Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Ukraine Aid in Perspective

2023 Aid to Ukraine Through Aug 3. This year the US promises about six times more than last year.

The Ukraine Aid bill appropriates $61 billion, a very large portion of which will actually be spent in the US to pay US arms makers to replace the stockpiled weapons we will be sending abroad.  That number, however is both too large for me to grasp, and lacks context.  So here goes.

There are about 340 million US persons, making each person’s share of the bill for Ukraine aid about $170.41.  But maybe you don’t want to count babies?  The IRS processes about 169 million income tax returns last year. That makes the individual taxpayer’s share about $360.95. Or, if you prefer, there are 127 million households in the U.S., making each household’s share about $480.31.

Those are numbers I can comprehend.  But compared to what?  The US federal government spent $6.1 trillion last year, so the Ukraine aid amounts to a tidy 1% of than number.  The entire overt US military budget for 2024 is $825 billion, so the Ukraine aid appears substantial–almost 7.4% of the (overt) Pentagon spending (there’s also a large ‘black budget’ that is thought to well exceed $50 billion).

Ukraine aid is also about 50% more than the US spent on agricultural price supports last year.  And, although it’s a little harder to calculate, it’s probably about double what the federal government spent on disaster relief.

Working through these numbers didn’t change my view that the aid bill was important and necessary, but it helped me understand this is a genuinely significant commitment (Trump insurance?).  As the late Senator Everett Dirksen (really) said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Posted in Econ & Money, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Aid for Ukraine

Today’s long-delayed House vote on aid to Ukraine reminds me of a line that I was sorry to discover Churchill may not have said, “Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possiblities have been exhausted.”

Posted in Politics: US, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Syllabus for my Spring 2024 AI & Law Class

I thought it might be of general interest to post my Spring 2024 syllabus for my AI & Law class.  I regret that many of the hyperlinks to the assigned readings won’t work because they are to internal copies I made, which I can’t share directly for copyright reasons, but I’ve provided citations so it should be easy to find them online.  Links to the optional readings generally should work.

I’d welcome comments on overall organization, and also on what I should cut — there’s a lot I wish I could have added — and what I should add for next year.

Here are the contents:

Posted in AI | Leave a comment

Summer Job Opportunity: Paid Law Journal Editorship—Fully Remote

JOTWELL, the online journal of reviews of recent faculty scholarship relating to the law, needs a MiamiLaw 1L or 2L to join our editorial team for the summer.  Update: alas at present the job is only available to UM law students because of bureaucratic limits on how pay works….

The workload typically runs about 30 hours per week, and is paid at the law school’s research assistant scale, which in most cases is $15/hr.  The student editor supports faculty editors both at UM and elsewhere, and has a role that is a blend of a substantive editor and a managing editor.  All work will be carried out remotely.s

The ideal candidate will be sensitive to nuance and a careful editor, organized, and will enjoy reading legal scholarship. JOTWELL uses WordPress to publish, but it is easy to learn, so no experience needed.

Grades matter for this job, but a demonstrated ability to organize, to write, and to edit may substitute for grades. The job would start as soon as you are available after your Spring ’23 final exams—May 15 or earlier—and run to about when classes start in August. Once you get up to speed there would be no problem if you wanted to take one or more brief vacation periods during that time, as long as none of them was for a long continuous period.

In addition to the circa 30 hours per week for Jotwell, there may be an option to add on some extra hours to (sometimes) bring the work up to about 40 hours per week.  These entirely optional and somewhat unpredictable extra hours would be traditional research assistant duties supporting me in my summer research.

PLEASE NOTE: Assuming all goes well, the Jotwell Summer editor will be expected to transition into being one of three student editors next academic year, thus working 7-10 hours per week during the 2024-2025 Fall and Spring semesters.  Please indicate in your application whether you are willing to continue in this role in the next two semesters.

If you are interested, please email the following to michael.froomkin@gmail.com:

  1. Your c.v., aka “your résumé”.
  2. A copy (unofficial is fine) of your transcript,
  3. If you have a non-legal writing sample, please include that also. Please do NOT send your LCOMM paper.
  4. Please state some times when you would be free for a Zoom interview of about 30 minutes on Friday March 29th. If you are completely unavailable then we can try to schedule something Monday morning April 1 if that works for you.

Please put “JOTWELL Summer 2024” and your name in the subject line of your email. Also, please ensure that that all attachments to your email have file names starting with your last name.

Posted in Jotwell | Leave a comment

Real or Onion?

Time for another quiz.  Real or Onion: “GOP Stunned To Discover It’s Not Running Against A Cadaver In 2024”?

Answer below.

Continue reading

Posted in Onion/Not-Onion | 3 Comments

Lincoln Project Had a Good Weekend

I thought the Lincoln Project kinda lost its mojo after the 2020 election, and the major staff changes.  But this under-2-minute montage of all the highlights from the weekend is vintage stuff.

Now if only they’d post their latest videos on their website instead of ex-Twitter.

Posted in 2024 Election | Leave a comment