Monthly Archives: November 2009

No Gavels in English Courts? But I Saw it on the BBC

According to Marcel Berlins, English judges have never had gavels, despite what you routinely see on the BBC.

He is not amused.

(via The Magistrate's Blog)

Posted in UK | 1 Comment

Coming Soon to a Country Near You?

The Ultimate Horror flic.

(From SNL)

There's a lot that rings true in the broad-brush parts Matt Tabbi's latest screed although I take exception to the most vicious bits, like the line about Palin “having the brains of an innertube.”

No, Palin is stupid like Ronald Reagan was stupid. Which certainly makes her smart enough to be dangerous.

Posted in Politics: US | 2 Comments

Flu Shot

We got our Swine Flu shots today — except the youngest, who had gotten the live nasal vaccine in school a few days ago.

The rest of us got the shots through UM, which is vaccinating employees and their children. The Sunday operation was run with extreme efficiency; we were in and out of there in minutes. Unlike most of the other flu shots I've had, which were mostly painless, this one aches some when I pick stuff up. Dr. Anapol, the director of the campus health service, was on hand to fuss over the operation in person; he told me they've already vaccinated more than 5,000 people this season.

I had the regular seasonal shot several weeks ago, so I've done my bit for herd immunity.

Posted in Science/Medicine | Leave a comment

Annals of Phishing

For a minute there I thought I'd gotten my first phishing email from Iran. But after a look at the headers, I think maybe not?

Received: from ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC;
Sun, 22 Nov 2009 18:28:14 -0500
Received: from ([])
by with ESMTP id 5202001.34032630;
Sun, 22 Nov 2009 18:27:46 -0500
Received: from localhost (localhost.localdomain [])
by (Postfix) with ESMTP id CAFB3D74D7E;
Mon, 23 Nov 2009 02:56:57 +0330 (IRST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
Received: from ([])
by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024)
with ESMTP id egIez7IMCKAL; Mon, 23 Nov 2009 02:56:57 +0330 (IRST)
Received: from ( [])
by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 8333DD74D4B;
Mon, 23 Nov 2009 02:56:52 +0330 (IRST)
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 02:56:47 +0330 (IRST)
From: OWA Management Group
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Account Update
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Originating-IP: []
X-Mailer: Zimbra 5.0.16_GA_2921.RHEL4 (zclient/5.0.16_GA_2921.RHEL4)
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

It all looks very convincing…the IP numbers in the top part are Iranian. I might believe except for that last little bit, the X-Originating-IP … that comes from Comcast here in the US of A. Whether it went via Iran, or most of it is a forgery, I can't quite tell, as it's odd that this IP number doesn't appear anywhere else. I suppose another possibility is that it really is Iranian, and someone forged the X-Originating-IP to make it look like it came from Comcast, but I'm not sure why they would bother.

Posted in Internet | 4 Comments

I Went to a Party

Here's what I did this afternoon:


More details at Soul of Miami and Sex and the Beach.

It was a good party – met Mustang Bobby and saw the Miami Beach 411 crowd — always the life of the party. Plus I met the Genius of Despair (but not, alas, Gimleteye, with whom it seems I may have a few things in common.

There was a loud band, which I would enjoyed more under other circumstances. The folks at Graziano's were pouring lethal rum-and-cokes; I haven't seen ratios like that since college. One glass and it was canapes for me, trying to soak up the booze. And they were good canapes too, especially the beef. I've only ever been to the Graziano's on Bird Road, which I recall for excellent, if pricey meat. Judging from the samples, the excellence is repeated at the Brickell location.

And then I came home to watch the taped second half of the UM game. But the DVR stopped taping with only a few minutes left in the game. I saw the bad call(s) that deflated Duke. I saw Berry run and and run and run to score. And I saw Hankerson pull it in. But apparently I missed a great interception and scoring run by Sharpton. At least it was on the ESPN highlight reel.

Posted in Blogs | Leave a comment

Jonathan Simon on the Real Target for California Protestors

Jonathan Simon writes that California's protesters should Strike Against Prisons not Education.

(Note: Jon wrote this before the latest round of protests.)

Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

A Problem for ‘Plain-Meaning’ Advocates

Advocates of a 'plain meaning' approach to constitutional interpretation may have to conclude that Texas accidentally banned all marriage, as described in this McClatchy report, Texas' gay marriage ban may have banned all marriages

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.

She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” said Radnofsky, who will be at Texas Christian University today as part of a five-city tour to kick off her campaign.

Being given to a more of a purpositive approach, I'd be willing to invoke the infamous Holy Trinity decision, and say this clause meant what the voters obviously thought it meant. But would someone who believed in a pure 'plain meaning' approach — like Justices Thomas and Scalia claim to — be able to reach that conclusion?

Posted in Law: Con Law: Marriage | 6 Comments