Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nepotism and the 1%

Shorter Alex Pareene (Salon): Nepotism, it’s worse than you think. (Spotted via John Quiggin, Cronyism and the global city (again).)

Posted in 99%, Econ & Money | Leave a comment

GCal Sends Unwanted Invites

When I create a new entry on my Gcal and include an email address, it asks me if I want to send an invite to the person I’m meeting. I say “don’t send”. It often sends one anyway, especially if the person has a gmail address. There doesn’t appear to be any way to stop it.1

  1. Yes, I know this is a pathetic topic for a blog post. But it’s the first day of classes, I’ve been busy, and if I don’t post anything for too long my mom worries. []
Posted in Software | Leave a comment

The Herald Thinks a Taser Death a Week is the “Rarest” Case

I sent an email to two reporters yesterday (not a letter to the editor):

I was somewhat surprised to see it asserted (without attribution) in your otherwise fine article today (“Tasered Artist Laid to Rest”) that tasers result in deaths in the US only “rarely”. They are and have been sufficiently frequent for Amnesty International to have issued a report condemning the frequency of them as far back as 2004. A later report put the death rate at 350 over a seven year period. Is 50 utterly unnecessary deaths per year at the hands of police considered “rare”? I hope not. I’d call it shockingly frequent.

(Other private estimates come up with even larger numbers for more recent periods. See for example

The issue of the extent to which deaths depend on pre-existing condition is somewhat debated, but in any case it is also a distraction. Your article presents it as something of an excuse for taser deaths, but in fact if some part of the population is statistically likely to be killed by tasers, that is just another reason why they should not be used, not an excuse for taking lives.

I wonder if you would please consider running a correction, at least as regards the frequency of taser deaths in the US, and in particular if your future coverage could please be less dismissive of 50+ annual cases of what, if it happened elsewhere, we would call state-sponsored killings.

As for whoever told you taser deaths are rare: stop trusting them.

Incidentally, the online version of the article has a different text from the printed version, it says “Tasers result in death in only the rarest of cases.”

Personally, I don’t see how an average of a death a week can be called the “rarest of cases” but I’m not a hardened journalist.

Posted in Miami, The Media | 1 Comment

Research Assistants Wanted

Apologies, but this announcement is for UM Law students only:

I have three open jobs for research assistants, all starting when classes begin, or as soon thereafter as is practical. These jobs are for the entire academic year, although I don’t expect you to work during exams or vacations.

Job #1: Academic Research

This job requires 10-15 hours per week. The RA’s job is to help me with my research, which is likely to be focused on privacy, and internet law more generally, but may also include some robotics or torts. It requires someone who can write clearly, is well-organized, and who is really good at finding things in libraries and on the Internet. If you happen to have some web or programming skills (some or all of HTML, WordPress, MySQL, Perl, Debian), that would be a very big plus but it is not in any way a requirement.

Job #2: Jotwell Student Editor

This job requires 7-10 hours per week, although it likely involves a bit more in the first week or two as you learn the ropes. This job involves helping me manage and edit JOTWELL, an online law journal (see You are a combination of managing editor and substantive editor so the job requires excellent organizational skill plus editing skills; some talent for diplomacy in dealing with authors would also be of use. Jotwell uses WordPress to publish, but it is easy to learn, so no experience needed.

Job #3: ‘We Robot’ Conference Organizer/Researcher

I need to hire one or more law students to help manage a major conference on legal and policy issues relating to robotics, to be held at the law school on April 4 & 5, 2014. There is intellectual work to be done to set up the event, notably writing online summaries of all the accepted papers. There are also some administrative duties, although the law school staff will shoulder the bulk of those.

The job involves a smaller amount of work now, and a larger amount of work in the weeks leading up to the event. You would also be asked to attend and assist with the conference, for example, liaising with speakers, and summarizing events online, on Twitter, and other media.


In all three cases the hourly pay of $ 13 is set by the university, and is not as high as you deserve, but the work is sometimes interesting.

If you are interested, please e-mail the following to with the words RESEARCH ASSISTANT (in all caps) followed by your name in the subject line:

1. A copy of your resume (c.v.),
2. A short writing sample (non-legal is preferred — in any case, please don’t send your LCOMM memo),
3. A transcript (need not be an official copy),
4. A cover note telling me
– which job or jobs you are applying for (if more than one, please state preferences if you have any)
– your phone number and email address.
– anything else about you that you would like me to know.
– if you are interested in the Robots job, whether in addition to variable duties before then you would be prepared to work up to 15-20 hours per week in March 2014 if necessary.

Saying you saw the notice here couldn’t hurt.

Posted in Law School, U.Miami | Leave a comment

Save the Libraries

I’ve been meaning to write something about the terrible proposed cuts to the local library system in Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposed budget. Basically, a civic jewel is to be sacrificed on the altar of the millage rate.

But procrastination has its rewards. A guest poster at Eye on Miami has written the save the libraries post, so I don’t have to: See The Tragedy of the Miami-Dade County Budget. Guest Blog By Santiago Leon. And if you live in Miami-Dade county, write or email the Mayor and especially your Commissioner.

[Thanks to ‘a reader’ for pointing out the typo, which I’ve corrected.]

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

Progress in Action

I was oddly cheered by De Blasio Takes His Modern Family on the Campaign Trail. The article, buried deep in the A section of today’s paper, reports that NY Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s family is a major part of his campaign, and that by deploying them, and especially his kids, he is portraying himself as at once the most politically progressive candidate but also the ‘family’ candidate.

Obviously, this sort of strategy ought to work against serial selfie-sharer Anthony D. Weiner, a candidate who is, to say the least, not family friendly. Perhaps less cheerfully, it also may work against Christine C. Quinn, whose wife, we are told, is not much of a campaigner.

One might well ask what is cheerful about a campaign ploy that could be said to subtly play against the fact that the leading candidate is not just a childless woman, but one married to another woman. The answer has two parts. First, that in the Times’s coverage at least, the modern nature of the City Council Speaker Quinn’s marriage invokes no comment at all. Second and more significantly, the de Blassio family consists of an Italian-American male, an African-American woman, Chirlane McCray, who did not take his name, and their two kids — one of whom stars in the campaign’s first video and promises among other things that de Blassio will reform the NYPD’s excessive stop-and-frisk policy.

Twenty-five years ago, I doubt that a campaign for major office, even in New York, could have been built around an inter-racial marriage as a major selling point. (Nor that it would showcase a 15-year-old kid with a big black Afro promising to rein in the police.) In twenty-five years we’ll see gay candidates on video boasting about the longevity of their marriage and about their kids.

Progress in action — slow, yes, and as always incomplete. But progress nonetheless.

Oddly related: Down With Tyranny’s The Failure Of Identity Politics– And It’s Not Just Wall Street Shill Cory Booker; one inevitable consequence of progress is that now anyone can be a sellout.

Posted in Law: Con Law: Marriage, Politics: US | Leave a comment