Monthly Archives: February 2005

Conservative Logic

A study shows that a selected segment of the most highly educated and intelligent people, folks gifted with jobs that allow them to think deeply about the world, tend overwhelmingly to reject the Republican party. Is the rejection of the GOP by professors at California's two leading universities just maybe a sign that Republican ideas don't stand up to sustained scrutiny? No, it seems that this hypothesis isn't even on the table. Instead, it's presumptively a 'Conspiracy of Intellectual Orthodoxy'—if you're a Republican anyway. Seems to me the data is in fact utterly silent as to causes, meaning we should ask ourselves what is more likely.

(Incidentally, given the authors' tendentious manner of introducing the results, the study relied on should be viewed as presumptively suspect. Anyone who introduces a study of faculty living in California by comparing their political party registrations to the national electoral vote is someone who doesn't understand comparing like with like or who is consciously trying to bamboozle with statistics. I understand that the California state party registration patterns are not as skewed as the ones asserted for Berkeley and Standford, but if we're going to do serious work, let's do it seriously, and compare to people similarly situated geographically and by educational and financial status.)

Update: See also Intellectual Diversity at Stanford for more shocking news about narrow-mindedness ruling the halls of academe:

…my preliminary research has discovered some even more shocking facts. I have found that only 1% of Stanford professors believe in telepathy (defined as “communication between minds without using the traditional five senses”), compared with 36% of the general population. And less than half a percent believe “people on this earth are sometimes possessed by the devil”, compared with 49% of those outside the ivory tower. And while 25% of Americans believe in astrology (“the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives”), I could only find one Stanford professor who would agree. (All numbers are from mainstream polls, as reported by Sokal.)

This dreadful lack of intellectual diversity is a serious threat to our nation’s youth, who are quietly being propagandized by anti-astrology radicals instead of educated with different points of view. Were I to discover that there were no blacks on the Stanford faculty, the Politically Correct community would be all up in arms. But they have no problem squeezing out prospective faculty members whose views they disagree with.

Posted in Politics: US | 11 Comments

Bush v. Facts

My brother’s column today includes a point-counterpoint between Bush’s assertion’s about the US today and the acts of his administration:

It was an amazing moment: After the introductory comments,
Andrey Kolesnikov, a correspondent for the Russian business newspaper
Kommersant, got up and said — albeit not so succinctly, and not in
English — Hey, no wonder you guys see eye to eye! You’re both
authoritarians.

This prompted Bush to launch into a possibly unprecedented defense
of himself as a democratic leader. He did it by describing his view of
the country.

And while Putin didn’t challenge what Bush said, there have been
some news reports of late that suggest that things may not be as black
and white as Bush said.

“I live in a transparent country.

Cadre
grows to rein in message; Ranks of federal public affairs officials
have swelled under Bush to help tighten control on communiques to
media, access to information
, Newsday, Feb. 24, 2005; Administration Paid Commentator; Education Dept. Used Williams to Promote ‘No Child’ Law, Washington Post, Jan. 8, 2005; Groups raise concerns about increased classification of documents, GOVEXEC.com, Oct. 27, 2004.

“I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide
open and people are able to call people to — me to account, which many
out here do on a regular basis.

High Court Backs Vice President; Energy Documents Shielded for Now, Washington Post, June 25, 2004; Mr. President, will you answer the question?, NiemanWathchdog.org, Dec. 3, 2004; Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy, Washington Post, Jan. 16, 2005 (in which Bush says: “We had an accountability moment, and that’s called the 2004 elections.”)

“Our laws and the reasons why we have laws on the books are
perfectly explained to people. Every decision we have made is within
the Constitution of the United States. We have a constitution that we
uphold.

How U.S. rewrote terror law in secrecy; White House group devised new system in aftermath of 9/11, New York Times, Oct. 24, 2004; In Cheney’s Shadow, Counsel Pushes the Conservative Cause, Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2004; Slim Legal Grounds for Torture Memos; Most Scholars Reject Broad View of Executive’s Power, Washington Post, July 4, 2004.

“And if there’s a question as to whether or not a law meets that
constitution, we have an independent court system through which that
law is reviewed.

• Recount 2000: Decision Sharpens the Justices’ Divisions; Dissenters See Harm to Voting Rights and the Court’s Own Legitimacy, Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2000; Scalia Won’t Sit Out Case On Cheney; Justice’s Memo Details Hunting Trip With VP, Washington Post, March 19, 2004.

“So I’m perfectly comfortable in telling you our country is one that
safeguards human rights and human dignity, and we resolve our disputes
in a peaceful way.”

Torture at Abu Ghraib, the New Yorker, May 10, 2004; Ground War Starts, Airstrikes Continue As U.S. Keeps Focus on Iraq’s Leaders, Washington Post, March 21, 2003.

Although Dan provides a pretty good start on a list here, it’s hardly complete. For example, I’d contrast Bush’s claim that “Our laws and the reasons why we have laws on the books are perfectly explained to people” with the reality that the administration uses secret regulations to control the right to travel. (For background see for example, Secret Rule Requiring ID for Flights at Center of Court Battle, and Gilmore v. Ashcroft.)

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Politics: US | 1 Comment

Webcast of Duke Administrative Law and Internet Conference

Duke is offering a webcast of the Duke Law Journal Thirty-Fifth Annual Administrative Law Conference panel on “The Role of the Internet in Agency Decisionmaking” available from Duke's webcast page.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Firefox Security Update

Firefox 1.01 is available for download. It a security fix, and degrades performance on internationalized domain names — that, so far, most US web users won't need — to protect against some types of misleading site names.

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Open Access To Law Reviews Site

Prof. Dan Hunter of Wharton has started a web site, Open Access Law Reviews, “to share information, resource, ideas, and commentary about open access to law review articles.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA | Leave a comment

Off to Duke

I'm off to Duke today. Tomorrow I'll be speaking at the Duke Law Journal Thirty-Fifth Annual Administrative Law Conference as part of a panel on “The Role of the Internet in Agency Decisionmaking”.

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