Monday, October 31, 2005

Supreme Strategy

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was complimentary of Miers. He raised Miers' name during a September 22 breakfast meeting with the president in which Sens. Frist, Specter, Leahy and he discussed possible candidates with the president, Reid spokeman Jim Manley said. Reid believes Miers would bring a "fresh perspective" to the court, Manley said.

"I like Harriet Miers," Reid said in a statement. "As White House counsel, she has worked with me in a courteous and professional manner. I am also impressed with the fact that she was a trailblazer for women as managing partner of a major Dallas law firm and as the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association." (CNN)

Shmuli is the person who pointed out to me that Reid's endorsement of Miers is the linchpin to understanding the recent series of events. I stand utterly astounded that Reid can still stand by his endorsement of Meirs, in light of all the criticism which has ensued. At the very least it just seems ill-advised politically; but that is neither here nor there.

Bush attempted to choose a candidate for the Supreme Court that would have bi-partisan support. Who would not nominate their personal attorney to the bench, whose conservative views are clear and has the support of the Senate Minority Leader?! In the end, however, it was the conservative lobby, not the Liberals or Dems that forced Miers to withdraw. I had thought earlier that the Dems ought not attack Miers before the hearings, as then they would look like they were just playing partisan. The result has been that Bush, seeing that the Right brought his former nominee down, chose to rally his party around a strong conservative nominee instead of making another bipartisan offering. Because the Dems stayed pretty silent on attacking Meirs, there was no need to cater to their base--they are irrelevant.

Alito looks to be a good guy (read: qualified- well educated and experienced, and has a family for what it's worth). From Scotius, anyhow, he does care about issues like feminism, racism and people with disabilities--he is just more strict about applying laws. I can live with that.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I immediately

thought of Oren when I saw the title to this post at Crescat.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

It's educational!

Either Crimson columnists hate graduate students, or this one's attempt at humor is sorely lacking. Shorter Kreicher: "Waah! Waah! My TF has a Chinese accent! I have been at Harvard for 4 years and I still don't know what disinterested means!" Even worse, the college admissions office used to hate loud-mouthed Jews and short people. Seriously, last week's New Yorker article is great. Not only does it insult Harvard, but it mentions Chicago in contrast; you'll have to read the article to find out where. Like me, you can sneer, then feel a little lame about it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Proof: the Movie

So I saw Proof with my sister Motza"sh. My sister liked it more than I did. Atop the fact that the movie was only ok, I (like The New Yorker) felt that they kept on talking around the math. A more thorough explanation of the central theme of this movie than, "this is the most important proof in the last 50 years." might have felt more true to life. Excessive jargon is bad, but none at all indicates that the actors on stage are guarded-- they know you are listening and, in deference to your ineptitude, don't want to bore you with details. But you did decide to spend your Saturday evening at movie called, "Proof," you can't hate math that much and I, for one, like hearing words I don't understand. A good movie allows all involved, both actors and audience, to feel comfortable. Maybe I know too many Mathies, but no one refers to a Theoretical Physicist as a Theoretical Physicist; it just sounds wooden.

That being said, the lack of math detail is made up by the incredible amount of HP subtlety. The movie was filmed in HP, Northwestern and England-- with the house being in England (so I gather). The penultimate scene of the movie has Paltrow opening up a drawer in their house revealing, amongst other things, a matchbook (or something like it) from the Medici. Someone had to cart that thing thousands of miles just to give the illusion to people who know HP that the house is really located there. Hats off.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Nobel Prize for Economics

has followed me to Hebrew University in Jerusalem. When I was at Chicago, they were winning the prize. Now that I am at Hebrew U . . .

I am currently on vacation in Athens, so we'll see if anyone here wins it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

King of the Hill

While reading online about the Miers nomination I saw (I forget where) a reference to my favorite King of the Hill line.

HANK: I thought you were busy teaching girls to blow up basketballs. When did this turn into a desire to ruin wrestling?
PEGGY: Oh, give me a break. I don't see how having a girl on the team would ruin it. Did a woman judge ruin the Supreme Court?
HANK: Yes, and that woman's name was Earl Warren.

I wonder

if taller women are less into getting gifts from their men?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Meirs Market

Anyone willing to venture odds on Meirs conformation? Even Cons on the blogosphere seem to be shouting patronage. Just a guess- 2:13 she goes down.

Shanna Tova

To all those that I have not had the presence of mind to call personally (I hesitate to list them, for the sake of monotony) Shanna tova techatev vetechatem le'alter chaim tovim vesholom.

Yuri Undershaft

There can be no doubt that "Major Barbara" (George Bernard Shaw) lies as the literary precursor to Nicholas Cage's newest movie "Lord of War." Intellectually, they are really talking about the same thing: how can you sell that which you cannot morally defend? In the proximity to the question, Lord of War puts us on the front-lines of African massacres-- Yuri Orlof (Cage) is given full knowledge of what lies ahead for the weapons he peddles while Andrew Undershaft can only dream. Oren also pointed out to me that, for at least part of the movie, you want to be Yuri. He has money, power, and family all thanks to his nefarious business. But there is where the movie peaks.

After seeing Major Barbara this summer at Shaw Festival (greatest show on earth!) I was really excited to see a modern day equivalent. Needless to say Shaw is unique. Shaw creates a villain so perfect, so idyllic that all slander is forcibly syphenned off to the side. He never drinks, cheats or gambles. The antagonist is polite, courteous and a generous philanthropist. As a result of Understaft's clean record, all eyes are perched glaring at his one flaw-- he sells guns. Because Shaw is so funny, the villan always wins. By the end of the play Undershaft convinces Adolfus to join his factory, and all the other characters are shown to be more or less buffoons. The play causes you to completely rethink your moral reservations with the subject matter or only at the very end does it give you some hope that your intuitions are not completely in err.

Yuri has none of these graces. He is self absorbed (which is only accentuated by Cage's boring monologue throughout the movie) and not a very nice person. He cheats, never sees his family, does hard drugs and loses control of himself from time to time. In light of all these offences he does not come across as a moral purist. The supporting characters are weak and supply no counter-balance to Yuri. Even the Interpol investigator comes off looking like a stupid attack dog lacking the refinement to parry Yuri's rather weak blows.

It is hard to compete with Shaw's whit and brilliance, but Lord of War comes no where close.

UChicago Law

Look at the new UChicago law blog. Looks to be a real blog, instead of essays, like Becker-Posner. We can expect many good things.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Foreign Law is History

Now that Roberts and Ginsburg have both successfully refused to answer questions that would predict future rulings, one of the few areas of controversy left to quiz nominees on is the citation of foreign law. The anti-foreign law position (the GOP stance) is easily justified to the public and the Democrats have nothing to gain policy-wise from pushing the point. A future Democratic President will probably avoid the controversy by appointing only nominees who will state that they will not cite foreign law.