Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Land of Second Chances

The Harvard Crimson (they publish in summer?) has a nice story on Edmond Joseph Gong who flunked out of Harvard Law after his first year — they said he would “never become a lawyer” — but after a stint as a reporter found a second chance in his home town, at the University of Miami School of Law from which he graduated in 1960.

Mr. Gong went on to become an Assistant US Attorney, then got elected to the Florida House, then the Florida Senate in 1966, making him the only nonwhite state Senator at that time.

It seems the letter telling him not to come back to Harvard Law served as a powerful inspiration…

Posted in Miami | 3 Comments

Cheap at the Price

Pay czar chose not to go after $1.6B in bank pay – Yahoo! News

The Obama administration's pay czar said Friday that he did not try to recoup $1.6 billion in lavish compensation to top executives at bailed-out banks because he thought shaming the banks was punishment enough.

Yes, such humiliation. How will they ever be able to look themselves in the mirrors of their Ferraris?

Posted in Econ & Money | 2 Comments

Froomkin on Sherrod’s Libel Claims

The media tempest over Shirley Sherrod's firing has reached down to me, and I'm quoted in the Palm Beach Post's take, Racism allegations, apologies fly fast Ex-Ag exec thrust into racism debate.

The reporter wanted to know if Ms. Sherrod might have a libel claim. Leaving aside the issues as to against whom a libel or false light claim might be filed, I tried to explain to the reporter that economic injury (if it existed) was only the easiest sort to prove, not the only sort that mattered, but that got lost somewhere, I fear.

The reporter seemed surprised that it could be hard to prove the case if Ms. Sherrod ended up with a better job, even though she had been held up to a degree of insult and ridicule, but a tort claim requires you prove injury as an element of the claim and I can certainly imagine a defense based on the claim she ended up better off so where's the damage? With some juries it could work.

Posted in The Media | 6 Comments

The Politics of Face

Rep. Grayson gave a stemwinder of a speech the other day in which among other things he noted that by delaying the extension of unemployment insurance Republicans were “taking food from the mouths” of children. There's probably an element of truth to this, since not everyone losing benefits will be able to go on welfare immediately, but in any case it's not the sort of talk the GOP is used to receiving; it would rather dish it out.

The reaction was not slow: a GOP apparatchik at something called the Media Research Center offered a public call:

“I'll give $100 to first Rep. who punches smary idiot Alan Grayson in nose.”

Grayson's reaction is at least as good as his original speech.

Posted in Politics: US | 3 Comments


termite.jpgIn a couple of weeks, my house is going to be covered with a thing like a circus tent.

Before that happens, I have to take out all the food, medicines, houseplants, and anything else that could end up in a mouth, as that tent is going to be pumped full of noxious toxic gas.

Yes, we have drywood termites. The flying kind. Indeed, judging from the number of tents sprouting in the neighborhood, every other house is infested.

We went through all this about ten years ago, and it seemed amazingly hard, a once-in-a-lifetime mess. A wiser colleague warned me that tenting every ten years or so was just an incident of life in south Florida. I didn't believe him, but he was prophetic. And after hurricanes, teenagers, and the odd medical crisis, it doesn't seem so bad.

Posted in Personal | 8 Comments

Juror Privacy Issues

This angry dissent by Judge Posner in from denial of rehearing en banc in US v. Blagojevich discusses a number of very interesting issues relating to the release of juror names in a high-profile criminal trial.

I'm left thinking that Posner is right that the Easterbrook opinion he savages is a bad opinion, but I'm still torn on the underlying merits.

Update & Note: there seems to be no way to link directly to the opinion, as the 7th circuit website creates temporary URLs for each copy. So to read it, go to the US v. Blagojevich docket and find the per curiam opinion with dissent issued on 7/14/2010.

Posted in Law: Privacy | 2 Comments

He Did It For Science

In the finest traditions of science, Ed Felton experimented on himself to gauge the effects of “digital drugs.”

Read the full shocking account at My Experiment with “Digital Drugs”

Kids, don't try this at home unless you fully understand the risks.

Posted in Science/Medicine | Leave a comment