For those of you who think that blogging is a recent phenomenon, you might want to think back to the 1970s when Dr Seuss apparently coined the term "blogg" for a creature that looks something like this ...
Today is "Quit Facebook" Day - a day of protest where a group of disgruntled Facebook members are encouraging others to get off the social network site. Many of the concerns of the users have been about ways in which Facebook manages user data and doesn't make it particularly easy for users to control their own private information, despite recent moves by the company to improve its privacy settings. While the number of people deleting their profiles from Facebook forever may not do much immediate damage to the company - and may be largely ineffective for personal data which has already found its way into the hands of third parties - it does squarely raise concerns about privacy on Facebook (again).
On this Memorial Day we pause and remember the lives of men and women who died while serving our nation and protecting and preserving the many freedoms we all too often take for granted.
Among those who have served in the military was professional football player Pat Tillman (pictured), who died in Afghanistan at the age of 27. NBC Sports has a brief profile of Army Ranger Tillman, and 68 other athletes -- some famous (Joe DiMaggio, Patty Berg, Tom Landry, etc.), and others less well known (Hobey Baker, John Woodruff, Dwight Davis, etc.) -- who have served in the military in this slide show.
BYU law professor Tom Lee (pictured) has been nominated by Governor Gary Herbert to a seat on the Utah Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by a recent retirement. Lee, who joined the BYU law faculty in 1997, is a Chicago law grad and a former clerk for federal appellate judge Harvie Wilkinson and Justice Clarence Thomas. His teaching and scholarly interests include civil procedure and intellectual property. His father, Rex Lee, served as President Reagan's first Solicitor General. And as noted in this recent post, his brother (Mike) is a U.S. Senate candidate.
In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I'd write some more about the battle of the Brandywine . I returned from winter break a few months back with a few pictures of the Brandywine Battlefield -- and some new-found knowledge and awe and terror about our side's near-death experience at the battle.
I went there seeking a picture of the sycamore tree outside of the Gilpin house, which is where LaFayette was once believed to have had his headquarters (until it was overrun by the British -- then they walked off with all of Gilpin's farm animals and most everything else in his possession). But whether it was his headquarter or not -- or even whether he ever saw it or not -- the tree and house were there at the time of the battle, not far from Washington's headquarters.
First off, taking a page from Robert Darnton's essay in the New York Review of Books (about the Google Books proposed settlement), I'd note the significance of the date of the battle: September 11, 1777.
When I was growing up around there in the 1970s, we were taught in school that the battle wasn't all that significant -- that it was sort of a skirmish and that our side fought bravely but the British won, to the extent anyone did. And even through years of graduate study in history, where I spent a lot of time working on colonial history (though I didn't do any military history) I never bothered to learn anything different.
The battlefield park consists of the headquarters of Washington and a house once believed to be the place LaFayette stayed the night prior to the battle. Though the place where the real fighting took place is a township park and private property, including the Birmingham Friends Meeting House (which is pictured at the left). (You like pictures of eighteenth century Quaker Meeting Houses in Pennsylvania? Me, too.) I'm sure there's an important story in there about land use and our friends over at Volokh would be particularly interested in the part of the story that deals with the condemnation of LaFayette's "headquarters" in the 1940s.
After I visited them again this winter break, I thought I'd do a little reading. And you know what? It was a real disaster for us -- in part because the British out-maneuvered us: they crossed the Brandywine at an unprotected spot a few miles upstream from where we were sure they'd cross. That allowed them to catch us by surprise -- especially because we were so sure they wouldn't take that circuitous route that even when reports started trickling in along the lines of, "oh no -- 10,000 British soldiers are out-flanking us!" we didn't believe them.... Until it was almost too late, when they appeared on a distant hill and sat down to eat lunch. At that moment, we started to move heaven and earth. We were acting like the fate of our Revolution depended on it, because, it did.
Only the most heroic of efforts prevented the ruin of our army and the termination of the Revolution. It was also a disaster because we were out numbered. And while Washington et alia were trying to position the army between the British and the capital of Philadelphia, that was mighty hard to do. For once they out-maneuvered us, it took some serious determination to save the Revolutionary army from complete destruction. Washington was almost captured; LaFayette was injured in the battle. To quote a nineteenth-century orator, who spoke in Ephrata (near Lancaster) at the placement of the base of a monument to the battle on September 11, 1845 -- "escape itself was almost victory."
Things were really bad. Really bad. So bad, in fact, that we didn't have decent records on the decimation of our forces -- though it seems that perhaps 1200 people were killed, countless others wounded, and another 400 captured. The British lost a lot as well -- maybe 1000 people. September 11, indeed.
Revolutionaries are long on ideas, quick with action, and, well, often rather lousy at planning and follow-through. We were little different. But I wonder whether a different outcome was possible. While we carelessly left the fords upstream of Chadds Ford unprotected, I'm not sure that if we'd had guards at the two places that the British army crossed that we would have had a better outcome. Eventually, I would have imagined, that the British would have been able to stretch out the patriots' line and cross at some point. Just wouldn't have been as easy as it was for them.
The story of Brandywine is a stirring one. About the only thing holding us together after that was irrational determination. Because after we were out-flanked at Brandywine and lost most of our canons and about 10% of our meager army (maybe more, who knows -- we were so disorganized we didn't have a very accurate count of the casualties) -- a few days later, the British attacked one of our encampments at night and stabbed a bunch of our soldiers to death in the "Paoli massacre" -- another disaster. (It's in present-day Malvern, right over from the train station -- a picture of the field where the massacre occurred is above right.) Thence followed the dark, freezing winter at Valley Forge: the starving time. The suffering there is too well known to warrant much comment -- except for this: by all rational accounts the Revolution should have ended in 1777. And you know what? It looked like it was going to. The British marched in Philadelphia unopposed and began celebrating what appeared to be their victory. By any rational account the revolution was over. Monarchy had re-asserted itself.
Or so they believed.
To the left is a picture of the Paoli Massacre monument, which is one of the first monuments to the Revolutionary War. It's now in a plastic case in the middle of the enclosed cemetery. There's a larger replica of that monument on the site as well.
And to the right is a picture of me last winter break at the tree. I don't usually post pictures of me in front of monuments. For that matter, I usually don't like to have anyone in my monument pictures. But I'm so fond of this tree that I thought I'd make an exception. I was there late in the afternoon and the sun was in my eyes and I was squinting; also, it was mighty cold that day.
downgraded Spain’s long-term foreign and local currency ratings by one
notch to AA+ from triple-A.According to the company:
“The downgrade reflects Fitch’s assessment that the process
of adjustment to a lower level of private sector and external indebtedness will
materially reduce the rate of growth of the Spanish economy over the medium
term,“ Brian Coulton of Fitch was quoted as saying in a statement.
I noted in an earlier
post my dissatisfaction with the categories of intimate and expressive
association that the Supreme Court first announced in Roberts v.
United States Jaycees. In
this post, I briefly explain some of my concerns. They remain relevant in light of the Court’s forthcoming decision
in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez,
which may prove to be the latest chapter in the clash between freedom of
association and antidiscrimination law (although as Calvin notes here,
the Court might not reach that fundamental issue).
Brennan’s opinion in Roberts
introduced the following hierarchically ordered categories of associations:
hierarchy means that the constitutional protections for C < B < A. It turns out that the groups in B
sometimes lose, and the groups in C always lose. But the distinctions undergirding this hierarchy are
indefensible. Here is why:
Intimate Association. Brennan offered a number of reasons for
privileging intimate associations: they foster diversity, they act as critical
buffers between the individual and the state, they provide emotional enrichment
from close ties with others, and they help define one’s identity. The problem is that none of these distinctions (nor any
others that I have seen) provides a defensible rationale for Brennan’s
line-drawing: many “non-intimate associations also further these goals,
sometimes more effectively than intimate ones. Brennan added ambiguity to arbitrariness when he suggested
that we could meaningfully distinguish between intimate and non-intimate associations
by considering a group’s “size, purpose, policies, selectivity, congeniality,
and other characteristics that, in a particular case, may be pertinent.” Do we really want the constitutional
protections afforded to a group to hinge in part on its “congeniality”? As Justice Stevens noted in dissent in Boy Scouts of America v.
Dale, “the precise scope of the right to intimate association is
Association. Brennan’s attempt
to distinguish expressive from non-expressive associations failed to recognize
that: (1) all associations have expressive potential; (2) expressive meaning is
dynamic; and (3) expressive meaning is subject to more than one interpretation. Consider a gay social club with twenty
members (placing it well outside of the currently recognized contours of an
intimate association). Suppose
that the club’s members engage in no verbal or written expression directed
outside of their gatherings but make no effort to conceal their membership from
their friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who aren’t part of the club. The members of this club are not engaging
in what Brennan referred to as “a right to associate for the purpose of
engaging in those activities protected by the First Amendment—speech, assembly,
petition for the redress of grievances, and the exercise of religion.” And yet there is an expressive message
in their very act of gathering. Of
course, recognizing the inherent expressive potential of an association tells
us nothing about whether it will be constitutionally protected: defining what constitutes expression
differs from determining the scope of legal protection.
These are just a
few of the logical and doctrinal problems inherent in the categories
of intimate and expressive association—I develop them more
fully in this
writing project is an article about associational freedoms online. I suspect that intimate and expressive
distinctions fall apart even more in an online context, where social networking
sites and online dating services interweave close and trivial relationships and
expressive dimensions are inherent in almost every group's website and blog.
observed almost fifty years ago that “the constitutional source of ‘the right
of association,’ the principles which underlie it, the extent of its reach, and
the standards by which it is to be applied have never been clearly set forth.” Neither the passage of time nor the
invented categories of intimate and expressive association have done anything
to distill the accuracy of Emerson’s observation. That can’t be a good thing for our constitutionalism.
Insidehighereducation has a very nice brief essay by Elizabeth Parfitt on the challenges new teachers face. Lots of good wisdom in there, which it's helpful for veterans to remind ourselves of as well.
Here's a picture I took of a sign in Nashville restricting cruising in the evenings and early morning (9 pm to 3 am). Those anti-cruising ordinances are from the late 1980s, aren't they? That's when I remember hearing a lot about them, anyway.
Sachs is much more positive about the ability to bring PIIGS
deficits under control and avoid restructuring than other commenters.
Unfortunately, he doesn't elaborate on the reasons for such optimism.
The real reason I posted this, though, is because of the
beating Sachs takes for being an academic.First, Hendry makes fun of Sachs' position as a tenured
professor unexposed to the risk of the world.Then, he accuses him of skiing too much.
Yesterday, in How
Would Greece Restructure Now?, I asked Lee Buchheit (Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton) to
summarize the possible impact of the European Central Bank’s recent €26.5bn
government bond purchases on the possibility and mechanics of a Greek debt
guest Lounger Anna Gelpern (American, law) –see here and here for previous posts– chimes in
with her thoughts on the issue.
If the central banks are untouchably senior, if ECB and the
other central banks become dominant holders of Greek debt, and if the German
banking problem is not fixed, plus Greece takes on a ton of old-fashioned
senior debt (IMF) …then there is
not enough blood to be squeezed from the remaining bondholder stone.Therefore, restructuring becomes less
likely.Buy the bonds for the same
reason foreigners bought Boden, Argentine domestic debt held overwhelmingly by
Argentine banks—the government was at the time credibly committed not to sink
its banks (for its own domestic political reasons).Then we keep treading water until Axel Weber takes over the
ECB and in the Nixon-Goes-To-China mode, stops sterilizing and starts printing
money.The Euro drops (unless
today’s market is pricing total Euro disintegration, in which case the Euro
would go up because printing money is an exit from uncertainty), European
exports of cars, shoes, and yogurt skyrocket; European center and periphery do
a dance of unity as Detroit sinks.If I were investing in Greek debt, I would try to figure out just how
much debt is held by preferred and non-preferred creditors.There may be a point where I could
free-ride on the preference.
A separate point—since others on the Euro periphery are or
are about to be in the same boat, official creditors would face tricky
political questions of equal treatment.If you go all out to prevent a Greek restructuring (for example, because
all debt is with the ECB), could you ever force a haircut in Spain?This brings up the poor country
analogy.Poor countries’ creditors
were overwhelmingly official, and when too much debt was senior multilateral
plus Bono and the Pope got involved, there was a big concerted trip to the
barbershop (HIPC/MDRI).This leads
to the opposite conclusion from the preceding paragraph, and makes me think
that a formal debt restructuring mechanism in Europe is more likely than I had
And at another extreme, if it is true that Greek banks are
big buyers of CDS protection, say, from the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund,
Greece has a new incentive to default – its insolvent banks have one of the few
good counterparties left standing, burden-sharing heaven.This seems a little counterintuitive—banks
shorting their government?But
then again, local capital flight often leads crisis outflows.Even so, the total volume of CDS
outstanding is too small to plug the Greek banking hole. So …
Name the pair of brothers, each of whom is a member of baseball's Hall of Fame.
Pictured: Card #5 in the Topps 1988 set, featuring knucklers Phil and Joe Niekro. Phil is in the Hall, compiling a career record of 318-274 with an ERA of 3.35 over a 24-year career. Brother Joe (not in the Hall) compiled a career record of 221-204 with an ERA of 3.59 over a 22-year career. Their victory total gives them a ten-win edge over Gaylord and Jim Perry. Like the Niekros, only one of the Perry brothers is in the Hall. Unlike the Niekros (or any other siblings), each Perry won the Cy Young award at least once.
So, have you noticed that some student-run law reviews tend to run, um, a little behind? I was just mentioning to someone that an article of mine that was supposed to come out in the summer of 2009 has still not yet appeared in print. This is frustrating, especially when the article is somewhat timely in its substance, and especially when the student editors go for long periods without communicating about the status of the issue. But one year late could hardly be a record. What is your personal record?
William Mitchell Law Prof Peter Erlinder has been arrested in Kigali on charges of denying the Rwandan genocide. Erlinder is well known for defense work at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and was in Kigali representing Victoire Ingabire, a leading opposition candidate herself targeted by Rwandan authorities after she claimed that crimes committed against Hutus during the 1994 genocide were deliberately overlooked.
William Mitchell has a 110-year history of legal education that is engaged with the legal profession, and we support and encourage the legal pursuits of our faculty beyond the college. Prof. Erlinder is in Rwanda to represent Victoire Ingabire, an opposition candidate for President of Rwanda who was arrested over accusations of promoting genocide ideology. In traveling to Rwanda, Prof. Erlinder exemplifies the great tradition of lawyers who take on the representation of unpopular clients and causes. That Prof. Erlinder did so at great personal risk demonstrates the strength of his commitment to justice and due process. We support his commitment to justice, the rule of law, and public service, which are the core of the lawyer’s function in society and values Prof. Erlinder works to instill in the students he teaches at William Mitchell.
Brian Bromberger, who in
recent months announced that he would be retiring this summer as dean of the law school at Loyola University New Orleans, passed away last night. Bromberger, whose academic career began in the 1960s, had taught at law schools in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the
States. He assumed Loyola's deanship in 2003, following several years as a professor and associate dean on the law faculty at North Carolina.
Loyola's press release is here. Additional story here.
United States: The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Freedom Defense Initiative against a Detroit transportation authority that refused to run an anti-Muslim ad on city buses. Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Center, says that "Americans have a right to know the truth – Islam is a religion of intolerance and violence," and that "Christians, Jews and other non-Muslim minorities are persecuted in every country where Islam dominates." Um . . . ok, then.
Turkey: the national telecom agency is accused of withholding information about the number of websites blocked in the past year. In May 2009, the agency reported 2601 banned sites, (up from 433 sites in May 2008), but has not released an official count since then.
Sudan: anti-terrorism and espionage charges are being used to silence opposition party leaders and members of the press. In one case, the deputy director of an opposition newspaper was arrested on a variety of national-security related counts, including "publishing false news," and "undermining the prestige of the state," after printing an article that said Iran had built a weapons factory in Sudan to supply insurgents.
Japan: a government task force recommended measures to strengthen the detection of online child pornography, and to require ISPs to block child porn sites immediately upon discovery. Though it is a crime to make, sell or distribute child porn in Japan, there is no law against simple possession.