Another Sunday Open Thread:
What's on your mind? Comment away.
Lead Foot:
Prof. Kerr,

What are your feelings--legal or otherwise--on traffic cameras used as a basis to issue tickets for running red lights or speeding?
2.19.2006 1:48pm
John Armstrong (mail):
Bill Safire's column mentioning the neologism "moonbats" and claiming that he's looking for its origin, when a simple Wikipedia query and email to the purported coiner to verify could have it done. I'm just waiting for him to decry these punk kids and their rock music.

2.19.2006 2:06pm
I'm thinking the Schools of Journalism need to have someone teach basic markmanship and a technical coarse in firearms so our esteemed betters will not look and be so ignorant of something they really like to talk about but know nothing. Then maybe we would hear intellegent journalists that know buck shot from bird shot, shotgun gauge from caliber, assault weapon from assault rifle, semi-automatic from automatic, high power vs medium power, etc. I guess you get my drift. Ignorance is not pretty. And stating I'm a city girl or guy is no excuse or the I don't hunt mantra. I have laughed till I cried and enjoyed every minute of the MSM ignorance.
2.19.2006 2:27pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Did anybody watch This Week's George Stephanopolous's interview with Secretary Michael Chertoff? I found most of the interview boring, since Chertoff was defending himself against the failures of the DHS that were outlined in the two congressional reports released this week, but I did find one thing interesting. When Chertoff was asked what were the reasons that the U.S. approved the sale of several U.S. ports from a British company to a company based in Dubai, he said that he could not answer because it was classified. Furthermore, when asked what were the safeguards made in such a deal, he refused to answer on the grounds that it was classified. I was hoping somebody would be able to tell me if there was any law that specifically classified this decision. Further I was wondering if this is a Bush administration decision or consistent with other administrations' policies. Finally, I was hoping someone might be able to illuminate me on why this information should be classified. So far my search has yielded no results.
2.19.2006 2:27pm
JPF (mail):
Bar exam's on my mind: I take it in PA on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here's hoping.
2.19.2006 3:16pm
I am a second-year law student. Over the past year and a half, my political views have shifted from the left to the right. It is impossible to say how much of this shift was caused by my legal education and how much was caused by other factors, but law school has definitely played a role. I have talked to a few other people who have had the same experience. Is this typical at all, or am I an anomaly?
2.19.2006 3:20pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Fukuyama has a critique of the neocons in today's NYT Magazine. My favorite paragraph:
"The End of History," in other words, presented a kind of Marxist argument for the existence of a long-term process of social evolution, but one that terminates in liberal democracy rather than communism. In the formulation of the scholar Ken Jowitt, the neoconservative position articulated by people like Kristol and Kagan was, by contrast, Leninist; they believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.
Scathing *and* correct. He's quite good on the failure to realize that democracy is part of a process, not something that can be imposed:
The war's supporters seemed to think that democracy was a kind of default condition to which societies reverted once the heavy lifting of coercive regime change occurred, rather than a long-term process of institution-building and reform. While they now assert that they knew all along that the democratic transformation of Iraq would be long and hard, they were clearly taken by surprise. According to George Packer's recent book on Iraq, "The Assassins' Gate," the Pentagon planned a drawdown of American forces to some 25,000 troops by the end of the summer following the invasion.
Read the whole thing.
2.19.2006 3:35pm
Fukuyama ----------saw this guy on C-span. Whew a confused Marxist calling out the boggy men of Stalin in his mind. Do poeple actually take these academic wizards seriously? They are still fighting their old wars.
2.19.2006 3:56pm
papashazz (www):
When Ann Becker from Broadcasting and Cable asked David Gregory what effect the televised press-room confrontations have on public perception of the news, he replied

Sometimes press briefings are confrontational; that's not new. People's level of attention to them may be somewhat new. But there's a built-in tension betwou could imagineeen the White House and the press corps because we're more skeptical about what they're saying. People tend to view what the press does through their ideological prisms and see us as actors with some kind of agenda. Frankly, the White House seeks to stoke that view; you hear that on talk radio, and some people on Fox News have been critical of our questioning and make the argument that we have a point of view, which is really not the case. The White House engages the public directly through us; people have questions, and the public has a right to know certain things. Whether or not people have faith in me—or us, collectively—is something I try to be very sensitive to, but I can't focus on our image all the time.

Gregory grew up in Hollywood and his father is a theater director, so I suppose the difference between reality and drama is lost on him. The Cheney shooting mishap was about as straight forward an incident as one could imagine. Gregory keeps talking about asking "hard questions," but it was a hunting accident for goodness sake. It seems that if there is any dramatization going on, it comes from David Gregory and the rest of the pack.
2.19.2006 4:04pm
dk35 (mail):
After reading Fukuyama yourselves, I would also suggest heading over to see Jack Balkin's comments. Here's a taste:

What struck me though, in reading it, was how many of his claims about what was wrong with the Bush Administration's policies were available in 2001, and, indeed, were stated over and over again by critics of the Administration in the run up to the Iraq war. People in power simply didn't want to listen, or if they did listen, they discounted the advice because they were completely convinced of the correctness and righteousness of their own world view. They ridiculed their critics as naive, cowards, sore losers, weak-willed conciliators, unconcerned with America's national security, and sometimes even as traitors. And much of the country, which likes strong leadership, simply went along, trusting that its leaders had the knowledge, the wisdom, and the expertise to back up their bluster.

Yes, perhaps a left-wing "I-told-you-so," but hey, we've had a rough couple of years.
2.19.2006 4:09pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Do poeple actually take these academic wizards seriously? They are still fighting their old wars.

Perhaps, but some of them are fighting those old wars out in Iraq, which is one reason to click the link and read FF's article.

Or, in 3 words, Ideas Have Consequences.
2.19.2006 4:13pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
Is this blog named after a relative of a certain Volokh mentioned in the Times today?
2.19.2006 5:48pm
Kovarsky (mail):
speaking of "those punk kids," i've always wanted to write in a context where i could refer to elvis presley as "the face that launched a thousand hips."
2.19.2006 5:52pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
And now you have, Kovarsky, and now you have.

(A google of the phrase, btw, turns up one link to its being used about Liz Taylor, and two links to what sounds like a frightening site called "" (blocked by my morality-promoting software): "Great shot! I love full (or nearly so) nude photographs. And this guy has a face that launched a thousand hips!" Brrrr ....)
2.19.2006 6:48pm
Cornellian (mail):
My legal education hasn't had any effect on my political views, though it's given me a sharper eye for seeing through the bogus rationalizations of certain idiotic legal moves, like the Terry Schiavo law.
2.19.2006 9:33pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Could we do away with the snarky, sarcastic 3-line comments? See the newest Dr. Seuss thread for another example...
2.19.2006 10:22pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Prof. Kerr,

The Washington Post has put a new article further flushing out the behind the scenes negotiations that led to the Senate's action last Thursday. It appears that rather than vote against a inquiry (as I thought they did), they voted to adjourn until March 7th. Furthermore, reading article will further demonstrate the desperation that the administration feels in trying to prevent an inquiry into the NSA program.

2.19.2006 10:34pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Another interesting article from the Washington Post. In this article the former general counsel to the Navy, Alberto J. Mora, began a two-year effort to combat the Justice Dept.'s memo on torture and presidential power. Furthermore, Mora states clearly prior to Abu Grahib that the reasoning of the administration will certainly lead to abuse.

2.19.2006 11:06pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
What are your feelings--legal or otherwise--on traffic cameras used as a basis to issue tickets for running red lights or speeding?

Way to beat them: retain an attorney. Let the atty and not you show up for the hearing. Without your face at counsel table, all that remains is a photo of a car (with plates traceable to you, if they bother to run them), driven by an unknown person.
2.19.2006 11:37pm
Noah Klein (mail):

Wouldn't that cost more than the ticket?

2.19.2006 11:46pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Why exactly again am I supposed to be uber-impressed by Barack Obama?
2.20.2006 1:11am
Cause he has an exotic sounding name? Because he hides his lefty tendancies with good words that mean to calm those not as aware of his politics. He is the acclaimed rising star of the Democratic Party. He went to Africia to see his father. He feels your pain. He does not speak in rhyme. He is a little smoother around the edges. He is politically savvy. He sure showed that mean ole John McCain dude who was boss. The MSM love him also so they laughted at the letters between him and McCain. Now had it been Delay and Kennedy it really would have been another really BIG, BIG story that Maureen Dowed could have had a little ditty article about.
2.20.2006 2:06am
JosephSlater (mail):
Daniel Chapman:

Sadly, apparently not.


Good luck on the bar exam!
2.20.2006 10:59am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Let the atty and not you show up for the hearing.

If the summons says "Anderson shall appear," I don't think Anderson can send his counsel *instead*. I would really recommend against trying that one out, lest you discover more about your state's "contempt of court" procedures than you ever wanted to know.
2.20.2006 11:26am
Lysistrata (mail) (www):
Now had it been Delay and Kennedy it really would have been another really BIG, BIG story that Maureen Dowed could have had a little ditty article about.

She's too busy looking for a filthy-rich, fifty-something, well-travelled, perfect-in-every-way JFK Jr. clone, who's also madly attracted to her, and then complaining because for some reason, she can't find him. Imagine.
2.20.2006 11:54am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Anyone think William Haynes should be confirmed by the Senate to sit on the Fourth Circuit?

Read Jane Mayer's latest &then explain it to me. (Start midway down, with Mora's first interview with Haynes, if you're time-pressed.) Revolting.

Oh, wait, I can already hear it: "as an Administration officer, he had to tell his bosses whatever they wanted to hear. He'll be completely different as a judge."

In a decent country, Haynes would be in jail right now, awaiting trial.
2.20.2006 12:04pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"What are your feelings--legal or otherwise--on traffic cameras used as a basis to issue tickets for running red lights or speeding?"

I would be in favor. If this were in place, US Sup. Dockets No. 05-7287 &05-7771 would never have occurred, as there would have been a record of the truth.
2.20.2006 4:41pm
Lead Foot:

Your situation raises many different issues those that my original query intended to reach.

I was referring to tickets issued in which all the proof that is given is a still photograph of a license plate and a statement of the alleged misconduct.
2.20.2006 7:22pm
Cornellian (mail):
Did anyone here see the movie "Capote?" What with so many people around here being in the business (or partly in the business) of writing for a living, I've been wondering what you thought of the "writer gets too close to his subject matter" theme of the movie.
2.20.2006 10:05pm