Edward Said

by Chris Bertram on September 25, 2003

Edward Said “is dead”:http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/25/obituaries/25WIRE-SAID.html .

Style Police

by Brian on September 25, 2003

I can’t tell whether this is poor style, or poor grammar, or both. It’s the one sentence summary of an inside story from the front page of today’s NY Times. (It doesn’t seem to be duplicated in the online edition.)

It’s the Detroit Tigers, not Art Howe’s Mets, who are threatening to eclipse Casey Stengal’s original Mets of 1962 for most losses in a season, but the current Mets may not be better, but certainly richer, than their notorious and hapless ancestors.

The two ‘but’s close together are pretty bad, which is why I thought poor style. But I can’t imagine any sentence could start “the current Mets may not be better, but certainly richer…” which is why I thought poor grammar. It’s probably a fun game to try and formulate the precise rule they are breaking here, but I’m not going to be the one to do that.

School selection or parental choice?

by Harry on September 25, 2003

Stephen Pollard is often worth reading on education, though almost always wrong. Take his “latest post”:http://www.stephenpollard.net/001180.html (and article from Fabian Review) in which he attacks the British left’s skepticism about specialist schools. I’m on record as being skeptical about the particular version of specialization Pollard attacks, and also as favoring abolition of private and selective schools in the UK (not in the US), another position he attacks. I am also, unlike most people with my politics, a strong supporter of parental choice. But Pollard is not, it seems. He says that we should fund ‘whatever parents, not bureaucrats or politicians, want’. But he also wants schools (run, let me tell you, by government-funded bureaucrats) to be able to select students. So whose choice is decisive in where a kid goes to school? Not the parent’s choice, but the bureaucrat’s.

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Women in the Judiciary

by Micah on September 25, 2003

Shameless plug: a group I work with at the University of Virginia law school is hosting a “panel”:http://www.law.virginia.edu/lawweb/lawweb2.nsf/pages/lev2calc?OpenDocument&Fr1=zzzlawnotes2.law.virginia.edu/lawweb/event1.nsf/WABW&Fr2=/home2002/frames/lf_News.htm on “Women in the Judiciary” later today. Two federal appellate judges and a justice from the “Virginia Supreme Court”:http://www.courts.state.va.us/scv/home.html will take questions for about an hour and half. Dahlia Lithwick (to whom this slightly “scary”:http://www.blueblanket.net/Dahlia/dahlia.html fan blog is devoted) kindly agreed to moderate.

Preparing for the panel, I came across some interesting–though not terribly surprising–demographic information on women in the U.S. federal judiciary. The Federal Judiciary Center has a nice “database”:http://www.fjc.gov/newweb/jnetweb.nsf/fjc_history?OpenFrameSet (look for the Federal Judges Biographical Database) that lets you search for information about federal judges using about a dozen different variables, including who nominated them and when. I ran a search on “Nominating President” and “Gender” and got these results:

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Dogs in the manger

by Maria on September 25, 2003

It’s a bright day for the rainbow of opponents who lobbied all summer against the excesses of the European software patenting directive. News.com reports that the European Parliament voted yesterday to pass the extremely unpopular software patent directive. The European Parliament could have thrown out the directive, but instead lumbered it with some amendments that may make it too difficult to implement in the member states. Though the result is messy, the EP’s vote has allowed common sense (and the conclusions of independent research) to prevail. It strikes a blow against oligopoly and tries to keep the way open for truly competitive innovation. (see some economists dismiss as daft the idea that software patenting creates economic growth.)

This directive should have been a relatively straightforward housekeeping exercise in making sure patents are enforced in all EU countries. But it opened another front in the war to extend intellectual property rights protection to every half-decent or half-baked idea any Dilbert can come up with.

Aside from the immediate analysis of the directive and its aftermath, there is some more food for thought; firstly, the benefit, if any, for the US in pressing for these extensions, and secondly, the contempt with which the Commission has treated the European Parliament.

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The rhetoric of reaction

by Chris Bertram on September 25, 2003

I was thinking over some of the responses to my discussion of “sufficientarianism” below, and noticing how common is a certain type of right-wing response to facts about the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our societies. To whit:

bq. It isn’t true.


bq. It may be true, but it doesn’t matter.


bq. It’s true, and it matters, but doing something about it would (a) have the perverse effect of making that thing worse, or (b) make something else worse. etc etc.

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Connecting the dots

by Maria on September 25, 2003

Thomas Friedman’s piece today on the link between Cancun and the war on terror is a little flip, a little glib, but basically on the money.

Reminds me of Will’s monologue in Good Will Hunting on why not to join the NSA …

(though of course Friedman’s less sharp, less funny and also, sadly, not Matt Damon).

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In a world…

by Ted on September 25, 2003

My favorite spoof of movie cliches is right here, but the good people at Fametracker are having some fun with them in this discussion thread.

Highlights from the comments:

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Gratuitous Cross-Promotion

by Brian on September 25, 2003

Will Baude at Crescat Sententia has been running a series of online interviews with various bloggers. And the subject of the latest interview is me. Here’s the interview. If you want more blogger Q&As, previous blogger interviews (including Lawrence Solum, Matthew Yglesias and several permanent or temporary Conspirators) are prominently featured in the Crescat Sententia sidebar. I’d like to say that everything I say there about Crooked Timber is official CT party policy, but that would be, at the very least, a lie.

Say Hello to Eszter

by Kieran Healy on September 25, 2003

True to form, she’s jumped in already, but I wanted to welcome Eszter Hargittai as the latest member of the CT catnet. Eszter is a sociologist, is newly ensconced at Northwestern, was an office-mate of mine for a while in graduate school, has far too many publications for someone who just started their job last week, and has an Erdõs number of three.