Monthly Archives: April 2005

Blair Publishes Legal Advice On Legality of Iraq Invasion

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose re-election campaign has been dogged by charges that he joined the invasion of Iraq in the face of advice by his Attorney General that the invasion would be illegal, has published the final draft of the legal advice sent to his office.

I've only had time to read this very quickly, but here are my preliminary thoughts. I invite corrections and amplifications.

To the extent that Blair may have claimed in the past that the advice told him the invasion was legal, the document reveals a somewhat more equivocal endorsement, more of the form of “maybe” or “good arguable case, might not ultimately convince a tribunal.' But the memo clearly doesn't forbid it.

In domestic UK terms, this may still be damaging, since Blair didn't disclose the existence of the doubts to Parliament, and thus can be accused of lack of candor. In US terms, the memo is pretty middle of the road, and won't make partisans on either side terribly happy.

Posted in Iraq, Law: International Law, UK | 2 Comments

Windows: Even When It’s Easy It Makes Me Grumpy

The horrible thing about my relationship with MS Windows is that you get so used to believing that so many simple things are unnecessarily hard (today's peeve: those dropdown boxes for directory/drive searches that are too small, and only go down from where it thinks you are). You get so used to doing it the hard way that you stop looking for easy ways, even when they exist (and when you finally find them it just makes you grumpier).

So, thank you Ed Bott for today's seemingly obvious Tip of the day: Instantly maximize any window:

Are you tired of trying to hit the tiny maximize/restore button in the top right corner of a window? There's an easier alternative: Double-click anywhere on the title bar. The entire title bar acts as an oversized toggle. Double-click to maximize the window; double-click again to restore the original window size.

I suppose that should teach me for smugly looking at so many of the past tips and saying “Well, of course, everyone knows that. But in fact, what I mostly feel is irritation: why wasn't this more obvious?

Posted in Software | 8 Comments

More About Grounds for Iraq War Were Imaginary

Readers who would like to salt the debate that arose in the comments to my item on It's Official: Grounds for Iraq War Were Imaginary might like to look at Juan Cole's Guest Comment: “Bush is Lying” by Kevin McMillan, and especially the links he gives regarding WMD in Iraq.

Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment

The Telling Detail

This is actually yesterday's news, but it's a telling detail nonetheless. In an article by David Kirkpatrick entitled Rove and Frist Reject Democrats' Compromise Over Bush's Judicial Nominees, we learn that Bush has promised Sen. Reid that he wouldn't get personally involved in the fight over the nuclear option.

So Cheney and Rove are in the trenches (which breaks the spirit but not the letter of the promise?), but Bush will sit this one out. Or break his word. Which would make it all even more personal…

Posted in Politics: US | Leave a comment

House GOP Sinks to New Low

Hard to believe, but insofar as one cares about truth, fair play, or honesty in government, the House GOP has now sunk to a new low: re-writing a House committee report to distort the intentions of Democrats offering amendments: amendments offered to protect family members and innocent bystanders were rewritten to and mis-characterized to make it look as if the Democrats had in fact proposed to give a free pass to various types of 'sexual predators'.

What's the right name for this sort of behavior? Dishonest seems too weak. Fascist seems too strong, but less so than it used to. In between there are so many words to choose from…

Will anyone rise in the House on a point of personal privilege and call them out? Move to censure or even expel the perpetrators (not that it has a chance of passing…)?

Meanwhile, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, issued a great statement about this new perversion of the House Rules.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | 18 Comments

Swift Justice

Justice can be swift, and very funny: Hacker deletes own hard drive:

A CHAT CHANNEL spat ended when a wannabe hacker was duped into deleting his own hard drive.

The 26 year-old German claimed he was the baddest hacker in town and threatened to attack a moderator on #stopHipHop's RC Channel because he thought he'd been thrown out.

He demanded the moderator cough up his IP address and prepare to be hacked.

So the moderator said that his IP number was 127.0.0.1 (which is IP for “self”). Then he leaned back and waited.

Finally the hacker declared success.”I can see your E: drive disappearing, he gloated, “D: is down 45 percent!” he cried, before disappearing into the ether.

But he hasn't been heard from since…

Translated transcript of the IRC session

Posted in Internet | 3 Comments

People Unclear on the Concept

A law firm's sexual harassment case: An inside story Holland & Knight's Tampa office was, it seems, a hostile environment for women. And no one in the partnership, it seems, had the guts to publicly stand up and tell off a powerful partner even as he boored around at parties.

While the boorishness and severity of the problem at H&K's Tampa office sounds extreme (see the link above), my own experience suggests that inter-partner timidity may be more routine.

In the summer after my second third [corrected] year in law school, I worked in a very nice boutique law firm, a highly intellectual place, one that you might even think was somewhat progressive. [It did, however, have some notable Republican partners, including one whom I hypothesized — from a distance, as I never worked with him, just saw him at social occasions — might be the dumbest partner in the firm. He later got a major national-security-related government appointment, which was somewhat troubling.]

That summer, I overheard one of the partners remark to a group of male partners that he was still in charge of hiring receptionists, and that he made no apologies for ensuring that they were always beautiful (women, of course, that went without saying) as they were an part of the firm's image to anyone who came in the door. That was not, I thought, a BFOQ, but no one in earshot (including me, who didn't want to admit to eavesdropping) said a thing.

On the other hand, the firm I actually ended up working at, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (as it then was), had a culture in which receptionists were picked for their competence, and even associates could call sexism. The English partner for whom I worked in their London office found it quaint that I objected to client meetings in his (then) men-only club, The Athenaeum, even though it was reasonably priced, close to the office, and very exclusive. But he took it in good grace, Americans being notoriously funny about those things.

Posted in Law: Ethics | 8 Comments