We can all stop blogging now (and not a moment too soon). “Query Letters I Love” has found the ultimate use for the medium: posting and mocking real Hollywood script queries from wannabe screenwriters. Just a sample:

“The protagonist’s challenges throughout the story are:

1) A seagull attack gave him Seagull Herpes, an incurable disease that will soon kill him.
2) The seagull attack also tore a bone within his calf in two. His best medicines are herbs and acupuncture, so the bone never fully heals, and it causes internal bleeding for him to walk. The story involves him running a lot…”

I’m in love.

Saddam comparisons

by Henry Farrell on January 10, 2005

Jim Henley says it “in plain English”:http://www.highclearing.com/archivesuo/week_2005_01_09.html#005789.

bq. All together now: Saddam was worse! In terms of body count in Iraq this is true, though the man had a big head start on us, so we ought to be allowed a couple of decades to catch up. But what about the world ? Is it better? And are we? We have gone from a time in which the tyrant of an oil patch with a broken army and 23 million inhabitants practiced a tyranny which all decent people abhorred, to a time in which the largest and most powerful country in the history of mankind justifies torture and contemplates assassination teams – we should call them terror squads – as official policy. And the people who most consider our virtue unchallengeable are the quickest to publically avow our need to torture and murder.

Dan Hunter recently posted a paper called “Walled Gardens”:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=635141 on SSRN. Although the paper has received some attention from legal bloggers (“here”:http://lsolum.blogspot.com/archives/2005_01_01_lsolum_archive.html#110494748452395983 and “here”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2005_01_00.shtml#1105044769), it’s been all praise so far. Hunter argues that law reviews should allow open access to the papers they publish. And what legal academic could disagree with that? As Hunter says, academics are interested in the widest possible dissemination of their ideas.[1] And free or open access certainly promotes the value of spreading information and ideas.

Hunter’s basic position is that law reviews should permit and indeed encourage authors to self-publish. Journals should also make articles available on-line for free consumption. I’m generally sympathetic to this position. I’ve only published one “paper”:http://ppe.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/3/2/191 (forgive the shameless plug), but it’s not easy to get access to it. It’d certainly be nice if everyone could read it for free. But I’ve also spent most of the last year working for a law review, and, from the perspective of a student editor, I think Hunter’s criticisms are somewhat harsh. I also think he underestimates the long-term costs of doing business—even on-line. What follows is a first pass at Hunter’s argument. I put these thoughts forward tentatively, and I hope they’ll be received that way. I think Hunter’s paper is important and provocative. It raises lots of interesting questions about what (legal) academic publishing should be like, especially in a paper-free world. But those questions appear to me far more open than Hunter sometimes suggests.

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Why we get no respect, part XXVI

by Ted on January 10, 2005

Regarding this Instapost:

CHUCK SIMMINS NOTES that George Soros appears to be missing in action on tsunami relief. So are some others you’d expect to be giving. (Via Bill Hobbs). On the other hand, it’s worth pointing out that Soros’ foundation did a lot of good work regarding the Ukrainian elections.

Hack. There must be some set of values under which it’s entirely appropriate to criticize the mainstream media for bias in the morning, for sloppiness in the afternoon, and then pump out this bilge in the evening. Somewhere, deep in The Way Things Ought to Be, Google is the only tool you need to make this sort of accusation. It’s clearly inconceivable that a multi-billion dollar philanthropist would donate to a horrible tragedy without advertising it on a blimp, at an absolute minimum.

A real journalist who wanted to follow this angle wouldn’t do so without contacting Soros. A journalist who published a piece sneering at a private citizen’s lack of charity, based entirely on his lack of self-promoting press releases, would face some harsh words. For the world’s foremost political blogger, it’s just another day at the keyboard. We’re not going to be overtaking the MSM any day soon.

“But he said ‘appears’!” I’m sorry, that’s no kind of standard. I could spend all friggin’ day commenting on the apparent grevious failures of people that I don’t especially like. (Did you know that Sammy Hagar appears to have never denounced NAMBLA? Makes you think, dunnit?)

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Comment Spammers Unite

by Ted on January 10, 2005

A marvellously generous blogger named Michele Agnew will donate $1 to Oxfam’s tsunami relief for every comment to this post (until she closes it; I think that she’s already gone well above and beyond her original plan of keeping it open for 24 hours.) I’m getting to this very late in the day, but don’t hesitate to try.

UPDATE: Her comment thread is now closed after 500 comments. Many thanks to Michele, and many thanks to everyone who had a chance to participate.