Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

It’s January 6th. Do You Know Where Your Democracy Is?

When I saw the storming of the Capitol live on TV (we had turned on the TV on a whim to see the certification of the vote, not suspecting anything untoward) I had some trouble taking it sufficiently seriously: a man cosplaying as shaman? Really? Surreal, yes, but the end of an era? Rioters moving almost single file between the ropes in a visitors’ area a bit like a tour group? Surely not an invading army. It wasn’t until we saw the violence, the noose, and then read about the parts we had not seen that I started thinking ‘Beer Hall Putch”.

And then, slowly, the drip, drip of revelations–there was a lot more planning for a coup than it had seemed. And Vice President Mike Pence’s finest hour might not have been just refusing to play along with a coup, but his refusal to get into a car and let the Secret Service drive him away from the Capitol.

Well, it’s a year later (unless “every day is Jan. 6th now“?). Things don’t look so great. As Donald Kagan says, Our constitutional crisis is already here. Was 2021 “The year accountability died“? Will the Jan 6 Committee be enough? It’s a lot to ask of a committee.

Meanwhile, at least we can still laugh.

For now

Image from Meme Generator via Crooks & Liars

Posted in 2020 Election, Post-Madness, Trump | 1 Comment

Two Slices of Life

© 2007 James Cridland. Some rights reserved.

Today’s paper brought two slice-of-life articles I thought were notable. One relates to the improbable story of a Portuguese immigrant to Montreal who accidentally reinvented himself as the city’s go-to bar/bat mitzvah photographer. The other, slice-of-life in the sense of an obituary, chronicles the career of Ben McFall, ‘the Heart of the Strand’ in Manhattan.

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

UM Tries to Duck the Omicron Wave

The University of Miami just announced new anti-COVID policies for the start of the Spring Semester. Among them:

  • First, classes will start on time Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, we will pivot to remote instruction for the first two weeks of the spring semester, with in-person instruction resuming on January 31. All orientation activities will be held remotely as scheduled. Students in clinical rotations will be permitted to continue as scheduled, subject to requirements of their host sites.
  • Only staff who have been on campus directly supporting students and faculty should return to on-site work next week as planned, while those who are now working remotely will be expected back in person on January 31.
  • Proof of a negative COVID test within 48 to 72 hours of arrival on campus will be required for returning students, and residential students will test again upon arrival. If you feel unwell, delay your return to campus until you are better, and we strongly encourage those traveling to have a negative test before making their way to Miami.

This is smart in two ways. First, it means our classes will not contribute to the spread of the new variant while it is most prevalent in the population. Second, it creates a two-week period for students who caught something at home or in transit to figure it out and, in most cases, get over it.

I gather a lot of universities around the country are doing something similar. The longer this goes on, of course, the more it will have a permanent effect on higher education in general and law teaching in particular.

Posted in COVID-19, U.Miami | 1 Comment

An Xmas Song You Will Like

I am not a fan of Xmas music. Indeed, one of the few benefits of being in never-ending quarantine has been that I have not set foot in a single shop playing an endless loop of carols or, worse, muzak carols. (Negative props to ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ and its ilk, none of which improves with repetition either.)

But I liked this one. And I don’t think it’s just because it has pedant appeal:

Thanks to Wendy G. for sending it my way!

Posted in Kultcha | 2 Comments

One Vaccine to Rule Them All

Walter Reed Army Hospital may have developed a general vaccine that will work against both past and future variants of COVID-19, indeed against the whole family of spike-protein-using coronaviruses.

If this pans out, it’s a game-changer. Except, I suspect, for the 3% of the population that is immunosuppressed (most commonly due to anti-rejection meds for transplants or to various chemotherapies), but even they benefit if everyone around them is vaxxed.

Some help is on the way for the immunosuppressed too in the form of a new monoclonal antibody COVID-prevention treatment that lasts up to six months and is about 70% effective.

Posted in COVID-19 | Leave a comment

A Defining Fact

From Monmouth University polling via Kevin Drum:

Speaks for itself, with however the minor caveat that people sometimes tell pollsters what they want to be the case rather than admit some truths.

Posted in COVID-19 | Leave a comment