Thursday, 16 January 2003

Michele's Required Reading 2002

Michele @ A Small Victory has compiled her 2002 Required Reading list. Needless to say, you're required to read it, and not just because she picked one of my entries (“Mississippians, persecution complexes, and Trent Lott”).

It's gonna snow, so head for the hills

About an inch of snow is expected in the Memphis metropolitan area tonight. For those of you new to the Greater Memphis area, or if you're just curious, here's what to expect:

  1. Breathless TV coverage of “Storm of the Century 2003”. If you thought you were going to watch Friends tonight — tough luck, you're watching Dave Brown instead.

  2. Nobody will know how to drive. Accidents will go through the roof. Free hint: stay off the Nonconnah Parkway (SR 385), since it is (a) mostly elevated and (b) usually the site of a massive pileup.

  3. In accordance with points 1 and 2 above, the entire city will effectively shut down for at least a week. Since there's already a holiday on Monday, don't expect to find anyone at work tomorrow — even if all the snow is gone by 8 a.m.

  4. People will probably raid stores like a hurricane is coming. Do yourself a huge favor and don't bother joining them.

My helpful advice to the Memphis looney weather newbies: stay indoors, hope MLG&W keeps your gas and electricity on, and watch cable for the next few days. The only legitimate reason to wander outside is to pick up some DVDs to watch at Blockbuster.

This concludes this announcement from the emergency broadcast system. BEEEEEP.

Eldred v. Ashcroft

Larry Lessig has a must-read post in his blog about the decision-making in Eldred v. Ashcroft (decided Wednesday, 7-2 in favor of the respondent).

As a good political scientist, I probably should point out that Larry's search for principle on the court is perhaps overly optimistic; the Spaeth attitudinal model suggests that the conservatives on the court would side with big business — and a Republican administration filing a supportive brief — regardless of principle. In terms of attitudinal signals, the plaintiffs' argument was sunk by the predominantly leftist amici. (Of course, being a good law professor, Larry probably doesn't buy the attitudinal model.)

Having said that, like Larry I can't reconcile Eldred with Lopez (a case that I believe was correctly decided on the merits), and I agree that the majority should at least have made an effort to do so; the point of having a “limited” government is that the limits must be meaningful, no matter what enumerated powers we're talking about. On that principle alone, the majority decided Eldred wrongly.

Glenn Reynolds makes much the same point (at least, one similar to mine) in his latest piece for

Lileks takes down Le Carre

In today's Bleat, James Lileks takes on John Le Carre. He also has discovered Safari's apparent ability to take down websites at will (but I think he's joking).

Organizing Resolutions Redux

The New York Times reports that the Senate has finally passed an organizing resolution. You'll be forgiven if you fail to make any sense of this paragraph:

The agreement reached tonight gave the Democrats much of what they requested, allowing them 49 percent of the committee salaries and letting them avoid the need to lay off staff members. But Republicans got extra money to operate the committees, bringing their share of the money to about 60 percent — less than the usual two-thirds, but more than the 51 percent the Democrats had originally proposed.

If you're thinking “the math isn't adding up here,” you're right. By contrast, the Washington Post's report is not only more pithy, it also makes more sense.

The big question is: what are the committees spending money on besides committee staff salaries? I mean, there's only so much you can spend on toner for the laser printer.

Earlier coverage here.

All politics are local — particularly in the CA

The Memphis Commercial Appeal spins the news that George W. Bush will oppose the Michigan admissions quotas with the following headline: “Bush to contest 'quota' program that aided Ford.” Not, mind you, Gerald Ford (who's from Michigan) or Ford Motor Company; instead, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.

Money quote from the article:

Ford has said in the past that he benefited from affirmative action, but he declined to discuss his LSAT score or grade point average.

Here's a hint: he flunked the bar on his first attempt. Meanwhile, you may want to read about the admissions policy of fellow Big Ten member Indiana University.

The Gulag Peninsula

(Via Instapundit:) MSNBC reports on North Korea's prison camps, estimated to hold at least 200,000 dissidents.