Monthly Archives: February 2007

Random Fact


Rudy Giuliani hates ferrets, and ferret-owners too. (Click for a link to the amazing audio clip.)

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 1 Comment

What a Strange Question

Stevens.jpgThe Law Blog Question of the Day: What’s the deal with lawyers who wear bow ties?

What kind of a question is that?

Bow ties, in addition to being natty, take less storage space in your closet. Plus it is very hard to spill soup on them, reducing cleaning costs (and, given that silk is so hard to clean, reducing the risk of ruining a favorite tie).

And Justice Stevens wears them.

What more do you need to know?

The only times I wear one of those long flappy things are for funerals (bow ties are too cheerful for funerals) and before trial courts (juries, and even trial court judges may have unpredictable reactions).

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 5 Comments

All Hail the Conservapedia

Read all about the Conservapedia. But not while drinking hot coffee.

PS. As far as I can tell the Conservapedia is not intended as a joke, although some commentators have been less than respectful.

Posted in Completely Different | Leave a comment

What the Law of the Sea Teaches Us About the Regulation of the Information Ocean

On Friday I gave a short talk at a conference organized to honor my colleague Bernard Oxman, who is taking up one of our very rare chairs here at UM law in this, his thirtieth year as a UM professor. (Unlike most law schools, we don't have a tradition of having chaired professorships. That may slowly be changing, fundraising willing.)

Every panelist was asked to respond to an essay Bernie wrote for the centennial volume of the American Journal of International Law. Unfortunately, Bernie's essay was about the Law of the Sea, a subject in which he is a (the?) leading expert, but about which my ignorance is vast and deep.

Thus, the title of this essay, “What the Law of the Sea Teaches Us About the Regulation of the Information Ocean.”

The audience was polite, even kind, about my remarks, so I'm posting the text (without footnotes) here. I'd sort of like to publish the footnoted version somewhere, as it tickles me to have written, however tangentially, about the law of the sea, but I have no idea where to send this.

Continue reading

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

If True, There is No Way to Spin This as a Smart Move

The following item is from the Inter Press Service, an organization that I don't know much about. According to the not-100%-reliable Wikipedia, IPS is an Italian-based organization dedicated to giving third world news and journalists more prominence. The fact of the raid is also reported by the International Federation of Journalists. What is most disturbing, though, is the all-too-plausible account of what motivates these raids quoted below; how much credence you give this, despite its plausibility, must turn at least in part on what one makes of the source.

IRAQ: Another U.S. Military Assault on Media

BAGHDAD, Feb 23 (IPS) – Iraqi journalists are outraged over yet another U.S. military raid on the media.

U.S. soldiers raided and ransacked the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists (ISJ) in central Baghdad Tuesday this week. Ten armed guards were arrested, and 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators kept for donation to families of killed journalists were seized.

This is not the first time U.S. troops have attacked the media in Iraq, but this time the raid was against the very symbol of it. Many Iraqis believe the U.S. soldiers did all they could to deliver the message of their leadership to Iraqi journalists to keep their mouth shut about anything going wrong with the U.S.-led occupation.

“The Americans have delivered so many messages to us, but we simply refused all of them,” Youssif al-Tamimi of the ISJ in Baghdad told IPS. “They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received.”

Some Iraqi journalists blame the Iraqi government.

“Four years of occupation, and those Americans still commit such foolish mistakes by following the advice of their Iraqi collaborators,” Ahmad Hassan, a freelance journalist from Basra visiting Baghdad told IPS. “They (the U.S. military) have not learned yet that Iraqi journalists will raise their voice against such acts and will keep their promise to their people to search for the truth and deliver it to them at any cost.”

There is a growing belief in Iraq that U.S. allies in the current Iraqi government are leading the U.S. military to raid places and people who do not follow Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's directions.

And these same people think they are smart enough to avoid become Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz's puppets? (Have you read Sy Hersh’s latest yet? You really should.)

Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment

Bombs Give Exam Stress a New Meaning

Law students are notorious for suffering from exam stress — and complaining about it.

It seems we in the legal world don't know what real stress is: consider this letter from an Iraqi father, writing about waiting to hear whether his daughter has survived her midterms — a ten-day period of being a “sitting duck” for suicide bombers.

She, like thousands of university students in Iraq, is taking her mid-term tests, starting today. They have a fixed schedule, i.e. are sitting ducks – for ten days.

Since the beginning of this academic year, the students in her college have been led quite a dance; a deadly dance. The college is situated in an area that has become more like a war zone than a normal neighborhood; it is too near Haifa Street for it to quiet down for more than a few days at a stretch.

They started out by going to college every day. Their college more like a fortress for its security, than an educational facility.

Attack after attack on the surrounding residential area frightened the Dean into improvising a random lecture schedule that allows them to attend their lectures in no pattern that lasts more than one week.

With heavy heart I am won over by her insistence, and she attends the random lectures for three weeks.

A great big double explosion takes place at the main entrance of Al-Mustansiriya one Tuesday, killing more than 120 students and wounding more than 200, most of whom were female students. One car bomb and one explosive belt … body parts were brought down from the date palms, as were remnants of their uniforms.

Although hurting for all the families that weredevastated that afternoon, I thanked God my daughter was not harmed.

At home for another two weeks.

Go attend Baghdad University. Also protected. No way.

All this time studying at home and online, doing her best not to lose yet another year to chaos, she is now taking her mid term exams at her college. A sitting duck.

She is mad to continue.

I am mad to let her.

Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment

US Bombing Outskirts of Baghdad

Via Juan Cole, a link to this article reporting that US bombing 'terror targets'. The US spin is that

air strikes were aimed at insurgent strongholds in Bo'aitha, a sparsely populated neighbourhood on the west bank of the Tigris, south of the city centre.

While lying within the city limits, Bo'aitha is a district of farms and smallholdings, whose scattered villages are known to house the hideouts of Sunni insurgent gangs linked to al-Qaeda.

In contrast, Prof. Cole writes,

Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.

As near as I can make up by comparing this map, which shows Bo'aitha as region 89, but lacks a legend showing the scale, with this map which has a scale but no marking for Bo'aitha, that region is about six kilometers from the city center, which is roughly the distance between the University of Miami and the center of downtown Miami.

Regardless of the legal issues, this doesn't seem to be a tactic well-calculated to win the hearts and minds of the average Baghdad resident.

And, hey, since that's all going so well, let's plan to attack Iran! (link is to Sy Hersh's latest). How long before we start calling this a 'tilt' to the Sunnis?

Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment