Monthly Archives: September 2009

Goverment to Only Do Business With Honest Contractors — Military-Industrial Complex Faces Doom

HuffPo(*) has the scoop, Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud:

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Here's the Project of Government Oversight (POGO) federal contractor misconduct database. And POGO has more; meanwhile Rep. Grayson is asking for people to crowdsource his list of companies caught by the rule. According to Huffpo,

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

All this because naming ACORN in the legislation creates a risk that the statute might be a bill of attainder.

This is an amazingly brilliant if impractical idea given the level of corruption in military and doubtless civilian procurement (sort of super-debarment for those versed in procurement law), but we all know it will never survive the legislative sausage factory.

(*)-Employs family member.

Posted in Law: Ethics | 4 Comments

Opposition to Health Care Reform Highly Correlated with ‘Racial Resentment of Blacks’

Health Care, Race and Political Polarization:

We find an extraordinarily strong correlation between racial resentment of blacks and opposition to health care reform.

Correlation is not causation, but this is very consistent with earlier trans-national research showing lower spending on social welfare spending in racially polarized societies.

Posted in Health Care | 1 Comment

Herald Editorial Page Compounds Errors on Home Insurance

The Miami Herald doubled down today on its failure to address the shortcomings of undercapitalized, undiversified newly minted under-regulated Florida home insurance companies. (See Citizens Insurance May Be Bad, But Consider the Alternatives for yesterday's installment.)

On the editorial page today, the Herald starts off well in Storm warning: Prop up insurance noting that “the system for insuring homes and businesses against disaster remains badly flawed.” And this is good too:

Neither Citizens nor the CAT fund has sufficient cash on hand — nor enough borrowing power — to meet the huge outlays required by the proverbial one-in-100-years storm. The result would be harsh rates on Florida homeowners to make up for the shortfall.

But then we go off the rails:

The picture isn't completely grim. Since the start of 2008, a record number of policies — 500,000 — have been taken out of Citizens by newly formed insurance companies. That's a good sign, but Citizens remains the largest state-run insurance pool in the country.

No, it's not a good sign at all if the companies writing those policies are not safe and sound. And there's no reason to think that most of them are anything like it.

Why is the Herald so badly missing the boat on this issue?

Posted in Econ & Money, Florida, The Media | 1 Comment

Advice to the Pre-Law Student

A college student writes asking for pre-law advice:

Hi. My name is —— ——- and I am a freshman at Framingham State College in Massachusetts. In my expository writing class we were assigned a paper in which we have to research our future career goals. A part of the requirement is a personal interview which can be done via email. At Framingham State I am an English major and I aspire to get my JD in law. I would like to be a criminal defense lawyer. If you have the time could you please respond to a few of my questions?

1. What are the most popular majors that apply to law school?
2. Which major do you feel would be the most useful/helpful?
3. What could I do in college that would help me get into the school?
4. What is the most challenging aspect of law school?
5. What would people be surprised to know about studying law or working in law?

I really appreciate if you could get back to me. The assignment is due October 1st.

Thank you,

—— ——-

So I replied. My answers are below; readers are invited to supply better answers so I can use them next time.

Continue reading

Posted in Law School | 9 Comments

Bar Pass Rates Posted

The 2009 July Florida Bar Pass Rates are out. In order to illustrate my point that Bar Pass Rates are Over-Rated As A Measure of Law School Quality, I thought I’d not only sort the results, but calculate the number failing (the bar reports test-takers and test-passers). The numbers are in most cases reasonably small…

# failing Pass Rate
FSU 15 91.4
U. Florida 45 86.3
Nova 29 86.1
U.Miami 36 83.9
Florida Coastal 39 83.0
Stetson 38 81.8
FIU 17 80.9
Non-FL schools 178 75.2
St. Thomas U. 29 75.0
Barry U. 29 73.6
FL A&M 45 52.6

As I said before, “there certainly comes a point where a substantially lower bar pass rate than other schools in the state is a sign of a problem that a law school should work to fix.” FAMU’s score seems to suggest that, despite recent improvements, there’s still work to be done there.

Posted in Florida, Law School | 6 Comments

Finally, An iPhone App I Could Want

Mostly I've seen no reason to even want an iPhone. Expensive. Eats battery life. Wants to sell you things.

But this…this…I could actually imagine wanting if I had an iPhone: Brian Eno Releases Second iPhone App.

Posted in Sufficiently Advanced Technology | 1 Comment