Tuesday, 16 December 2003

That'd be "no" and "yes," respectively

Randy Barnett, in writing of his clients’ victory in Raich v. Ashcroft, clings to hopes of legalistic reasoning by the Supreme Court.

It is supremely ironic that the Ninth Circuit is the court of appeals that is taking the Supreme Court’s new Commerce Clause jurisprudence the most seriously. This case illustrates that Federalism is not just for political conservatives, and is a doctrine that provides benefits across ideological lines. If this case does go to the Supreme Court we will learn whether the conservative justices who developed this doctrine have the courage of their convictions when it applies to activities of which they may disapprove, and whether the liberal justices will put their disdain for Lopez and Morrison above the commitment to stare decisis, which would let them do justice in this case.

Excuse me while I snort derisively at the thought of either of these hypothetical scenarios (liberals supporting stare decisis or conservatives sticking up for the principle behind Lopez) coming to pass.

Link via Unlearned Hand at En Banc, who “would love to see the Fab Four grant cert.” I assume that the Fab Four is either the set of liberal or conservative justices, and does not include the notoriously fickle Sandra Day O‘Connor, but I’m at a loss as to which set (the conservative Scalia/Thomas/Kennedy/Rehnquist or liberal Breyer/Souter/Ginsberg/Stevens) is particularly “fab.”

Why the Nielsens suck

Laurence Simon, in the midst of a rant about a Houston affiliate’s attempts to pump up its ratings, exposes the bad statistics peddled by AC Nielsen:

The samples are ridulously small and unstable, absolutely abysmal when it comes to tracking democraphics other that Yuppie Whitey because of tweeser-sized samples, the numbers are cooked twice, and then the exceptions and loopholes in reporting the results are downright shameful.

The Nielsen sample might be reliable as a national sample, but it’s absolutely hideous once you try to subdivide it for over 300 local markets. Even as a national sample, they should be intellectually honest enough to attach a giant confidence interval (which, based on reports of their sample size, is probably on the order of several ratings points at 95% confidence) to their estimates. It’s a miracle their numbers correspond at all with reality.

While We Were Sleeping II: The Two Towers

Amazing how all the news seems to happen while we’re down. (The appropriate parties have been executed for their roles in our period of downtime, in case you were wondering.)

To review:

  • I got rid of about half the beer in the house at a grad student party on Friday night. Less crap to move. Yipee! (Thanks to Brooke and Lindsey for organizing the gathering.)
  • I turned 28-going-on-60 on Sunday.
  • Someone actually wants to cite part of my dissertation in a book. I’m stunned.
  • Steven Taylor had the latest Toast-O-Meter update, with Howard Dean widening his lead over the pack despite increased attacks from the trailing candidates.
  • The presumptive Democratic nominee made a speech on foreign policy that somehow failed to mention North Korea.
  • Everyone’s favorite Dixiecrat apparently didn’t mind dipping his pen in different-colored ink, so to speak.
  • Signifying Nothing went down to ignominious defeat in the Wizbang 2003 Weblog Awards balloting. I blame the butterfly ballot and the use of a first-past-the-post system.
  • And, last but not least, coalition forces arrested a biker dude near Tikrit and gave him a lovely shave and a fight to Qatar at taxpayers’ expense.

This is today’s entry in the Beltway Traffic Jam, in case you were wondering about such things.