Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

One of the Only Posts on Usage Here

Excuse me while I exercise my inner dinosaur, or maybe it’s just my language curmudgeon, but every time I read the phrase “one of the only” I think less of the writer.

What does “one of the only” actually mean? I imagine it to be a lazy writer’s way out when the author thinks the person — it’s a phrase usually applied to a person — is in fact unique, but the writer is not quite sure, so out comes “one of the only” as a hedge. In other words, “one of the only” means “one of the few, or maybe the only the only, I don’t know for sure.” Well, heck, why not look it up somewhere?

Mr. Google tells me that I’m not one of the only people bothered by this — though clearly not everyone who has noticed the rise of this odd phrase cares. More surprisingly, some others think “one of the only” means “one of a small group,” although why the author can’t then say that, of just “one a few,” I don’t know.

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

Dangerous Radicals

I was getting annoyed at my radio this morning, as the dulcet-toned pseudo-liberals on NPR called the Greek Government “radical left”. Why is a simple request for rescheduling/partial write-off of debt repayment so radical? It is just basic neo-Keynsian economics. Fact-based and thus liberal, yes, but hardly “left-wing” much less radical.

Krugman explains. And now I understand.

Posted in Econ & Money | 2 Comments

Already?

April 14 — just over two months away — there is going to be an election for Mayor of Coral Gables and for an open seat on the Coral Gables Commission. Vice Mayor William H. Kerdyk, Jr., who has been in office since 1995(!), is stepping down due to term limits.

So in a couple of weeks I’ll have to start paying attention to Coral Gables politics again. A lot has happened since the ’13 election.

[UPDATES: THERE ARE MORE CANDIDATES — See Fifth Candidate in CG Commission Race Group V and And Then There Were 6 and Contested Race in Group IV]

As usual, I’ll try to go to some candidates’ events (please post any info you have about where/when they are in the comments!), send the candidates an updated version of my questionnaire, and maybe even try to do a phone or in-person interview with each of them. Please use the comments below to suggest issues/questions I should be asking about.

Meanwhile, a key fact: Voter registration closing date is March 16, 2014.

The candidates

For Mayor (Group I, two year term): This is a rematch election between incumbent Jim Cason and challenger former Commission member Ralph Cabrera, who lost by a large margin to Cason in 2013. The last election was fought over two main issues: Cason’s support for the then-City Manager Pat Salerno, and Cabrera’s claim that there had been an uptick in crime. Cason and his supporters ridiculed that claim, and he won re-election.

Funny thing, though–soon after the election it started to look like Cabrera was right all along. First City Manager Pat Salerno resigned after being caught hiding traffic accident data from the Commission (the underlying issue was planting of expensive and unnecessary palm trees – so Florida). Short of outright embezzlement (and we’ve had that in Coral Gables in the past), I can’t think of a better reason to get rid of a City Manager than hiding info from the Commission.1

Then the Chief of Police almost got fired for (allegedly) phoneying the crime numbers. Instead, the Chief resigned — but got a nice golden handshake. At the time I thought I had got snookered about crime data like almost everyone else. Score another win for Ralph Cabrera!

But, wait a minute, a later data audit by the FBI (the FBI does data audits???) said the numbers were not cooked? Now I’m confused again… Expect to hear more about this during the campaign until we are all sick of it.

For Group IV (four year term): Frank Queseda is running unopposed. Once it was usual to speak of a Cason-Kerdyk-Quesada majority, but Queseda broke with Cason on the critical issue of ousting the City Manager after he was caught misinforming the Commission and, if memory serves, also broke with Cason on the decision to oust the Police Chief for faking traffic accident data.

For Group V (four year term): this is the seat Kerdyk is vacating. We are entitled to hope for an upgrade. There are four candidates:

Both PJ Mitchell and Norman Anthony Newell ran in Group III two years ago, in the election won by Pat Keon (49% of the vote). In that race Mr. Mitchell got 7.38% of the votes, Mr. Newell got 6.00%. Amazingly, perennial candidate Jackson Rip Holmes (1.32%) does not appear to be running this year.

Conducted in off years, Coral Gables elections can be low turnout affairs. Although there are more than 31,000 registered voters in Coral Gables, fewer than 7,200 voted in 2013. So every vote counts more than you might think. With multiple candidates in the race you don’t even need a majority to win. There’s no runoff, much less the instant runoff voting system I favor for multi-candidate elections.


Note: Just in case it is relevant I thought I should direct candidates and their friends to the House Rules on Coral Gables political coverage. Worth reading before you try to enlist me in sliming your opponents.


  1. Incidentally, as I understand it, Commissioner Vince Lago deserves a good share of the kudos for standing up for basic principles of honesty and good government and making Salerno go, which might be enough right there to get my vote when he runs for re-election. []
Posted in Coral Gables | 2 Comments

My Kind of Lolcat

lol-trans
Cheezburger, Inc. 2014 Transparency Report
.

Warrant Canary Statement:

As of February 5, 2015, Cheezburger has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information.

I will go missing if Cheezburger ever gets a classified National Security Letter. Something we cannot talk about.

What’s a Warrant Canary? Glad you asked.

Government Requests for User Information:

Total Requests:

Total Complied:

0

0

Breakdown:

Type

Requests

User Accounts Affected

 US Subpoenas from Government  Zero 0
 US Civil Subpoenas  Nil 0
 US Search Warrants  Zilch 0
 International Requests  Nothing 0
 Emergency Requests  Nada 0
 National Security Requests  Zip 0

Spotted via Cheezburger Network releases very clear transparency report at the Inq.

Posted in Law: Privacy | Leave a comment

I’ve Been Looking for This!

Google search link fix:

This extension prevents Google, Yahoo and Yandex search pages from modifying search result links when you click them. This is useful when copying links but it also helps privacy by preventing the search engines from recording your clicks.

In other words, when I get google search results and right-click on them, instead of getting useless garbage, I get a link I can use in blog post or a footnote — especially handy for linking to .pdf files where the URL doesn’t show up in the program that pops up to display the document.

Most folks won’t need this extension. But those who do will love it.

Posted in Software | 5 Comments

Safe Spaces

Police Stations Increasingly Offer Safe Haven For Craigslist Transactions

Now how about having more community spaces designed for Meetups?

Posted in Internet | 3 Comments

Acorny

I don’t know why, but this video made me laugh a lot. The setup is that I got to it via a post by Valdis Kletnieks to the North American Network Operators Group (Nanog) crediting Lauren Weinstein for sharing “a pointer to this video of one of the stranger failure modes I’ve ever seen…..”

I guess the downside is that someone is going to be very disappointed come winter.

Posted in Completely Different | 1 Comment