that the result will be the optimal preparation of students for becoming practicing attorneys. I think this approach misguided and have long argued so to anyone who will listen. Nate Oman nicely summarizes my main point in these discussions when he says, "I think that lawyers who understand [the] various sorts of frameworks that can lie beneath doctrinal structures are likely to be better lawyers."
That most law schools continue to adhere predominantly to a black letter approach boggles the mind. The usual response to this argument is something along the lines of, "Students need to know the law." Of course! No one could argue with a straight face that law schools should abandon the practice of teaching "the law" to students at least in some form. But this should simply be a starting point. People learn and quickly forget the doctrinal structure of most courses, but it has been my experience that solid theoretical foundations remain past the final exam.
Part of the problem, of course, is that most students (especially at schools like FSU) not only don't care about theoretical foundations, but react against being taught in such a way. For example, one of FSU's superstars (of course, very few people here know he is a superstar) does teach--indeed, focuses on--the theoretical foundations underlying the subject matter of a particular course. No one takes it, though, because of this. Moreover, many of those that do tend to give poor evaluations at the end because they feel like their time has been wasted. Meanwhile, for me, this particular class was the first I enjoyed in law school, and as a result of focusing on the framework that lies beneath the doctrinal structure (as Nate my phrase it) I still to this day remember most of the black letter law important to the course. Of course, this is just one example and I am just one student, but I think it may be illustrative of the potential in teaching theoretical foundations given an open mind set amongst the students.
Libertarians, free speech, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Indiana, and random legal trivia, all in the same blog post. I wish I had something to add to this, but I don't. Perhaps I will once I read the opinion for myself.
The basic argument between Posner and Easterbrook (dubitante) seems to be whether the 7th Circuit's job is to follow the principles of Constitutional Law laid down as they best understand them, or to best predict what 5 Supreme Court Justices would say were they to handle the case.
While I certainly appreciate Miss L. Butler's trade up to Biedermann, I certainly don't forsee a throng of male Butlers trading in for their partners' more interesting names.
Sure, one name in a family might make things less confusing to telemarketers and the PTA, but unless that name was decided with a coin toss, or as in Miss L. Butler's case, was chosen because it was the cooler of the two names, I can't see why any woman would take on her husband's name.
Maybe I feel strongly about this because I happen to have an incredibly salty name.
Like Will, I find hyphenation a response that only is good for a generation or so, not to mention that it doesn't work so well with salty names. I had a friend in high school whose mother's last name was Saltanovitz and father's last name was Przybylski. They did the most equitable thing I can think of: each parent used his or her own name, one child became Saltanovitz, and the other became Przybylski. As far as I know, the family doesn't feel disunified because of embracing both names. When I first learned this as a fourth grader, it seemed the most logical thing to do and appealed to my sense of fairness. It still does.
As Crescat lacks comments and the writer of this post lacks a blog, it's going up under my name. A caveat: normally when a Miss Butler is referred to on this blog, the speaker has Sara Butler (of no relation) in mind. This Miss Butler is Laura Butler (relation: twin sister). Soon, as she explains, she'll leave this headache behind. She writes in response to my mention of her on the ongoing maiden name debate. -- Amanda
As someone who is about to give up her maiden name for her fiance's, I'd like to argue that there are plenty of non-oppressive logical and emotional reasons for my decision.
Back in elementary school I realized how common my last name was compared to some of my friends with Germanic or Dutch last names. I was always slightly envious of them since their last names could easily be looked up in a phone book. I wanted to be more unique, not just one last name out of three or so columns of "Butlers."
As far as a professional name, I am in the sciences, so papers I author will have my name as FirstInitial. LastName. There are already many Butler scientists, including another L. Butler who happens to be my father. About six months ago I did a quick search by author for Biedermann. I only found a few Biedermanns cited and no other L. Biedermanns. Thus using L. Biedermann will be a professional advantage for me.
Almost everyone I've talked with in a relationship enjoys bumming things off of their significant other. For example, I am wearing my fiance's sweatshirt right now, despite owning an equally warm one. If my fiance were to give me the sweatshirt, it would be less desirable to me since I would no longer be wearing his sweatshirt. Although we could share the sweatshirt, I argue that it can only belong to one person at a time since the two of us can obviously not both wear it at the same time.
My fiance's last name, however, can belong fully to both of us for all eternity. I get the enjoyment of always wearing something that is his. Always wearing his last name is much better than always wearing his sweatshirt since a last name is equally practical in August as in a March snowstorm.
A personal benefit of taking a new last name is that I can now trade in one of the most overused middle names in the English language, Elizabeth, for the much more unique middle name of Butler. Other than that I like the way the script 'z' looks, Elizabeth doesn't really do anything for me.
Finally, I see marriage as a fabulous way to double one's family size and I want my married name to reflect the fact that I now have two wonderful families. I think Laura Butler Biedermann reflects that pretty well. My mom changed her name the same way when she got married and I believe so did my Granny. I love my fiance's mom and grandmother, so I am very happy to become a Mrs. Biedermann like them.
The folks at the new blog De Novo have yet another day in their legal education symposium up. It includes great pieces by Dahlia Lithwick, De Novo's (and Crescat's) own Jeremy Blachman, and others, which put to shame this offering by yours truly.
... ultimately, I think it's incredibly important for a family to have the same name. A family isn't just a collection of autonomous individuals, but shares a common identity. So, my thinking lately, is that I'll pull a Hillary when I get married and keep my last name as a middle name: Sara Butler X.
Firstly, a bit of disclosure-- my mother and I don't share the same last name. This never struck me as odd growing up (though occasionally I wondered why people kept assuming my mother's name was Mrs. Baude), and I can't think of anybody who's had serious trouble grasping our familial relationship. Maybe Sara's future family will have that trouble and it's important for them to have the family name to rally around. I don't know.
But I find Sara's proposed solution underwhelming. Consider, for example, my sister and occasional co-blogger, Leora Baude. Suppose Leora were to marry some nice gentleman named Tony Trollope. Sara's claim is that for those two to be a family, Leora Baude must become Leora Trollope. But if name-identity is a key part of family-identity, then doesn't Leora cease to be a part of the Baude family? (Men, of course, don't have this problem under Sara's proposed solution). According to Sara, the way for Leora to bridge both worlds, be part of both her hypothetical husband's family and her brother's, is to take both both names and become Leora Baude Trollope (like Sara Butler X). [Why not take her husband's name as the middle name, become Sara X Butler or Leora Trollope Baude?]
This is an improvement over the old world where women who married left one family for the next while men of course retained both, but it leaves something to be desired. Why not have both man and woman hyphenate their names? (Y and Sara X-Butler; Tony and Leora Baude-Trollope) I don't think it's important for all members of a family to share a name, but if it is important, then shouldn't that family name be created by the family?
Of course, when Jack Baude-Trollope wants to marry Amy X-Butler, things get tricky. The quadruple hyphenation will quickly grow unweildy (for when Robert Baude-Trollope-X-Butler wants to marry Mary Johnson-Smith-Y-Butler, their new name would become . . . ). Selective re-hyphenation is a possibility-- they could be Jack and Amy X-Trollope (or some other combination), but then we have trouble again. If we agree with Sara's assumption that name-sharing is important to family identity, then don't the newly rechristened Jack and Amy X-Trollope cease to be in the same family as grandfather Pat Baude (Leora Baude-Trollope's father)? Another option would be to retroactively force grandfather Patrick Baude to change his name (to Baude-X or Baude-Trollope), but a system of marital name-changes that requires grandfathers-in-law to change their name in order to retain their family ties to the betrothed seems truly unweildy.
Sara's solution may work for her, in which case that's great, but I suggest it's very incomplete for many people, and its incompleteness shows what's wrong with her notion that families must share a last name. The trouble is that many of us belong to a lot of families at once (or alternatively, one large family encompassing many surnames), and when four grandparents come together, one would then have to either saddle the grandkids with four names (and pity their grandkids), or to force some of the grandparents to abandon their names, which (according to Sara) means abandoning their previous families, and so on.
The alternative (my suggestion) is to recognize that family identity and family ties are sufficiently important that they don't need to be consistently codified through surnames, but can be retained and affirmed and declared and made through regular contact or love or shared tradition or ritual or so many other things. This isn't to say that names and families aren't important, only that as a long-term equilibrium, there's no good way to have a 1:1 correlation between names and families.
[Of course, I don't share Yglesias's suggestion that women ought to "do their part for the cause" either.]
The Katie Roiphe article that I linked to earlier today contains a small discussion of the Lucy Stoners — the first organized group of women to keep their maiden name — and the troubles they sometimes received when traveling. On that subject, she quotes a critical 1925 article: "some of its resulting confusions are indelicate and therefore may merely be hinted at. Many moral hotel clerks are troubled at the assignment of rooms to the traveling Lucy Stoners and their husbands."
The implication is that hotels did not want to assign shared rooms to unmarried couples. The predicament occurs in fiction: William Styron's Sophie's Choice and Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. But I can't find mention of the predicament in the only vaguely relevant history I have lying around (David Langum's Crossing over the Line, on the Mann Act). Was this ever either a law or a frequent hotel policy — that rooms should not be let to unmarrieds?
How would such a rule be enforced? I imagine that in those days, even fewer women had driver's licenses (one of my grandmothers didn't get hers until the mid-1960s). If the purported husband were the only driver, he might have the only ID. He would probably also have the cash or the traveler's checks. How would any couple who wished to pass themselves off as married and who could do so with a straight face ever be caught out? Or did the rule only come up if the local loose woman was trying to check in with the third different man of the week? Did the rule that I think once was actually exist?
Amanda asks below, "who would give this crackpot money?"
Since you asked, (thanks to the lovely OpenSecrets) I'll tell you.
The only Hyde Park resident to give LaRouche money is retired teacher Anne M Stefan. There are 57 other donors in Illinois by my count, including:
Dr. Cathy M. Helgason, of the University of Illinois at Chicago; "company president" David Casden, featured in a (German?) article that google translates shoddily here ("is the only candidate, who understands the world situation in the large one and shows large guidance qualities in handling such questions. . ."); Joe Kinder, an organic farmer/auto tech and the (related?) Lloyd Kinder, an organic farmer; Richard Kostelz, a Catholic Priest in Joliet; Gary Kuhns, another farmer (and a director of Illini FS Inc.); the amusingly-named Fred Mocking; Betsy Ramp (enigmatically listed as "SELF EMPLOYED/CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRA"); Truman Schrage, a self-employed sawyer; a Chicago cement finisher named Ernest Washington Jr, and plenty more.
I don't know if that sheds any light on anything, but I just thought I'd offer.
UPDATE: On a vaguely related note, in case you were wondering who V.I. Warshawski author Sara Paretsky (who seems to live here in Hyde Park) has given to lately: Emily's List, Jean Carnahan, Dick Durbin, Wesley Clark, Ron Kirk, Jan Schneieder, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Jan Schakowsky (as well as Bill Clinton and Carol Mosely-Braun in earlier times).
Tomorrow's New York Times will feature this nice long article on Tennessee whiskey by RW Apple-- not what I should be reading when I have a paper on the use of statistics in NCAA games to write.
Say what you will about the rest of the Times, but RW Apple's food and drink articles will keep me reading for a long time.
Good Guy: Barack Obama
The election results so far, with 48% of the precints reporting, show Obama has 63% of the Democratic votes for Senator.
Psycho Guy: Lyndon LaRouche
The same election results show he's got 2,546 votes in Illinois so far, less than any other presidential candidate, including the ones who've dropped the race. But who's voting for him? His campaign bio describes him as an economist and footwear industry person who proudly notes that he
is the only presidential candidate to have been convicted in a Federal criminal case. As the measure of a man's virtue is often the numerousness and savagery of his enemies, the fraudulent character of that conviction is, in fact, the most powerful proof of his exceptional qualifications for election to be President.
Scan his website, who would give this crackpot money? OpenSecrets.org's presidential tally shows he's actually got slightly more campaign contributions than Kucinich, and ten times as much as Sharpton.
The OpenSecrets.org bio on him describes him as "a perennial presidential candidate whose political views are said to have started out as left-wing socialist and gravitated to the far right." -- perhaps he's attracting other of that ilk to get $771,453 from the top industry of "retired." His top sectors are all over the place, with a minor bulge at agribusiness.
His top contributors include $10,260 from Lockheed Martin, $9,625 from the US Postal Service, and between $5,100 and $2,620 from the cities and states of New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. Is the latter hush money to induce him and his blasted soundtrucks to leave? People living in Illinois aren't major donors, so why are his pamphlets all over Hyde Park?
I just don't get it. LaRouche has complaints -- "I Stand at the Bedside of a Doomed Empire" -- about globalization, immigration, and the decline of the American society. The costs (or existence of the latter) might the topic of a rational discussion, but not one in which someone as paranoid as LaRouche participates.
I've already offered some thoughts on the Spanish Election and the "we don't negotiate" line.
Julian Sanchez and Matthew Yglesias both have interesting posts on the game theory of negotiating with terrorists. Sanchez points out that capitulation has a short-term advantage to the country that capitulates, since if Al-Qaeda wants its targets to keep capitulating, it has to make sure that it offers rewards to capitulating. Yglesias argues that Al-Qaeda's decisions to commit further acts of terrorism is controlled more by its ability to do so than by the political returns to terrorism.
I think both of these are roughly true. Obviously if the rewards to terrorism (whatever rewards AQ is seeking) fell to negative levels, or even just very small positive ones, AQ might look for more effective ways of acheiving its ends. But since running terrorist cells isn't a terribly substitutable skill, taking a hard line is very unlikely to drive AQ out of the terrorism racket.
That said, it might have some effect on market entry-- if we lived in a world where terrorism was only very marginally effective, maybe more young angry kids would go into religion or politics. These kinds of long-term social effects are notoriously difficult to predict, however. Furthermore, as Sanchez points out, if there are a very small number of competent and coordinated terrorist actors, they have an incentive to lay off for a while when they get something they want. [A version of this idea is often used to try to model organized crime, and to explain the conventional wisdom that organized crime is much less violent to a community than unorganized crime is.]
To a large extent these observations are moot, since political reaction to terrorist attacks is driven by a mass-public which doesn't do game theory calculations and doesn't want to-- whether you think it votes wisely or not.
Will Spain's capitulation cause Al-Qaeda to move on to other targets? If so, the world-utility-maximizing tactic might be for "strong" countries to "stand firm" while "weak" countries "capitulate," (where "strong" and "weak" define a country's vulnerability to terrorism, the ability of its intelligence and law enforcement to stymie terrorist attack, and the likelihood that the country will be crippled by political unrest or rioting in the wake of an attack). This would force Al-Qaeda (if it wanted to have any political effects at all besides sheer carnage-- and it may not) to concentrate its attacks on the "strong" countries (to keep giving the "weak" countries an incentive to capitulate), which are precisely those countries where terrorist attacks will be the least harmful.
People who weigh the lives of fellow citizens much more heavily than those in allied countries may find this sort of analysis objectionable, as might those who think there are flat-out moral imperatives about how to respond to this sort of thing. But I think it can be illuminating-- it's sort of a geo-political equivalent of old-Western machismo: "Do what you want with me but let the girl go," or "If you want to mess with him you'll have to get through me."
Anyway, Pejman Yousefzadeh, Dan Drezner, and (especially) Chris Lawrence have plenty more thoughts and links.
The recent proliferation of BlogAds provides some amusement. You can, for example, advertise at Talking Points for anywhere between $125 and $400, depending on where you want the ad to appear. The rates for Daily Kos, meanwhile, range from $300 to $700. If you're looking for more bang for your buck, try Southern Appeal at $10, Matthew Yglesias at $30, or Dan Drezner at $35.
It appears you can advertise pretty much anything, so there is no reason to be left out of the action. I've seen ads for campaigns, books, and magazines. I've even seen a congratulations message to a recently minted Ph.D. I must say, though, that the advertisement that has most amused me thus far is one for a blog. You may have seen it on Professor Bainbridge's blog. If not, click the link and look for the face staring you in the eyes on the left sidebar. [Update: Shortly after this post, the ad was moved to the right sidebar.]
That particular advertisement was also the genesis of an interesting exchange:
Prof. Bainbridge: I'm beginning to think [using BlogAds] is an experiment that failed.
Advertiser: If I may make a suggestion to Professor Bainbridge: move your BlogAds back to the top-left of your page, above the "Management" header. This is the first place nearly all visitors look, which will increase the likelihood of a click-through for those ads. If you want to sell more ads you need to produce better results.
My first ad, for The Ezine Directory, received a dismal 0.283% CTR. My current ad (for this blog) is producing an even worse result (0.163% CTR) -- most likely because his readers are not interested in what I have to say.
Don't get me wrong on this though: I didn't purchase a BlogAd from Professor Bainbridge because I expected great results ... rather, I purchased the ad to show my support for his blog. I feel that getting this blog mentioned on the larger sites, especially while it's growing, is well worth the $20 I paid to support Professor Bainbridge.
I noted earlier that Randy Barnett will be in Bloomington, Indiana next week. A reader emails to tell me who will also be speaking at Notre Dame Law School, March 24th, at 12:15pm in the Law School Court Room. If you will miss him in Bloomington, here's another chance.
Alas, despite this being my spring break, and despite living in Bloomington and going to school within a quick train ride from Notre Dame, I will miss Professor Barnett twiceover.
On the bright side, spring break promises a trip to much-missed New York, and reunion with several scattered friends. [Blogwise, next week also promises a wonderful guest bloggers and a wonderful edition of our 20 Questions series.]
Rehasing the old concerns, Katie Roiphe's The Maiden Name Debate in Slate suggests a modern alternative open to married women: legally change the last name to match the husbands for the sake of the bureaucracies that deal with the children and airplane tickets, keep using the maiden name for social and professional occasions.
Works for me. Hyphens are too long. Random combo names are worse. A friend once changed his name from the mostly unpronouncable "Xu" to "Xosa," rhyming with "Sammy Sosa" (he then spent a while trying to decide if it began with a "K" or a "Z" sound...).
Minimizing bureaucratic headaches is good. At the moment, I'm perfectly willing to answer the phone as Mrs. Agarwala, for phone companies find it plausible that as my roommate's wife I can speak for him and say that we don't want our service changed. When I tried answering as the roommate, they wouldn't accept my refusal and kept calling back to speak to him. But given that I'm willing to fake my name and relation now to people who'll never know the difference, I can't see that would change if more of what I claimed were true.
The other question is, what name do I have the opportunity to pick up? I'm not especially enamoured of Butler -- it's easy to spell and pronounce, but that's it. My mother's family had the names Johnston and Dockins, which are pretty manageable but nicely rarer. My sister will become Mrs. Biedermann in July. As she's an undergrad, she avoids the problem of switching one's name mid-career, but she's left my father and me in a bit of a bind as neither of us is a very good speller (hopefully she's not reading this...). I already resent having to spell my name in stores. I can't imagine willingly making it worse.
But really, as much as I grumble about my name, I can't think of myself as anyone but Amanda Butler. Fits the reactionary tendancies some say I have. Even if that image isn't grounded in anything easy to explain or even very strong, the personal preference I have in that direction still strikes me as more compelling than any reason I've heard for changing it. Social norm? I was surprised to hear that my sister would be changing her name; she was surprised that I thought she would plan to keep "Butler." Sisters expecting each other to do the same as each one does for herself, I suppose.
See also: The Christian Science Monitor's Japan's maiden names are for maidens Only".
UPDATE AGAIN: My sister's thoughts are above.
Now I'm looking out my window. And looking at the calendar. March. Hmm. Does it snow in March? How should I know? I don't know anything about snow, except that whatever it's doing, it's snowing now. Either it snows in March or it is not March; possibly it is "not snowing" but I have been inculcated by months of Michigan winter and the concept of "not snowing" seems foreign.
Amanda's post below inspired me to click the link. This is not what I found:
MARGARET BAXTER (D) NOT RECOMMENDED
Margaret Baxter is "NOT RECOMMENDED" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Baxter was admitted to practice in Illinois last Wednesday. At this stage of her career, Ms Baxter does not possess the depth and breadth of experience to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
HAROLD T. O'SHAUGHNESSY (D) NOT RECOMMENDED
The candidate is currently carrying on a fairly open affair with the wife of one of the members of the Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) screening board and, therefore, according to the rules put in place the last time this happened, is automatically found NOT RECOMMENDED.
HEATHER ROGERS (D) NOT RECOMMENDED
Heather Rogers is "NOT RECOMMENDED" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. The candidate's improvident habit of wearing nothing at all under her robe, combined with an unpleasant body odor, makes her unqualified to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
REBECCA JANE SIMPSON (D) NOT RECOMMENDED
Rebecca J. Simpson is "NOT RECOMMENDED" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. While Ms. Simpson is involved in bar association and pro bono work, her inability to explain the four dead bodies in the trunk of her car resulted in a "Not Recommended" finding.
GEORGE ROBERT TAYLOR (D) NOT RECOMMENDED
George R. Taylor is "NOT RECOMMENDED" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. His failure to pass the bar -- indeed, his failure to earn a degree from any accredited law school licensed to send candidates to the Illinois bar -- along with his relative youth and inexperience (Mr. Taylor is four years old) forces us to issue a "Not Recommended" finding despite his pleasant demeanor and healthy appetite.
WILL WHITE (R) NOT RECOMMENDED
Will White is "NOT RECOMMENDED" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. White has been deceased for fourteen years. (Although he did vote three times in the most recent election.)
Writing my Drezner exam, I've had a playlist of various wordless classical and jazz tunes playing more-or-less non-stop, and mostly without even being aware of what's playing. Some of my music-loving friends are baffled by this ability to not hear what's on; they love music so they can't just ignore it and let it be helpful background noise. [This isn't to say that I don't love music, but I certainly have less of an ear for it than a lot of folks do.] I noticed this morning, though, that this inability to not-hear what's playing isn't entirely limited to music-lovers but also extends to some of us folks with tin ears.
Vladimir Nabokov, on background music:
The social or economic structure of the ideal state is of little concern to me. My desires are modest. Portraits of the head of the government should not exceed a postage stamp in size. No torture and no executions. No music, except coming through earphones, or played in theaters.
Why no music?
I have no ear for music, a shortcoming I deplore bitterly. When I attend a concert . . . I endeavor gamely to follow the sequence and relationship of soudns but cannot keep it up for more than a few minutes.
At least it's something to go on. I took a course last winter, covering voting systems among other things, from a teacher who confessed, "I'm a 3L in the law school and I don't even know who to vote for judges." He'd even been in Chicago longer than most 3Ls — a lifer since 2003 for undergrad and for JD/Econ phD.
Jacob Levy speaks the truth once more, this time in response to the notion that the Spanish elections marked a victory for Al-Qaeda. ("Part of what it is to maintain a free society in wartime is to retain the ability to switch back and forth between the credible patriotic governing parties. . .")
Relatedly, I just read this intriguing article on Sunk Costs (via Brian Weatherson), suggesting-- more or less-- that it can be perfectly rational to develop a reputation as a really stubborn son-of-a-----. According to Kelly, a true sunk-cost-honorer would render most terrorist activity counter-productive, because the more you made him (the stubborn son-of-a------) lose, the greater would be his need to toe a hard line and vindicate all of that past sacrifice.
But of course there's more to life-- and to government-- than responding to terrorism, and it's a blow to democracy if we let terrorist attacks control our elections in either direction. As Levy says, "If the Socialists were not appeasers before M-11-- if a victory on their part wouldn't have been a victory for terrorism-- then the intervening act of terrorism doesn't change that."
This isn't to say I particularly wanted the Spanish socialists to prevail, but labelling their electoral victory as if it were a broader moral failing seems to be going overboard and missing the point.
I (as well as Amanda) will be starting Professor Drezner's 24-hour take-home exam in 18 minutes, so hopefully there won't be too much blogging from us today.
To tide you over until my co-bloggers start writing, I'm re-publishing the results of my Focal Points investigation, which I posted last Friday afternoon, so y'all who don't read blogs on weekends (and we can tell from our sitemeter there are a lot of you) may have missed it:
Some time ago, I asked readers:
If you had to meet somebody you'd never met before someplace in Chicago, but you hadn't agreed on a time or a place, and you couldn't talk to them in advance, where and when would you go, hoping that the other person would pick the same time and place? I have my hypotheses, but I'm curious to see what other people say.
The nature of this game (hence the title "Focal Point") is to see if there is some answer that is so expected that everybody expects everybody else will pick it. One common example is driving on the right side of the road. Even if there were no rule against it, people presumably would drive on the right side of the road, because that's what everybody else is likely to do, and it's better that there not be any mixups. Of course, in other places everybody drives on the left side of the road, for the exact same reason.
Now, your answers: Some 85% of you agreed on a single time-- high noon. This didn't particularly surprise me, as it's one of those times that has a special name (and unlike midnight, is a convenient time to meet people downtown). It's only fair to mention that this question is patterned after a similar investigation once done in New York by Thomas Schelling. The answer there was Grand Central Station at noon. One reader even added: "'straight up' would seem to be the easiest time to remember"
But as to a place, your answers were wildly divergent-- the two most common answers were the Sears Tower and the steps of the Art Institute, with four people each. Several folks who picked the Sears Tower expressed familiarity with Schelling's finding. My co-blogger Greg Goelzhauser, for example, wrote:
For example, I haven't met you. So say the coordination game you set up is between you and me. Knowing that you are familiar with Schelling and focal points, I would certainly be at the information booth in the Sears Tower at high noon on the date requested.
Unfortunately, I can't separate my knowledge of the game and Schelling's findings to know if my answer might be different.
Something like the front steps of the Art Institute would be the nicest answer, but I just don't think any of the musuems have the kind of status that the clock in Grand Central used to have in NY.
It's just hip enough to be inviting, but not so much that it would distract from conversation. The porch is a great place to spend hours and hours snacking and talking while the Mag Mile traffic drifts by...and the game winner?S'mores that you can COOK AT YOUR OWN TABLE. You can't deny the coolness of that.
In WSJ's Opinion Journal, Rev. Donald Sensing provides a Posnerian account of why marriage evolved and sighs that gay marriage is against God's will, but it's a result of the fact that marriage has already crumbled, not a sign of its coming collapse (hat tip: Outside the Beltway).
Whatever. The bit that caught my eye is this:
Men and women living together and having sexual relations "without benefit of clergy," as the old phrasing goes, became not merely an accepted lifestyle, but the dominant lifestyle in the under-30 demographic within the past few years.
How did "benefit of clergy" come to refer to sexual relations? I admit I'd never heard of "without benefit of clergy" applied to sex outside of marriage, but a quick Google and Bartleby search reveals it's not uncommon. The OED only recognizes the phrase as one pleading exemption from a trial.
When I hear the phrase, I certainly only think of it as a plea at Old Bailey: if you could recite Psalm 51, then you were a literate, a cleric, not to be tried in the secular courts but to be released with a brand. In Blackstone, "without benefit of clergy" refers to statutes that forbade that plea from being entered in certain felony cases.
With that history of use, why would a married couple want the phrase "benefit of clergy" applied to their santified sexual relations?
I've already said my piece on the silly bioethics commission-- or so I thought.
Sara Butler points me to this New York Times article which points me to this publication from the commission (not available online, alas-- I just ordered my free copy). At first I thought it was just a little strange that the goverment committee on morality was moonlighting as a government committee on lit-crit. But then I read the last four sentences of the NYTimes op-ed:
Eliminate all suffering, postpone or weaken a sense of mortality, ease all trauma, and what is left may be something less than human. Even if the revolutionary implications for health care were beyond all doubt, it wouldn't settle the matter. The altered nature of being human would still have to be understood. Which is precisely why Nabokov, Tolstoy and Frederick Douglass are here called to testify.
The website tells us only that they're quoting from Speak Memory, where V.N. "considers the significance of our awareness of time."
Well, I guess that's fair enough. Nabokov certainly does have a lot of thoughts about the awareness of time. The best of these, of course, are in Ada. This is the man who tells us (through his dear projection Van Veen):
The irreversibility of Time (which is not heading anywhere in the first place) is a very parochial affair: had our organs and orgitrons not been asymmetrical, our view of Time might have been amphitheatric and altogether grand, like ragged night and jagged mountains around a small, twinkling, satisfied hamlet.
A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual, and only the individual reader is important to me. I don't give a damn for the group, the community, the masses, and so forth. . . . what makes a work of fiction safe from larvae and rust is not its social importance but its art, only its art.
What Jeremy doesn't mention below is that De Novo's premiere includes short essays by Howard Bashman (of How Appealling), Lawrence Solum (of Legal Theory), and Eugene Volokh (of the Volokh Conspiracy) among others.
Over at my solo blog, I just put up a post about the midnight (ET) launching of De Novo, a new group blog I'm part of that's basically the successor to En Banc, which closed about a month ago. We're launching with something we're calling a "symposium," basically a collection of essays on legal education that we've been fortunate enough to be able to collect from some of our favorite legal bloggers, including Will right here (whose entry will appear later this week), who wrote a fantastic post on why he's going to law school that I can't wait to see the wonderful reaction it'll get from readers, because it's quite good. We're hoping the essays start some sort of conversation. It's an experiment. We'll see what happens. More explanation at my solo blog; or, soon, over at De Novo. I'll continue posting here like I've been, as long as Will and the rest of the gang will continue to have me. And at my solo blog, and, quite frankly, pretty much anywhere if you ask nicely enough. :) Enough self-promotion. I owe you something good tomorrow (that I won't post anywhere else) for tolerating this long-winded link elsewhere.
I've just gotten around to adding the Waddling Kitchen to the blogroll, and WT vindicates my choice:
Cooking for one is a real challenge. More accurately, it's a challenge if you care at all about being efficient. If cooking 5 separate meals per work week doesn't bother you, then cooking for one is theoretically simple - you find five meals you're interested in eating, and cook them in turn. However, it's clear that cooking in this kind of ad hoc way presents several problems. You end up buying too much food, it's hard to think of five discrete meals every single week, and it takes a lot of time. Unless you happen to be home all day, and few people who are cooking for one can afford to do that, there has to be a better answer. Otherwise, it's all to easy to stumble out of your front door in the direction of the nearest pizza joint, which for me happens to be exactly 5 yards due west of my apartment.
As America dithers about what to do to fight the obesity epidemic, contemplating better labeling and other, more activist stances, the European experiences with such approach as taxes on fattening foods and bans on advertising to children are worth noting.
Yet the [British] government swiftly swatted away the idea of a fat tax, and Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, has said that she is sceptical about an advertising ban. Mr Reid [health secretary] says the government wants to be neither a “nanny state” nor a “Pontius Pilate state which washes its hands of its citizens' health”.
Why this ambivalence? Not because of doubts that obesity is a serious problem. It increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Rather, because it is not clear that the government can do much about it. There's no evidence that making fatty foods more expensive would put people off them; and in Sweden, where advertising to minors is already banned, children are as porky as they are in any comparable country.
The dollar is strong against the peso, but weak against the euro. Unsurprisingly, tourists are flocking from Europe to Argentina. (Ironically, my family is currently in Europe-- of course, this is my fault, since once upon a time they were supposed to be visiting me.)
Still, if any reader is planning to go to Argentina in the near future, take me with you.
The 2004 NCAA brackets are here. The Big Ten offers up Michigan St.(7), Wisconsin(6) and Illinois(5). My favorite underdog, Florida A&M is stuck with the opening-round game (16 v. 16). Thinking of gambling on the games? Then listen here first.
Does anyone know where I might be able to find a somewhat cheaper version of this device that Wired profiles, the Magellan GSC 100? It's got the GPS navigation technology and works absolutely worldwide. It also handles email (storing 100 messages [so few!]) and will cost roughly $1000. After that, there's a $50 activation fee, a $30 monthly fee that gets you 10 emails sent and 30 checks for new emails, and a charge of 1-cent per character sent after that. At that price, wouldn't a cheap laptop with a modem be a better way to go?
Working worldwide (some unknown place in Kazakhstan) is essential, so I think what I'm in the market for must be somehow satellite based. I think I'd probably have the ability to plug it into a phone line that could make local calls, though. I don't need the ability to email from random mountain tops, but it would be nice. Time restrictions are ok, so long as I can compose and read messages while off-line. Restrictions on the total number of emails sent and charges by length don't work well for me. Reasonably small is good, but I could probably go as heavy as 10 or 15 pounds without a problem (but smaller and GPS navigation would be a great bonus).
In his essay The Law Can't Stop at the Church Door for today's Washington Post, Stephen H. Galebach hopes for government intervention to help the Catholic Church manage the problem of clergy abusing children. Galebach, who is both a Catholic and an attorney, criticizes the legal system for standing silently during the past few decades and allowing the Church to retreat behind at claim of "church autonomy" when it was criticized, particularly for hiring and shuffling around priests who were known or highly suspected of being child abusers. He suggests that if there is a systemwide coverup, RICO would be a useful tool for targeting those who hid abuse cases.
I don't think the doctrine of "church autonomy" is much of a problem anymore (he does note, however, that the doctrine was never endorsed by the Supreme Court). As I understand it, Employment Div. v. Smith would require the Catholic Church to follow the mandatory reporting guidelines for suspected abuse.
The concern, though, with requiring the Catholic Church to be as open as a prosecutor might find ideal, is that after having two millennia to get their act together, the Catholic Church is very adept at being secretive if it should desire to hide things. The Crimen Sollicitationis is a 1962 memo from the Holy Office of the Vatican that explains how the crime of solicitation by clergy should be handled. It requires that anyone who knows that a priest is an abuser step forward and report him, on pain of excommunication. But the report was to be made within the church and the charge investigated through an entirely secret tribunal. It presents a compelling image of information sworn to always be hidden. After the Crimen Sollicitationis was uncovered two years ago, bishops disclaimed any knowledge of it and its recommended procedures. Not surprising: the first instructions require that it "be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia as strictly confidential." How is anyone to know how widely distributed this memo really was?
I worry that aggressively prosecuting RICO and other means against the Catholic Church might trigger a retreat into deep secrecy. Greater secrecy might aid the small fraction of the clergy who are abusers. Maybe RICO or other forceful government action would actually be a cleansing of the Augean stables, but that's not a reaction that can be presumed. But the other problem with backing off on prosecuting and trusting the Catholic Church to handle it in its own way, even if that were a trustworthy move, is that granting them separate rules runs into the First Amendment: entanglement and favoritism to a particular religious institution.
I certainly bear no great love to the Republican Party, nor any real delusions that Republican politics will harbor my Libertarian leanings. [As Jacob Levy notes, it would be nice if Republicans remembered they were supposed to make up for their social conservatism by being pro-trade.]
But Matthew Yglesias and Chris Lawrence have good posts on why Libertarians are rarely really motivated about defecting to the Democrats. Yglesias writes:
The Democratic Party's attitude toward topics like the drug war, free speech, gay rights, etc. all too often seems to be -- "one day we will have utterly vanquished the Republican Party and then it will be safe to do something about this stuff."
I've been meaning to post on Waddling Thunder's delicious encomium to bread for a while now, but Heidi reminded me to finally do it. [In related news, while Krispy Kremes are bad for you, apparently they aren't that bad for you.]
Anyway, I found WT's post sufficiently mouth-watering that there's now some rather garlicky mayonnaise sitting in my refrigerator begging to be paired later tonight with some of this crumbly baguette (home of today's Obama sighting).
Still, while I don't champion the Atkins diet at all, I do know folks who've been both happy and healthy by doing little things like avoiding bread and carbs during the day (when, supposedly, they will make you crave more bread and carbs) or eating less bad bread and more salads (during the numerous times when truly good food is noplace to be had).
Anyway, bread is good, gimmicks are bad, but knowing thyself is also good.
[Oh, and while Waddling Thunder's normal blog is good, the Waddling Kitchen is far better.]
Senate candidate Barack Obama dropped by Hyde Park's Bonjour Bakery at noon while I happened to be there (Obama is the Senate candidate with the groovy campaign song and impressive cv). It was a quiet stop — ten or so campaign volunteers standing around with Obama pins and pamphlets — to encourage people to come out and vote in support, not a time for tricky questioning or involved speeches. A more elderly Obama supporter said that a trip to Bonjour Bakery was former Senator Paul Douglas's habit on the Sunday before an election.
Obama shook the hands and greated everyone who was standing around for him, starting with the volunteers who'd organized this stop. When he came to Will and me, he asked us if we were students at the university and if we were registered to vote in Illinois. Yes, yes. Get your friends to vote, he encouraged us. You need to wear a warmer jacket, he advised me after shaking my hand. Well, yes, it didn't look like such a cold day when I looked out this morning.
So, go vote on Tuesday if you can, for Obama if you will. And if you know how to figure out what polling place to go to (I don't know where my registration card is), drop me an email.
UPDATE: Thanks to Maureen Craig for pointing out the "Where do I vote?" feature on the sidebar of ChicagoElections.com. Not bad -- I vote at the fire station just down my street and around past Jimmy's.