From February, 2014

Time to State the Obvious. Again.

Ted Nugent has behaved abominably. He should offer a direct, sincere, and unqualified apology for his loathsome remarks, and he should offer that apology directly to President Obama. Republicans should forcefully and unequivocally condemn Nugent for his remarks, and should refuse to campaign with him. I don’t care how many votes it costs, and I have a very hard time believing that it will cost many. Or, to quote Peter Wehner, “[t]his one isn’t hard.” UPDATE: More on this issue from Timothy Stanley, who rightly says that he is embarrassed by Ted Nugent. Other right-of-center folks should feel the same…

The State of Academia and Academic Publishing

It isn’t good: The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed…

“Hooey,” Eh?

Today’s agitprop piece column by Paul Krugman features the claim that apparently, only “actors” in commercials get notices informing them that their insurance plans have been canceled because of Obamacare (in fact, nearly 93,000 people in Louisiana have lost or are losing their health care plans). It also puts forth the following assertion: . . . the true losers from Obamacare generally aren’t very sympathetic. For the most part, they’re either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist…

Quote of the Day

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images, or fantasies on the subject of transition into work life, graduating from university, looking for and finding a job.” Two years later, they approached the same students and asked about their post-college job experiences. Those who harbored positive fantasies put in fewer job applications, received fewer job offers, and ultimately earned lower salaries. The same was true in other contexts, too.…

Jeffrey Toobin Sinks to Expectations. Again.

No surprise for those of us familiar with his oeuvre. I suppose that the kindest thing that can be said about Toobin’s latest is that he has graduated from sliming the dead to smearing the living; the latter does require more courage, after all. But despite the (exceedingly) modest uptick in bravery, Toobin’s attack on Justice Clarence Thomas still falls short. Damon Root issues a completely justified verdict on Toobin’s hatchet job: . . . I’ve attended a number of oral arguments in the past two years and I’ve routinely seen Thomas leaning forward, watching the lawyers (and his colleagues), and even conferring quite enthusiastically…

Free Newsrooms Should Remain Free

Which is why this is chilling news: The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” But under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission is planning to send government contractors into the nation’s newsrooms to determine whether journalists are producing articles, television reports, Internet content, and commentary that meets the public’s “critical information needs.” Those “needs” will be defined by the administration, and news outlets that do not comply with the government’s standards could face an uncertain future. It’s hard to imagine a project more at odds with the First Amendment. The initiative, known around…

Venezuelans Rise Up

I am sure that apologists for Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro will continue to try to ignore the protests against authoritarianism, political repression, and garden variety tyranny in Venezuela, but everyone else is paying very close attention: Protests against President Nicolás Maduro’s government escalated Thursday, with thousands of demonstrators burning tires and cars and security forces fighting back to gain control of the streets in the capital and in other cities. At least five people, four protesting the government, have died since protests by university students over high crime and a crumbling economy turned violent last week. Dozens of others have been…

To Win Elections, Republicans Have to Get Smarter

Behold: Republicans who run campaigns gripe they lose races because of candidates and ideology. It’s easy to understand why. Nominees who deny they belong to a coven or confuse—in the most offensive way conceivable—the basic biology of sex aren’t ideal nominees. The more electable ones, like Mitt Romney, are forced to adopt such a rigid agenda that they irritate half the electorate before the general election even begins. So victories are hard to come by, just as they would be for a sprinter with two sprained ankles. But those same Republicans who have shepherded countless Senate, House, and presidential candidates…

Here’s a Crazy Thought

If one runs a weblog that is designed to give readers the lay of the land when it comes to the state of American legal education, one has an obligation to report the facts concerning legal education accurately. When one fails at that self-assigned task–either because of one’s incompetence, or because one is dishonest–one should no longer be trusted by those who are truly interested in getting the facts regarding the state of American legal education. In related news, water remains wet.