Summers Lovin’

by Kieran Healy on February 21, 2005

A correspondent writes that “my complaints”: about the “Summers controversy”: are unfair to Larry Summers. If you’re interested, his case and my reply are below the fold.

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Harry Frankfurt on The Daily Show

by Brian on February 21, 2005

Karen Bennett (Philosophy, Princeton) reports that Harry Frankfurt is scheduled to be on _The Daily Show_, presumably promoting his book “On Bullshit”: The date is now set to be March 14, though that doesn’t seem to be absolutely certain. Non-philosophers should feel free to be less overjoyed with excitement at a philosopher getting this much attention, but I think it’s rather fun, and that episode won’t end up being one of the _Daily Shows_ that I miss – or fastforward through the interview.

UPDATE: Scott McLemee has a nice review of “On Bullshit”:, together with a discussion of Gerry Cohen’s reply, at Inside Higher Ed.

Atkins and Pollard

by Harry on February 21, 2005

Chris Brooke provides some anecdotal evidence that the Atkins diet may not be all it is cracked up to be. Pollard is not much thinner than before the diet and looks… well, considerably less cheerful. Or maybe, as Chris hints in a comment, this testimony followed his incredibly disappointing evening at a local restaraunt.

Kelo v New London

by Belle Waring on February 21, 2005

The Supreme Court will soon hear a case which could decide the limits of the power of eminent domain. The question in the case is whether the government of New London, CT can seize homeowners’ property and give it to private developers in a bid to “revitalize” the town. (Link to AP story).

Fort Trumbull is not besieged by blight, poverty or crime and New London is not building a highway or government building, and the residents’ appeal asks if “public use” allows governments to seize unblighted taxpayer property solely to encourage private development.

…New London officials say the taxes generated by redeveloping Fort Trumbull ultimately will benefit the public, and the state Supreme Court ruled that was enough to justify the condemnation.

That line of reasoning seems incredibly weak, and the potential for abuse, enormous. The Connecticut Supremes also relied on a rather dubious (and notorious) precedent:

The state Supreme Court majority in Kelo relied heavily on a 1981 Michigan Supreme Court ruling – Poletown Neighborhood Council vs. City of Detroit – which it cited as a “landmark” eminent domain case. But several months after the Connecticut Supreme Court issued its ruling in Kelo, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed its Poletown ruling. (Link to Hartford Courant article)

The Reason Foundation is assisting the plaintiffs. I think it’s obvious the Supreme Court should reverse the state Supreme Court, but I’m curious to see how the justices decide. Am I rooting for Scalia on this? Does anyone know how the justices are predicted to vote? (I seem to remember Eugene Volokh had a betting pool for Supreme Court decisions…)