Begging The Question

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Spies© : Who Moved My Cheese Edition UPDATED
1. What's your favorite cheese?

I think Swiss. No -- Baby Swiss. Close runners-up: mozzerella and provalone.

2. Cheesy movie: If you were in Top Gun, what would your call sign be?

When I wrote these, I meant to include a disclaimer that you couldn't use a blog name, but I forgot. So I guess I could go with "Milbarge." But I won't do that. And "Bojangle's" might not fit on the helmet. I wonder if real flyboys struggle this much, and get buyer's remorse as soon as something is etched on the side of the plane. Because I want to say "Banjo," but I know I'll regret it tomorrow. For now I'll go with RatDog. Or Mayberry.

3. Big cheese: Tell us a boss story -- best boss, worst boss, a time when you were the boss, etc.

I've been pretty fortunate with bosses. Nobody requiring me to wear too many pieces of flair, so that's good. But likewise, nothing outstanding springs to mind. My best bosses were probably the professors I worked for after my first year of law school, because they didn't make me work very hard and I could come and go as I pleased.

I don't think I like being the boss. I'd much rather be the #2 man, the behind-the-scenes mastermind, Rove or Cheney to someone else's W. I applied to be Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, but in retrospect it's a good thing I didn't get it. My previous experience as EIC, on my high school yearbook staff, was a traumatic experience. Early in the school year, the faculty sponsor (who did all the hard work) was diagnosed with skin cancer and had to miss a few months for surgery and treatment. Suddenly, all her duties fell to me. So, between her jobs and the ones I would have had anyway, I had to write 12 of the books first 64 pages (we sent off sets of 16 pages at a time to the publisher, and the sponsor was supposed to be back after the first four of fourteen), edit every other word and photo in those first 64 pages, assign everything in the book, and input it all into our primitive desktop publishing program (about one step above DOS). Needless to say, I slacked off. And to be fair, I was also taking a pretty heavy courseload and applying to colleges at the time. And, as hard as it may be to believe for a yearbook editing band nerd, I was dating, too. Anyway, we got way, way behind. And one of the other staffers was constantly dropping by the sponsor's place to badmouth me. So when the sponsor came back, she sat down at the computer and was silent for a very long time as she looked at our progress thus far. I just had to stand there waiting for it. The badmouther and our photographer (the sponsor's son) were there, too. After the longest time, watching her do a slow burn, she turned to me and said, "What have you been doing this whole time?" I didn't really have an answer. After that, she gave her son and the badmouther some sort of editor titles, which was presented as a promotion for them, but was really a demotion for me. I was so bitter about the whole thing I didn't even pick up my own yearbook that year.

4. Say cheese: Are you a photobug? Are you photogenic? Or, in 1000 words or less, tell us about your best picture.

I like taking pictures, I guess, but I don't have a decent camera. And I always seem to run out of things to shoot before I finish a roll of film (I know, I need to go digital). For example, I developed a roll a few weeks ago that was about 90% pictures from February. As for me being photogenic, uh, no.

5. Just cheesy: What's the worst pick-up line you've ever used, or had used on you? Did it work?

I don't think I've ever used a pick-up line, per se. And I know I've never had one used on me. Or if someone has used one on me, I missed it. Ladies, feel free to try your hand at it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Stop calling people Hitler. It demeans you. It demeans your opponent. And quite frankly, it demeans Hitler.
This blog has been far too civil of late, and that's what happens when you go awhile without discussing politics, religion, handgrenades. Discussions about John Roberts's nomination don't count. He's too bland and everyone agrees he's going to be confirmed. Hell even his name is boring. That being said, I have a idea that's been rolling around my head a few days. Figured I would throw out some material for the BTQ boys, and hopefully help them towards that 100,000th visitor.

I think U.S. Senators and Reps should be required to visit/speak to troops serving in (or recently returned from) combat zones overseas. This idea came about because of a lot of the idiotic speeches and camera mugging that has been going on for, oh, the past 4 years or so. When I hear a Senator talking about the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even at Gitmo, my first thought is have they been over there to see? How many soldiers currently serving abroad do they communicate with on a regular basis?

Now, for the sake of this exercise, I'm ignoring the huge logistical and security nightmare that would be 535 high profile VIPs making separate trips to a foreign country that's not fully stable. But they wouldn't have to go to Baghdad, they could head to any of the 14 provinces that are fairly secure. I'm also aware that there is no real way to "make" these guys do anything (except toe the party line).

I am just curious if we would hear our representatives in Congress comparing the actions of our soldiers to Nazis and discounting the huge progress made in reconstruction if they knew they would have to get up and speak in front of a few thousand men and women that have been working their asses off for months in the heat. Wondering if the comments about the Iraqis' attitude towards us would be different if they actually met a few, and talked with some of the soldiers that walk among them every day. Most of all, for all of them that go around saying, "I support the troops", it would be nice to see them actually go and do it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oh, it's the deep burn! Oh, it's so deep! I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over 1000.
I was at the gym last night, minding my own business, recovering between sets of crunches, when an older woman - late 50s to mid-60s maybe, frizzy perm, wiry old lady runner's body, day-glo tan, baggy tank top and running shorts - sidled up to the bench on which I was resting and just stood there looking at me and smiling.

In between gasps of breath I asked, "Do you need to use this bench? I have only one more set and then it's all yours."

"Oh, no honey, I don't need the bench," she said with a twinkle in her eyes. "Watching you work out is all the exercise I need."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Random Thoughts: This Post Goes to Eleven
Stuff that's been on my mind lately:

1. For you basketball fans, a big antitrust trial between the NIT and the NCAA started this week. That link provides some useful background, and here are some thoughts from the Sports Law Blog from back when the suit was launched. In brief, the NIT alleges that the NCAA, through its cash-cow men's basketball tournament, illegally restrains the NIT's chances to stage a competitive tournament. NCAA teams have to take a bid to its tournament if offered, and no team can compete in both events. I would think there has to be a timeliness issue here, but if it can get around that, the NIT has (at least) two things going for it. First, the NCAA "sanctions" the NIT, to the extent that it allows member institutions to play in that event; perhaps it is illegally monoplolistic to limit the playing field. (Maybe a comparison to the browser wars/Microsoft bundling is possible.) Second, the NIT is represented by Jeffrey Kessler, perhaps the pre-eminent sports law attorney in the country. If someone who knows more than I do about antitrust {x=everyone} would like to chime in on the merits, I'd be most interested. Note that Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight is expected to testify for the NIT, and his protege Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is on the NCAA's witness list.

2. A new biography claims that Jimi Hendrix got out of the Army by "complain[ing] that he was in love with one of his squad mates and that he had become addicted to masturbating." Insert your own punchline. I'll go with: Well, who hasn't? I hope that's not how he learned his technique for "playing his instrument."

3. Here's an interesting assessment in Slate of the new Dove "real beauty" ads. The short-term grade is "A" because of the attention the ads are getting. But the long-term grade is "D," because the author thinks Dove will become known as "the brand for fat girls," which is not exactly what most beauty products aim for. I'm not sure what to make of this; just thought it was notable and a fun read (the author really likes the ads).

4. Here's a nice lesson in how the wording of polls matters. Both of these polls were about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. This Gallup poll asked, "Do you think that senators should insist that Roberts explain his views on abortion prior to confirming him?" Sixty-one percent said yes, and thirty-seven percent said Roberts should be allowed to refuse to answer. Elsewhere, U.S. News and NRO's Bench Memos cite a Republican poll finding that seventy-six percent of respondents find it "acceptable" that Roberts decline to answer questions about specific issues (like abortion, one imagines). The key difference is that the second poll mentioned that Justice Ginsburg refused to answer those queries before the poll popped the Roberts question, thereby suggesting there's at least a history, if not a norm, of not answering questions. I'm not making a normative point on what Roberts should have to answer, just pointing out that how you frame the issue matters.

5. You know those blogs that everybody else reads, but you're slow to catch on to? Well, one of those for me was Ann Althouse's blog. I used to check it out occasionally, but nowadays I'm going a lot because there's always something good there, and she posts a ton of content. I feel so late to the party because she just logged her two millionth visitor. Congrats to Prof. Althouse. We're closing in on one, ourselves. Well, not one million, but close: one hundred thousand. Stay tuned and keep refreshing.

6. Via the Sports Guy's Intern, here is a list of the 100 Best Video Games of All Time. I know someone who's going to be happy with the top two picks.

7. My trusty desk calendar tells me today is Picnic Day in Australia's Northern Territory. Of course, with the dateline and time zones and all, it's probably something like next Thursday morning over there, so happy belated or early Picnic Day, mates! I know it's dumb to act as if the only Aussie I know knows everything and everyone over there, but I'm curious about this holiday. It sounds like such a gay old time.

8. Check it out: a Google-style logo maker!

9. I've been thinking some about missing women, and specifically which missing women the media pay attention to. That a pregnant woman in Philadelphia is missing seems newsworthy by itself (although maybe not nationally newsworthy), but it seems as if a lot of the media attention is driven by shame/guilt over the mega-coverage given to missing white women like the high school student in Aruba, the runaway bride, or Laci Peterson. I think that the driving force behind media coverage, though, is out-of-the-ordinary-ness, the "man bites dog" thing. There were/are elements to all those white girl stories that made them unusual. I don't think the media coverage helped a lot, though -- were any of those perpetrators caught because of the extensive media coverage who wouldn't have been caught anyway? I don't know what the statistics are on the number of pregnant women, of any race, who go missing, but I know that not many of them make national news. I think if there's a media bias or racism here, maybe it's not as much about the race of the victims, but the race of the perps. I'm just tossing this out there; I'm not saying I agree with it. But as a hypothesis, I wonder if the media look for "unexpected" stories, and they "expect" black-on-black crime, but not rich white criminals. Note that something like the DC sniper cases can fit this paradigm because the media (and police) didn't expect black serial killers. Of course, the victims and the crazy randomness of those shootings were newsworthy well before we knew who did them. So maybe a better answer is that extensive media coverage is based on a combination of appealing victims and unexpected perpetrators. Just a thought. I'm not convinced the media, collectively, are racist. What drives the media is money. If Greta could get the same ratings in Philadelphia as she could in Aruba, she'd be a lot less tan these days.

10. Another great blog I've started reading a lot more, PrawfsBlawg, is asking (per Prof. Berman, sitting by designation) how blogs can better be used as an academic medium. I have some (probably non-original) thoughts on this. I know of one specialized law journal aimed at practitioners that is going to a web-only model soon, and I think we'll see more law reviews extending their web presence. Case notes that are more about description and less about synthesis and analysis should be posted on the journal's web site within days, with links to blog commentary. The more analytical case notes, like the Harvard Law Review has, can follow in print later. (Why doesn't the HLR have its own blog? It has enough members to write one, surely.) I think we'll see more professors doing something like the authors of Freakonomics have done: set up a web presence as a follow-up to a book or article. The author's note will include a link to the site, where new developments and responses can be found. I think this will be a good thing if it leads to less re-warming of old ideas once a professor has found a niche. Instead of writing an update of the same old article every few years, a professor might write several new blog posts on that idea, and have to come up with a new one if he or she wants to write a whole article. (And the professor can always hire research assistants to keep up the web site.) We've already seen that blog popularity can drive article readership (e.g., via SSRN downloads). I expect that to be a two-way street in the future: someone will come across an article on Westlaw, and check the author's blog for updates, kind of a law review article key-citing! I think blogs will have an extensive impact on academic scholarship in the future, both from the authors' and the publications' points of view. I think the article selection process could be altered too: imagine pre-emption checking if Westlaw had a database of law professor blogs to search! I'll have more on this in the future, but those are some preliminary thoughts.

11. Does anyone know a good preventive measure against shin splints? Not post-pain management. I want to avoid getting them in the first place. Thanks.

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    Milbarge Recommends

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    The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.

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