Monthly Archives: July 2010

This Should Be Obvious

These guys are right and these guys are wrong. Read about it at TPM since the ADL site is slashdotted.

Try to recall that “The mission of the Anti-Defamation League is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.”

Except sometimes, apparently.

Posted in Civil Liberties | 6 Comments

Meek Fights Back

Poor Kendrick Meek. He was husbanding his resources, expecting to coast through the Democratic Senate primary, when three problems ganged up on him.

The first problem was predictable: low name recognition outside South Florida. But there are ways of dealing with that if name recognition your only problem. (To the extent that there was also lingering animosity among South Florida progressives for Meek’s very weak support of South Florida 2008 congressional candidates such as Annette Taddeo, well that was just the cost of positioning Meek as a middle-of-the-road candidate who could win votes upstate.)

The second problem was less predictable: Governor Charlie Crist got hammered by Tea Party fellow traveler Marco Rubio in the GOP primary polls, so he decided to run as an independent. Between that and his grandstanding on the gulf oil spill, Crist sucked up most of the media oxygen in the race. Plus he started leading in the polls, winning many independents and even some Democratics (see problem one above).

The third problem is just gross: a sleazy billionaire named Jeff Greene decided to try to buy the Democratic nomination. It’s hard to exaggerate just how bad Greene is. Here are a few choice facts.

  • Jeff Greene has been a Florida resident for all of three years.
  • Jeff Greene is not really a Democrat. He’s been a Republican for much of his life, and even ran for Congress as a Republican in California 1982.
  • Jeff Greene made his billions betting that people would lose their homes in foreclosure. (Personally, I don’t hold this economic savvy against him — it might even be a positive — but it sure won’t win votes.)
  • Jeff Greene’s personal life suggests he is completely unsuitable for the Senate.
    • Jeff Greene spent a year living with famous madame Hedi Fleiss
    • Jeff Greene partied in St. Barts on his yacht with the likes of famous druggie Lindsay Lohan
    • It’s reported that Jeff Greene imported Ukrainian strippers for a show on that same yacht

But if you have billions you can buy a lot of campaign commercials, and flood the zone with fancy glossy mailers (I’ve gotten at least two fat ones).

And it seems to be working: although there is a huge pool of undecided, Greene now leads Meek in the latest polls.

So Meek has gone on the air. But Meek’s second campaign commercial looks awfully defensive.

There is a mixed message here. Neither a “meet Kendrick” nor 100% an attack ad, the spot tries to do both at the same time, and maybe flails a bit at both. And any time you have to pay money to say “Kendrick Meek is not part of a fraud case,” you are in trouble.

Given his lackluster record on progressive issues, Meek is a difficult candidate to get excited about; only the abysmal quality of his opposition spurs one to sympathy. Charlie Crist has to be laughing: if Greene manages to buy this nomination, people like me may have to vote for Crist, even though he’s as principled and as reliable as a weathervane, just to avoid getting a hard-core rightist in Marco Rubio. Or we may sit that race out. Either way, if Greene wins, then Crist wins.

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 2 Comments

ABA to Publish Book on How to Become a Law Professor

Via Larry Solumn I learn that,

Brannon P. Denning (Cumberland School of Law), Marcia L. McCormick (Saint Louis University – School of Law), & Jeffrey M. Lipshaw (Suffolk University Law School) have posted Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate's Guide on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This is the Table of Contents and the Introduction to a forthcoming book from the American Bar Association. The authors provide detailed advice and resources for aspiring law professors, including a description of the categories of law faculty (and what they do), possible paths to careers in the legal academy, and “how to” guides for filling out the AALS's Faculty Appointments Register, interviewing at the Faculty Recruitment Conference (the “meat market”), issues for non-traditional candidates, dealing with callbacks and job offers, and getting ready for the first semester on the job.

Larry himself has written the Foreword.

It sounds as if this book will be a must-read for law job candidates as soon as it comes out, although the bottom line for getting a job couldn't be clearer: Write. Lots. And well.

Posted in Law School | Leave a comment

Size Matters

News from the superficial world of online dating:

It turns out, women really care about men's height. I'm 5'9”, if I wanted to be as attractive as somebody who's 5'10”, right, another inch? I would have to make about $35-40,000 more a year.

This and other, deeper and more interesting, observations about human motivations and the psychological discount rate, in the Big Think Interview With Dan Ariely.

Posted in Econ & Money | 3 Comments

This Could Be an Interesting Lawsuit

Today's Miami Herald has a report that raises as many questions as it answers about a dirty trick gone bad, originally aimed at Joe Garcia, the likely Democratic candidate for the open House seat in FL-25.

As I haven’t blogged much about this race previously, forgive me for taking longer than usual to set the scene, but I think the background is relevant.

The primaries are not until the end of August, but the smart money is for Garcia, who ran a strong campaign against an incumbent two years ago, to win the Democratic primary and face the likely victor on the Republican side: increasingly beleaguered state Rep. David Rivera. If fundraising numbers are any guide, both candidates should coast to easy wins over their less-well-known and underfunded primary opponents.

That said, Rivera has had a really, really bad month or so. (Bear with me.)

So, to sum up, the Rivera campaign has some reason to be feeling a little worried.

Utterly coincidentally, someone cooked up the idea of sending voters in Collier County a campaign mailer that tries to suggest that because he served in the Obama Energy department – as head of the Office of Minority Economic Impact – Garcia is responsible for the Gulf Oil spill. It also tried to suggest that Garcia, the former director of the Cuban-American National Foundation – is somehow anti-Cuban. Yes, really: see the Miami Herald’s Student's bizarre attack ad targets Democrat Joe Garcia (7/23/10).

The mailer claimed to be paid for by a newly registered independent expenditure group, a so-called 527 organization, called “Progressives for Prosperity.” The head of this group was a 19-year-old college student at FSU named Matthew Slider who claimed to be a Democrat supporting one of Garcia’s primary rivals. You can see a picture of the mailer over at the Reid Report.

That story didn’t last real long. Today’s Miami Herald reveals that in fact the moving force behind “Progressives for Prosperity” is Evan J. Power, a Tallahassee lobbyist and political operative with a history of dirty tricks. And the student whose name is on the registration papers, well, he’s angry and says he was conned (7/28/10):

Slider said he met Power through a friend, fellow FSU student Chris Spencer. Spencer and Power told him they needed a registered Democrat to head the political group and showed him copies of a positive mailer they planned to send out that outlined Meurice's best qualities. That mailer was never sent.

But it gets better. Not only does Matthew Slider now say (under oath!) that Power tricked him, but he claims that there is no way his organization could have paid for the mailers since it only ever had $100 in its bank account. As reported in the Naples Daily News,

“Evan Power told me that despite the difference in their political parties, he was supporting Luis Meurice and cited polls, which I never saw, that supposedly claimed Mr. Meurice would be a strong general election candidate versus David Rivera,'' Slider said in his sworn statement.

Lobbyist Power says someone hijacked the group’s name the very week he was creating it, and the mailers were a complete surprise to him. The lobby group that employed Power seems to have taken a dimmer view of the situation, as it has fired him.

The timing is especially suspicious here. According to the Naples Daily News,

Slider said he was assured that he would get to see and approve any piece of mail sent out by the 527 group and that no mail had yet been distributed.

What struck him most about the mailer, he said, was that it was sent from Miami on Saturday July 17, but the group wasn’t formed until Monday.

“It all just clicked,” Slider said. “I realized I had been duped.”

According to the Herald, “Garcia's campaign said it is considering legal action, especially since the bank statement shows money was never withdrawn to fund the mailers.”

Usually campaigns don’t like to get involved in lawsuits since it drains time and money away from the main task of reaching voters. But this is one time where I wonder if the lawsuit might not be worth pursuing. Discovery could be very interesting, as witnesses will have to explain under oath just how independent of Rivera they were, and where the money came from.

(Of course if they deny everything under oath, then it all grinds to a halt unless someone can find the printer.)

Posted in Politics: FL-25/FL-27 | 3 Comments

Metal Detector Report

Didn't set off a thing.

Previous relevant post: What I Expect to Learn Today

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

What I Expect to Learn Today

…is whether the metal valve in my aorta sets off airport metal detectors.

Yes, the family is leaving early in the day for a quiet (two teenage boys, cough cough) week's holiday to a house in a location which if not in the absolute middle of nowhere is at least on the edge of it. But only, promises the rental ad, about 30 minutes from somewhere. Even if it is, we later discover, some 75 feet from the road to the house.

To get there from here will involve a short flight as I didn't feel up to the very long drive we might otherwise have taken. Then we will still have a car ride of some length. The house is well suited, allegedly, for lounging about — something I'm getting quite practiced at. There are supposed to be great views. And if I want exercise, well, the house is on a mountain side.

There's supposed to be broadband, so we may be on the information highway even if we're just on the edge of the paved grid. Or there may not be broadband, in which case there will be very little posting for a week, but that doesn't mean I've had a relapse. Or, there may be broadband and I still may not be posting much.

(As regards the metal detectors, I have this card I'm supposed to give anyone who wants to point a magnetic field at me about the metal inside me. It tells them the safety parameters beyond which the fields can hurt me. It looks terribly easy to counterfeit, so I wonder if the TSA will accept it if I do set off the alarms, or if I'm headed for the back room to show them my scars.)

All this is due to the fact that I'm feeling considerably better than I was, say, two months ago. There is no question that I am recovering, slowly but generally surely. That said, I still have some way to go before reaching normal strength and especially stamina. I can do most of what I used to do — but not nearly as much of it in a day. And a cold really really knocks me out. And I'm not up to doing much work yet.

The docs said it would take six to twelve months to feel 100% and it has been about five (or four if you count from my hospital discharge) so far, so I suppose I'm on track. Teaching starts in a few weeks, and I'm confident I'll be ready to handle the one class I'm scheduled for. Whether I'll be up to much of anything else remains to be seen.

Posted in Personal | 5 Comments