Monthly Archives: August 2005

Amnesties Are Good–Usually. Then There’s Kentucky…

OK. Imagine a place where the ruler and key staff members are suspected of some crimes relating to the administration of government. Rather than face the music, the ruler just pardons everyone in danger of being indicted.

Even Richard Nixon rejected the pardon-everyone strategy. Even Ronald Reagan waited until after they were convicted to pardon constitution-subverters Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter.

But in Kentucky it seems they are either more stupid, more desperate, or more arrogant: via TPM we learn Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) is going to pardon all his aides who are suspected of patronage hiring in violation of state law.

Gov. Fletcher did not, however, pardon himself. Due to appear before a grand jury tomorrow, Gov. Fletcher said he wouldn’t testify, although he didn’t say whether he’d take the Fifth or simply be in contempt (full text of speech). And there’s talk, although it’s hard to know how serious, of impeachment.

This incident shows how the power of pre-conviction, and especially pre-indictment, amnesty can work harm (here, by removing a way for the public to get at the truth of the accusations). Nevertheless, I remain persuaded that on balance giving the executive branch the power to declare amnesties is a good and necessary thing, a power perhaps not used enough in our over-criminalized society.

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | 7 Comments


The electricity went back on around 6:45 pm. So far the temperature in the house has dropped about three degrees, down to 88 (31 Celsius). I guess there is a lot of specific heat in all those books we used to line the walls.

I think it may take a couple days for my brain to cool down to a functioning temperature. A good night’s sleep would help too.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Scottish Cop: “Lockerbie evidence was faked”

Wow this is a weird allegation: Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked.

There’s something about this that sounds highly implausible. The Scotsman is a reputable newspaper, but without the name of the person making the allegation, I’m suspicious. For starters, why would the CIA have an interest in placing the blame on Libya at the risk of letting some other terrorist go undetected? Then again, if you had told me the CIA was discussing whether to try to make Castro’s beard fall off, I’ve have laughed, too. After stuff like that, it becomes very hard to know what’s too nutty to believed. Then again, the beard thing was only brainstorming, not actual action.

(Spotted via Cryptome).

Posted in Politics: Tinfoil | 3 Comments


Still no power. The house is now thoroughly saturated with heat and humidity. The books are curling. We are drooping. The generator made strange I-think-I’m-gonna-die noises (like before it runs out of gas, but the tank was full) until we gave it a three-hour rest. During which the freezer temperature rose six degrees.

Much of the area has power now, but we’re in the middle of a big dead zone running from at least Blue road north of us to US 1 south, and starting at least at 62nd Ave to the west, running to the university to the east. Even the traffic lights, repaired most other places, are dead in this area. Occasionally we see a power truck rolling by, or doing something mysterious and ineffectual on one of the larger streets. The only cheerful note has been a tree trimming crew coming down a street, surely a precursor of the electric crew, right? Right?

In past storms, FP&L has had a pretty nifty system by which you called their computer, and they told you how long it would be before you had power. This time, perhaps due to the size of the damage, they just said “90% of customers will have power by Tuesday; the remainder by Friday.” Today’s paper said they were going to get more specific, and give us predictions on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. Well, if so, the prediction for my neighborhood is grim:

This is Monday’s update on restoring power after Hurricane Katrina.

Power in your area will be restored by the end of the day on Friday, or sooner.

This is the most current and complete information available for your area.

I trust that they are just being cautious. Right?

Posted in Personal | 1 Comment

Jim Morin Hits a Home Run

Generally, I’m not the greatest fan of the Miami Herald’s cartoonist, Jim Morin, who too frequently draws cartoons that don’t say much, or pretty much illustrate the obvious rather then amusing or provoking. But once in while he does a beaut, and Friday was one of those days:

I’ve tried to pull in the image above, but if that doesn’t work or if it comes out too small on your monitor, please use this link to view it.

(Title typo fixed, sorry.)

Posted in Iraq | 3 Comments

Law School Closed Monday

I’ve just received an e-mail announcing that,

UM’s Coral Gables Campus Closed Monday
Medical Campus and Rosenstiel Campus Open for Business

The University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus will remain closed on
Monday, August 29, to continue campus clean-up, and all classes,
activities, and events are canceled for Monday.

May as well go ahead and finish writing the lecture….

Incidentally, the law library will be open tomorrow, as will Subway. So there will be air conditioning and food of a sort.

Posted in U.Miami | Leave a comment

Of Envy and Gratitude

Anyone who doubts the idea that perceptions of one’s wealth and well-being are strongly influenced by interpersonal comparative factors need only contemplate the position of someone remaining without electricity while much of the surrounding county’s power is being restored. It is very hot and humid in our house.

On the other hand, I did see a power truck go by a few hours ago.

Then again, one always remembers how much worse it could be. I hope somehow it misses New Orleans. (Steve, we’re thinking of you.)

Meanwhile I’ve relocated temporarily to my nice air-conditioned office in order to write tomorrow’s 8am lecture.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment