#1! All others are #2 or lower!

by Ted on May 21, 2005

The Houston Bar Association has just published its judicial evaluation poll.

The poll, which is completed every two years, asked HBA members to rate judges “outstanding,” “acceptable” or “poor” in seven categories, including following the law, demonstrating impartiality, paying attention in court and using attorneys’ time efficiently. It also assigned them an overall rating. The poll included federal, state, county and municipal judges.

About 1,200 lawyers, 11 percent of the association’s membership, responded to the poll. Most judges were not rated by every attorney participating in the poll because lawyers were asked only to consider judges they have worked with directly.

You’ll never guess who was judged to be the worst Supreme Court Justice in Texas. Go on, try. (In her defense, the poll apparently asked nothing about Sunday School teaching.)


by Henry Farrell on May 21, 2005

A few items that I’ve wanted to link to, but haven’t, thanks to grading pressures over the last few days.

The “Chronicle of Higher Education”:http://chronicle.com/temp/email.php?id=uwq7gtjevc2bidh0g6sgv32h8q3ek33s on allegations of skulduggery in the world of poetry publishing.

Matt Yglesias “complains”:http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2005/05/um.html about economists’ tendency to look at problems as strategic bargaining situations, rather than as the products of history and path dependence. My rejoinder (stolen like much else from my mate Jack Knight) is that there is no reason that you can’t have both. Many informal social institutions, such as the woman taking the man’s name when she marries, can be seen as a sort of institutional curdling of power inequalities in bargaining games that have been repeated over a very long period. More to the point – Jack makes a very convincing argument that informal institutions are almost by necessity going to reflect power inequalities – only in those relatively unusual situations where people care more about coordinating with each other than about which solution they coordinate on (for example: deciding which side of the road to drive on), or where there aren’t substantial power asymmetries, can we expect the development of the simple efficiency-enhancing institutions that many economists assume to be the norm.

“Sploid”:http://www.sploid.com/news/2005/05/20/south-park-republicans-104411.php on South Park Republicans (via “Nick Gillespie”:http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/05/south_park_repu.shtml).

And “Mark Schmitt”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2005/05/philanthropy_le.html has lots of good links in re: the rise of conservatism and right-wing foundation money.

Andrew Harrison

by Chris Bertram on May 21, 2005

My dear former colleague Andrew Harrison died last Saturday after suffering a cruel illness for the last three years. Andrew was a wonderful teacher, a kind and generous man and a distinguished thinker in aesthetics. I’ve posted some words about him written by Michael Welbourne to philos-l which you can read “here”:http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0505&L=philos-l&F=&S=&P=18637 . I know that a number of former students read CT. If you are among them and would like to know about funeral arrangements please email me privately.

The NYT goes cash for comment

by John Q on May 21, 2005

ViaTimothy Noah at Slate, I learn that the NYT is going to start charging for access to its opinion columns. It’s not clear whether, and how, bloggers will be exempted from this – the NYT provides blog access to the archives (otherwise pay-per-view) through its RSS feeds

Speaking as a reader, I wouldn’t want to pay for the NYT Op-Ed page. The Editorials are worthy, but not very exciting. Of the columnists, only Krugman is consistently excellent, and most of his columns consist of necessary repetition of important truths well-informed readers are aware of, but most commentators are unwilling to harp on for fear of being called “shrill”. But Brad DeLong is equally good, takes a similar line, posts more frequently, and is free. Kristof, like the little girl in the rhyme, is very, very good when he’s good, but that’s not always. And Herbert is steadily good, if sometimes overly earnest. After that, there’s a long tail, with columns more often useful for mockery than for endorsement.

As a blogger, there’s no point in paying for something if you can’t link to it. That’s why the WSJ is so thoroughly marginalised in the blog world. So unless the NYT finds a way around this, they’ll be cutting themselves off from one of the most active parts of the public debate, and missing out on quite a few potential readers.