Aaron Worthing over at Paterico discusses the media coverage of a small Muslim riot in Dearborn provoked by some guy who burned a Koran. The double standards, obviously, abound. I love his conclusion: “Would it be too much to ask the media to treat these guys as badly as Tea Partiers, or conversely, to treat Tea Partiers as good as rioting radical Muslims?”
Apollo posted this at 5:55 PM CDT on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 as Journalism
On journalists, writing about Obama, in San Francisco! In an age where you can’t even expect bought-lawyers to stand up to political correctness, it’s bracing to see a newspaper editor brazenly state that something from this most-politically-correct White House is “not a truthful response.”
Apollo posted this at 12:49 AM CDT on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 as Journalism
Well, sorta. Instapundit links to this list of fast food burgers that aren’t high in calories (with a line that I regard as an Insta-classic: “I’ve always felt the Whopper Jr. was underrated.”). I thought the list was worth pointing out because the burger with the most calories is the only one not from a fast food restaurant:
Notice how we haven’t mentioned sit-down restaurants until now? That’s because we were both shocked and saddened to learn that the majority of restaurant burgers top the 1,000-calorie mark and have more than 50g of fat. YIKES!
I’ve been getting pretty cranky at Austin-area restaurants over this exact issue. I can’t remember the last time I was in a non-fast-food restaurant that had a hamburger on its menu that weighed in at less than 8 ounces. I understand why restaurants do this – that extra two or three ounces of beef doesn’t cost much, but it does make the $10 price tag seem more reasonable.
But what if I want a burger and I don’t want to spend $10? What if I don’t want to have to make the terrible choice of over-eating, wasting food, or – most inglorious of all – leaving with part of a burger in a take-home box? What if I’m driving on a long trip and I don’t want to feel uncomfortable for the last six hours of my drive? What if I just like a good bread-meat-topping ratio rather than the unbalanced jumbo burgers that most restaurants sell?
As best I can tell, if you want a reasonable-sized hamburger, you’re limited to fast food and greasy spoons. That’s right, for all the griping about how unhealthy fast food is, the fact is that it’s easier to eat healthy in a fast food restaurant than it is in a sit-down restaurant (where the incentive is to give you too much food so they can charge you too much money). As someone who has successfully dieted, I’ll say that it’s a lot easier to stick to a diet in a fast food restaurant than in pretty much any sit-down restaurant.
My personal pick? A Whataburger with grilled jalepenos comes in at 620 calories; that’s a healthy lunch for an averaged-sized guy, and the bread-meat-toppings ratio is perfect. Plus, it’s completely without the pretension that some restaurants engage in (I’m looking at you, Five Guys) that somehow making a burger sloppy makes it better. No, if your burger is sloppy or otherwise difficult to eat, it’s because you did it wrong.
Conservatives, it seems, also control money. And can write scathing, well-reasoned letters that get lots of attention.
Were I a business that had King & Spalding as a law firm – well, first I wouldn’t, because big firms like that always overcharge. But if I did I’d dump them because no one wants to be represented by pusillanimous lawyers. When you give into one group, you raise the specter that you’ll give in to them all. Prof. Jacobson sums up why no law firm should ever cave to this sort of crap:
There’s a beauty and level of comfort in the ethical rules and principles which govern attorneys; the rules provide a compass which insulates attorneys from pressures to do the wrong thing, whether those pressures are brought by clients or outsiders. I teach my students that the rules of ethics are not an enemy, they are an attorney’s best friend.
When attorneys put business convenience ahead of the attorney’s duty of loyalty to a client, there is no good outcome.
And if I were a business that got threatened by a gay rights group to change my business partners, I’d look very closely at what happens to King & Spalding. I imagine the commonwealth of Virginia will not be the last client to dump them out of fear of being dumped first. If King & Spalding loses a lot of business over this, it will make pressure from gay rights groups a lot easier to resist in the future. This may be a Pyrrhic victory they’ll come to regret.
I’ve long thought that there was a certain percentage of people who tell pollsters more or less random things, and that these people frequently make it look like fringe groups are larger than they really are. If, for example, five percent of people will tell a pollster that the square root of four is “rainbows,” then we should discount by 5% all of the politically-motivated “Do you believe in obviously-fringe-and-untrue Belief X?” polls that seem to be circulating these days.
While it’s inherently hard to measure randomness, I think I’ve found something. If you scroll far enough down this poll, you’ll find the question, “How proud would you be to have [NAME] as president?” The options are Extremely, Very, Somewhat, and Not at All.
For Mike Huckabee, it’s 5, 13, 29, 38.
For Mitt Romney, it’s 4, 11, 31, 39.
For Donald Trump, it’s 3, 7, 23, 62.
My argument is that the 10% of people who say they would be “extremely” or “very” proud to have Donald Trump are merely a function of the margin of random. While it might be possible to have be “somewhat” proud of a President Trump (I think a substantial number of people might say either: “I’m somewhat proud that we have a president who won a fair contest and has the consent of the people, regardless of who that president is,” or “I’m somewhat proud that our new president isn’t that asshole he replaced”), from the information we currently have absolutely nobody would actually be “very” or “extremely” proud to have Donald Trump as president. With the information we have before us today, there is no way to possibly believe that.
So there you go: the margin of random is at least 10%. It might be as high as 20% (4 categories, and we know that two of them got 10%, so perhaps they combined for 20%?), but I suspect that people who say random things to pollsters are inclined toward the more offensive answers, such as “I would be extremely proud to have ‘a reality show star who swears at crowds in public and wears a golden retriever on his head‘ as my president,” than to inoffensive answers.
So I’m a lawyer. I’ve taken the stupid lawyers’ ethics class, I taken the stupid lawyers’ ethics test, and supposedly I’m a lawyer with ethics. There. I said it.
It should be obvious to anyone with a pulse that King & Spalding is a horde of gutless wimps, but I think that should have been obvious to anyone familiar with BigLaw. Of course they would abandon a client if it became politically untenable to them. They’re a large law firm, and their objective is to make money. The lawyers’ ethics class, the lawyers’ ethics test, the lawyers’ ethics – it’s a bunch of claptrap.
Probably for the first time in his life, Eric Holder said something correct. Lawyers are at their best when they stick by their clients no matter what. Atticus Finch, John Adams, etc., etc. And I’ve known quite a few criminal defense lawyers who have zealously defended enormously unpopular clients who committed indescribably horrid crimes. That‘s what you expect a lawyer to do – you paid him, and he sticks by you til the end. And that’s what you’ll get when you hire a criminal defense lawyer.
But a civil suit? The bar leans strongly to the left, and if you want someone to defend your rightwingery in an civil suit, you’re going to have to get either a solo lawyer or a small law firm. Because civil lawyers are never “lawyers at their best.” They’re money-grubbing jerks. Don’t ever kid yourself about that, and don’t let lawyers (like Holder) preen about their dedication to their clients. Lawyers are people, and like all people they are dedicated first and foremost to themselves.
You want a friend? Buy a dog. You want someone to defend your unpopular cause in a civil suit? Buy a lawyer who’s not connected to a large firm. You want a money-grubbing SoS who will defend you until his gay friends start griping? Hire King & Spalding.
I’m probably late to the party, but I feel obliged to pass along this link. It’s a set of color photographs taken in pre-revolution Russia. That is, the Russian Empire. I’m enthralled by color photographs from this time period. The people in them always look very ancient, yet the nature of color photography makes them look modern. It’s a good reminder that it wasn’t that long ago.
This site contains a lot of French color photographs from 1917 and 1918, but the Russian pictures are from a little earlier. And they’re from the Russian Empire. Here’s the Emir of Bukhara, a vassal of the Czar(!). Here’s three generations of Russians in 1910; the grandfather looks very antiquated. Here’s what it would look like if Borat ran a mining company.
Bizarrely, I found this by going to the Wikipedia entry for tea, where they had this extremely high resolution color photograph of Russian peasants harvesting tea. That version’s big enough that you can really zoom in and get a good look at the people. The photograph was taken sometime between 1907 and 1915; it’s worth thinking about what horrors those children would see in their lifetime, and what dreadful conditions the adults had put up with for their whole lives.
Apollo posted this at 6:22 PM CDT on Thursday, April 21st, 2011 as Uncategorized
Of the current GOP bunch, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is the Dukakis of 2012. I say this as someone who is fond of Dukakis and believes he was an excellent governor of Massachusetts. He just wasn’t a great presidential candidate. The strength Pawlenty and Dukakis share is the absence of any glaring shortcomings. Dukakis was the remainder candidate, the guy most likely to be left standing. That looks like Pawlenty’s role this year. But it’s also hard to see Pawlenty escaping Dukakis’s eventual fate in a general election.
This man actually wrote a book, Why Americans Hate Politics, the discussed the Dukakis and Horton fiasco. To recap: Massachusetts had once passed a law that gave weekend furloughs to thugs with life sentences who had no chance of parole; Horton was a convicted murdered who left the state on his furlough, raped and murdered a Maryland woman; after this crime, the Massachusetts legislature repealed the furlough program and Dukakis vetoed the bill. That struck many people, from Al Gore to Lee Atwater, as a glaring shortcoming.
Perhaps opposition researchers should dig into Pawlenty’s past and see if there’s a Horton. E.J. Dionne doesn’t think there is, but he wouldn’t notice: Dionne specializes in his own glaring shortcomings.
One of the practices of President Bush I found most offensive was his use of Signing Statements. Its not that he was the first president to use them, rather it was the way he used them. He routinely used them to “interpret” the laws passed by congress in ways that would let him circumvent the intentions of the law. At the time I found this extremely offensive, and anyone who placed any value in The Constitution should have felt the same. The main argument I used against Conservatives on this issue was: Well would you defend this practice if used by a Democrat?
In a statement issued Friday night, President Obama took issue with some provisions in the budget bill – and in one case simply says he will not abide by it.
Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.
One rider – Section 2262 — de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.
So Bush Republicans: what do you think of Signing Statements now?
It looks like I fell prey to a widely misreported story about a bill in the Texas legislature that would allow an 85 mph speed limit. Yesterday the Statesman‘s steadfast transportation reporter set everyone straight about what the bill actually would do (perhaps coincidentally, I see that Statesman story I linked to in my previous post is now a dead link).
The upshot: Only about 40 miles of one toll road (which is currently under construction and seems to be the most uneeded road construction project I have ever seen) would have an 85 mph limit. And maybe not even there. Sigh.
The new story does post a reminder about another bill I’ve been following that would raise the general statewide limit to 75 and get rid of our stupid 65 mph nighttime limit. Not as good as 85, but it’s movement in the right direction.
That’s like saying you should upgrade to disc brakes on your Model T because drum brakes strike most people as old-fashioned. Parliament could mandate that the Windsors drive flying cars, talk to each other over Star Trek-style communicators, and lead mankind’s fight against our robot overlords, and they’d still be “old-fashioned.” It’s a monarchy.
In case you dropped acid and imagined that our president has any desire to engage in a debate over the future of the country, or even believes that deficit spending is a problem, he seems to be giving a series of speeches now to assure you that that was all just an hallucination.
It’s going to be fear-mongering, name-calling, strawman attacking 24-7 pretty much from hear to next November. Hopefully the Republican primary will drown him out and hide from us, if only for a month or two, the sad fact that our president is a boor. But we should keep in mind that the president’s campaign speeches have already been written and their content will not change one whit regardless of who our nominee is.
I think this anecdote is essential to understanding how bad California has become:
The day’s agenda included a lunch session with Andrew Puzder, CEO of the company that owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains.
Puzder, whose company is based near Santa Barbara, created a stir in California earlier this year when he announced a major expansion in Texas, strongly criticized California’s business climate and suggested that he might move his headquarters to Texas.
Puzder said Thursday that California’s permitting process makes it hard for his company to build new restaurants there and that it is difficult to employ restaurant managers without running afoul of the state’s restrictive labor laws.
When he returned to California from Texas, Puzder said he received a phone call at home from Gov. Jerry Brown, who wanted to talk with him about improving the business climate in the state.
He said representatives of his chain have met with state officials recently and came up with a way to reduce the permitting process from eight months to six.
In Texas, Puzder said, the same process takes six weeks, and there are no arbitrary work rules that affect restaurant managers.
“You can’t build stores in California, you can’t manage them in California, and, even if you can build them, you have to pay a big tax,” he said. “In Texas, you can build them and run them, and you don’t have to pay (income) tax.”
So the best that state officials in California could come up with was reducing the permitting time from 5.7 times as long as it takes in Texas to 4.3 times as long as it takes in Texas? Even their attempts to free up their sclerotic bureaucracy are sclerotic.