Monthly Archives: February 2012

Big Change Under the Hood

I’ve just made a big change to the blog’s configuration. In theory this should not be noticeable to anyone (except that the blog will be down less frequently).

If, however, you notice anything different — faster or slower response time, for example — please post a comment letting me know.

For those who may care, what I’ve done is switched from PHP 5.2x with fastCGI to plain vanilla PHP 5.3. Supposedly using fastCGI speeds up WordPress, allowing more pages to be served at once, but I have come to think at least on a Dreamhost VPS it may be the source of random episodes of the server running out of memory. My plan is to run without it for a few days, and then start setting my cache back to more aggressive settings than the very limited ones now in use.

Posted in Discourse.net | Leave a comment

Law Deans in Jail

That’s the provocative title of a provocative essay by A. Morgan Cloud & George Shepherd, both of Emory University School of Law, now on SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

A most unlikely collection of suspects – law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees – may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News’ ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents’ crimes.

Some law schools and their deans submitted false information about the schools’ expenditures and their students’ undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Others submitted information that may have been literally true but was misleading. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates’ employment rates and students’ undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data’s accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.

Which reminds me, I need to write up my analysis of U.Miami’s release of its employment figures.

Posted in Law School | 7 Comments

Politics Heat Up

Huffpo reports that among the NBA stars giving big $$$ to Team Obama are two Heat stars:

  • LeBron James ($20,000)
  • Shane Battier ($4,300)

I imagine that’s a larger fraction of Battier’s salary.

Posted in Basketball | Leave a comment

Geek Cool in Coral Gables? Who Knew?

Geeky and cool are not things I tend to associate with Coral Gables.

It is beautiful. It is relatively safe by Florida standards. It is relatively well-run compared to much of the County (ok, low bar, but still). Much of it feels very suburban; it’s a nice place to raise kids. The houses survive hurricanes in part due to our somewhat fanatical Building department. But not cool. Not real geeky either, despite having a major university pretty much in the middle of it.

Apparently, however, we have a new coffee shop, the Planet Linux Caffe, one that sounds like it might be both geeky and cool. Here’s how they describe themselves:

Planet Linux Caffe is a Tech coffee shop. Computers running Open Source OS and Applications, Google TV for tech webcast, web conferences, webinar, conferences, magazines and books to read in the place, play station 3 running Yellow Dog Linux…. excellent Italian style coffee, tea, soda, sandwiches, salads, cakes, pies (home made)… Welcome geeks, open source community, artist and every one that love to share information and love to chat.

It’s a few blocks north of my usual stomping grounds, but I definitely intend to stop by as soon as I can, maybe for this Saturday’s meetup on WordPress Extensions And PHP Backdoors.

(No prices on the online menu, though…)

Posted in Coral Gables, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

The Way We Live Now

Ten years ago, one in fourteen American consumers were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven.

via naked capitalism, Matt Stoller: Towards a Creditor State – One in Seven Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors.

Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

Central Florida School Outsourced to Scientology

I’m trying hard not to think about all the terrible things that Rick Scott and the Republican state legislature are doing to this state, but sometimes it’s impossible to avert one’s eyes. See the whole train wreck at Controversy over Scientology influence clouds future of Pinellas charter school.

Sample:

Some parents and former teachers at Life Force, which receives about $800,000 a year in public funding, say the Pinellas County charter school has become a Scientology recruiting post targeting children.

Opened to serve a low-income Clearwater neighborhood and advertising classes in computers and modern dance, Life Force had begun pushing Hubbard’s “study technology,” which critics call a Trojan horse Scientology uses to infiltrate public classrooms.

And while Life Force students and teachers worked in poorly stocked classrooms and teachers went unpaid, the bankrupt school funneled tens of thousands of dollars more to Islam’s business interests than she told the bankruptcy court she would charge.

Clearwater is on Florida’s west coast, not far from Tampa/St.Pete.

Spotted via Crooks & Liars, Charter School or Scientology Center? Education In Rick Scott’s Florida

Posted in Florida | 1 Comment

Palsgraf, Circa 1933

Torts mavens will like this posting about the immediate reception of Palsgraf v. Long Island R. Co., a Cardozo decision that is arguably the most famous US tort case about causation.

I happen to hate Palsgraf for all sorts of reasons, not least what I consider the opinion’s dishonesty, and try to teach it as fast as I reasonably can. Even so, or perhaps particularly so, it’s fun to read the account of what a contemporary hornbook, James M. Henderson’s Questions and Answers with Problems and Illustrative Matter on the Law of Torts, Based on all the Standard Text and Case Books made of it back in 1933.

This is an early effort from a promising legal history blog, noncuratlex.com, one that seems to offer just about the right mix of history, whimsey, and obscurantism.

Posted in Blogs, Tort | 1 Comment