Friday, June 29, 2007

Feedback Form Link Spam


This was a "cut and paste" job, into the customer inquiry form for my website. What a lovely inquiry, right down to the formatting problems....
Searching the internet for sites about birth injuries, I came across your resource. Your site is impressive and I write to suggest a site to add to your resources. That site is â Birth Injury,â and its URL is http://www.consumerjusticegroup.com/birthinjury/index.html.

As you probably well know, one of the best ways of raising Google ratings and being found by search engines is to share links with sites that have similar interests and concerns. Please consider adding our link to your page in a resource section, which would be beneficial to your readers. This would help your readers to learn more about the causes of birth injuries and what they can do to prevent it from happening or seek compensation when it has.

We at the Consumer Justice Group (www.consumerjusticegroup.com) are dedicated to raising public awareness about birth injuries nation-wide. CJG offers an abundance of information for consumers on matters from birth injuries to stock fraud.

For your convenience, I have formatted the link so you may copy and paste it onto your page:
< a href=â http://www.consumerjusticegroup.com/birthinjury/index.htmlâ >Birth Injury< /a > Newsletter< br>
Read the articles in our Birth Injury Newsletter to find out more about fighting and preventing birth injuries.

If you would like us to add a link to your website in return, we would be happy to do so.

Sincerely,

Cassie R------
Community Builder
cassie@consumerjusticegroup.com
I love the personalization - "your resource", "your site". The rough translation of this message is, "You have a good site. If you link to us it will help us rank better in Google. If you ask, we'll consider linking to you." They don't overtly state, "We'll only link to you if you have already linked to us," but what are the odds of anything else? (Am I too cynical in my old age?)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Link To Me" Spam


If you run a website with any appreciable amount of traffic, or perhaps even if you own a parked domain, you will get spam from sites which want you to link to them. Often these emails are obviously machine-generated - because nothing could warm me to the idea of linking to a site than receiving impersonal, form email SPAM.
On 6/26/07 1:25 PM, "Anne Moore" wrote:

Hi Aaron Larson,

This is the owner from http://www.stsosha.com

Today I visited http://www.workerscompensationinsurance.com/ and i really like it. I am interested in your site because it is relevant and would make a good complement to my existing content.

I have already added your web site link to this page on my site: http://www.stsosha.com/resources/human-resources/

We would greatly appreciate a reciprocal link. Aaron Larson, if we do not hear from you it will be assumed you do not wish to exchange links and your link will be removed.

You can edit your link here: http://www.stsosha.com/resources/human-resources/***.html

How Your Site Appears:
Title: Workers Compensation Resources
URL: http://www.workerscompensationinsurance.com/
Description: United States national resource for workers, providing legal information, forums, and links to state and federal resources.

If you would like your link to remain active, please add us to your site. Here are the suggested details:

Title: OSHA Training Los Angeles
URL: http://www.stsosha.com
Description: Osha compliance training organization helps industries maintain compliance with federal labor laws. Sells safety training videos and planning manuals.

We hope to continue a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. Feel free to drop me an email or call if you'd like to talk more about this.

If you wish to decline, simply do nothing, or respond to this email with the words 'unsubscribe' in the subject line to stop receiving further requests.

Sincerely, http://www.stsosha.com
What does this campaign obviously do wrong?
  • Form email with awkward personalization ("Dear Aaron Larson")
  • Obnoxious demands - I like your site enough to link to it, but if you don't link back the same link-building script which spawned this spam email will delete the link.
  • Carelesness. The person who programmed their link building script forgot to capitalize "OSHA" in the preferred description for their site.
But really, it's worse than that. After looking at the page on which the described link appears, I decided to take them up on their invitation that I drop an email:
The benefit to me of having a "rel=nofollow" link on a pagerank zero page on your site would be, exactly, what?
In a perfect world people would link to sites or good content that they like, because they like it. The exchanging of links has, for some years, been used to build the profiles of pages. Pages with more links have historically been treated by search engines as more deserving of high rankings. While the exchange of relevant, quality links may still help the sites at both ends of an exchange, search engine algorithms now try to discount or eliminate any weight given to link exchange schemes meant only to build an illusion of popularity.

This scheme appears to try to compensate for the probability that a search engine will quickly spot it as a link exchange, and algorithmically discount the links, by tagging the links "nofollow" - meaning that spiders will see but not follow the links. Also, their script-generated pages have been assigned no value (PageRank: 0) by Google. Although the public PageRank tool only estimates that value, with Google keeping the current details to itself, it is safe to assume that this set of pages will never have appreciable PageRank, and will likely remain at "0" as long as it remains online.

My interpretation: In exchange for your link to their site, they hope for "a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship" in which they provide nothing of value and reap significant benefit.

(I'm still waiting for a reply to my email.)

Somebody Will Probably Fall For This, But....


I just received by email a fake invoice claiming that I owe thousands of dollars for some nebulously itemized business services. The bill was carefully personalized - or maybe not. "Dear mister Green/Grin," I think It was meant for this guy.

The bill is from:
XYZ Consulting Corporation
12345 This Street
Anytown, CA 00000
Tel: (310) 555-1213 Fax: (310) 555-2121
admin@xyzconsulting.com
www.xyz.com
You would think they would at least update the template they use to create the fake bills....

As apparently they see no profit in having you dial a fake "555" number from their supposed corporate headquarters, I was instructed,
Please feel free to contact our Customer Support representatives in case of any problems via the phone number 8 - 800 195 200 100
I believe that would connect me to a company in Russia.

Friday, June 22, 2007

MySpace Sex Offender Lists - Avoiding Confusion


I received a call from somebody who shares a name with a sex offender listed by the Michigan Attorney General's office as having a MySpace account. He told me that he had called the AG's office and asked that they include information, such as age, location of residence, or a link to the offender's listing in the sex offender registry, which would reduce or eliminate any possible confusion. He was rebuffed.

Personally, I believe that at a minimum the AG's office should incorporate a disclaimer reminding people that listed names may not be unique, and that they should check the registry to identify the specific individual named. I think it is quite reasonable that they add additional identifying information, and links to the sex offender registry.

Language In Court


A recent post at Lawyers, Guns & Money reminded me of a transcript I recently read, in which a plaintiff's lawyer was insisting upon calling the defense's medical examination of the plaintiff a "defense medical examination". This type of evaluation is authorized by MCR 2.311,
When the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party, or of a person in the custody or under the legal control of a party, is in controversy, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical or mental or blood examination by a physician (or other appropriate professional) or to produce for examination the person in the party's custody or legal control.
The defense attorney objected to the phrase, and repeatedly argued that it was properly called an "independent medical examination" because "That's what they call it in the court rules."

The defense attorney was wrong. The closest the court rules come to describing something as an "independent medical examination" is in the mental health rules, where an indigent person who is the subject of mental health proceedings can request that the court order an "independent clinical evaluation". MCR 5.733. The term "independent medical examination" or "IME" is frequently used to describe a medical examination paid for by the defense, and conducted by the defense's medical expert, but that phrase receives no special sanction in either the Michigan Court Rules or Michigan Rules of Evidence.

A plaintiff's lawyer who thinks about the issue would find the phrase objectionable, as the word "independent" suggests that the evaluation is somehow neutral. In fact, these examinations are often performed by doctors who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year performing these evaluations for defense insurance companies merely one or two days per week. There have been scandalous examples of "IME mills" which are set up to produce medical evaluations coming to whatever conclusion their insurance company clients demand. In practice, as you would expect, there is a spectrum of competence and honesty in the conduct of these medical examinations. Yet even if the examination is performed by a competent, honest and ethical defense expert, it is independent only in the sense that it is performed for reasons other than treatment by somebody who has no doctor-patient relationship with the plaintiff. It is more accurate to describe this type of examination as a "defense medical examination" than as "independent".

There are studies demonstrating that words do have an impact on perception. Describing how two cars "crashed" or "smashed" into each other gives a different impression of what occurred than stating that they "collided", and a first impression created by such language can affect a jury's perception of the accident and of the vehicles' speed at the time of collision. "The driver proceeded into the intersection in disregard of the traffic signal and came into contact with another vehicle" versus "The driver sped through a red light and crashed into another car." In a discussion of these issues, a defense lawyer dryly quipped that Michigan's standard police form for car accidents - the UD-10 "Traffic Crash Report" - must have been named by a plaintiff's lawyer. You can do what you want to refer to automobile collisions and contact between vehicles, but then the officer gets on the stand and suddenly it's a "traffic crash".

The LGM post described a judge's decision in Georgia, which at least in theory attempted to remove some of these semantic issues from a sexual assault trial.
Lithwick reports on a Nebraska state judge who is presiding over a rape trial and who granted a defense motion to bar the attorneys from saying the words "rape," "rape kit," "victim," "sexual assault," or "sexual assault kit." The prosecution responded by seeking to have the words "sex" and "intercourse" banned, as those words seem to suggest consent in the same way as the use of the word "victim" connotes lack of consent.
I can understand why a judge would be sympathetic to a defense motion that the terms "rape kit" or "sexual assault kit" not be used to describe the collection of evidence for a sexual assault case, as the language suggests that a rape or sexual assault occurred. I'm not stating that "juries aren't smart enough to figure out what it means", but it is possible to convey the same meaning without using loaded language. I can also understand why a court would be sympathetic to a defense motion that the complaining witness not be deemed a "victim" in advance of the jury's determination that a crime occurred. But the ban of the words "rape" and, particularly, "sexual assault" seem to me to be excessive at a trial where the defendant is in fact charged with those offenses.

The judge determined that it was okay to say that there was sex involved in the alleged crime. Is it permitted to separately say that there was an alleged assault? That would, of course, mean that the jury could hear separate descriptions of the same act, once as "sex" and once as an "assault". Somehow I suspect that a jury would be able to figure out that the complaining witness was complaining of a "rape" or "sexual assault" despite the judge's prohibition of those terms. Within this context, beyond making it more difficult to describe the two competing versions of what allegedly happened, can it truly be said that the ban changes anything?

David Brooks On Sex Education


(Yeah, I had that thought as well.)

In When Preaching Flops, a rambling editorial which suggests that Brooks recently read an essay on object relations theory, Brooks sneers,
A little while ago, a national study authorized by Congress found that abstinence education programs don’t work. That gave liberals a chance to feel superior because it turns out that preaching traditional morality to students doesn’t change behavior.
I'm not sure who supposedly felt superior, but it wasn't exactly a surprise that "abstinence only" education failed. To the extent that "preaching traditional morality" translates into "Do as I say, not as I did or do," or, "Virginity is really important... for the girl you marry," who could be surprised by that?
Deciding is conscious and individual, but perceiving is subconscious and communal. The teen sex programs that actually work don’t focus on the sex. They focus on the environment teens live in. They work on the substratum of perceptions students use to orient themselves in the world. They don’t try to lay down universal rules, but apply the particular codes that have power in distinct communities. They understand that changing behavior changes attitudes, not the other way around.
And let me guess... they were created by people Brooks would describe as liberals. As Brooks seems to agree with them, though, perhaps they're Hamiltonian liberals.

Article II Humor


Oren Kerr makes a funny.

If Dick Cheney's office truly isn't an executive office, why did the courts give so much credence to his claims of separation of powers?
Cheney argues that the executive branch needs to defends its right to confidentiality against "continual encroachment by Congress."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Everybody Thinks They're Sitting On A Goldmine


In my opinion there are five primary elements which go into the value of a domain name:
  1. Brandability - Can the URL be turned into a brand?
  2. Type-In Trafic - How much traffic will come to the domain simply by virtue of the keyword(s) in the URL?
  3. Existing Traffic - How much traffic does the site generate, from what sources, and how stable are those sources?
  4. Monetization - What is the value (or probable value) of existing traffic?
  5. Age - When was the URL first registered? (Any expiration of the registration resets the clock.) How long has the website had content, indexed by the major search engines, in the desired subject area?

Not all factors are equally relevant, as is obvious from some huge money domain buys. SEO.com just sold for five million dollars, and porn.com reportedly fetched $9.5 million. They're simultaneously generic yet memorable, and are thus likely to generate both type-in traffic (people who type in "[keyword].com" into the browser's address bar), as well as return traffic by people who are pleased with the content due to the easily remembered domain name.

A brand need not have any automatic association with an industry to become extremely powerful. "Yahoo", "Google" and "Amazon" are powerful Internet brands, but the domain alone would tell you nothing about what you would find on their associated websites. If you can create your own brand and make it synonymous with your industry (or a significant subset of your industry) your brand should be extremely powerful and valuable. But most Internet ventures will not be blessed with that type of alignment of the stars. For "the rest of us", it is good to have a domain name that reflects the target industry and which is also brandable.

There are fewer domain names in this class than many people realize. Law.com is a great domain name, but I doubt that many people say to themselves, "I'm looking for a law, so I'll type in 'law.com' and see what I find." While a URL like "porn" says it all, there's no similar cohesion to the legal world - law.com, laws.com, lawyers.com, legal.com, attorney.com... there's no word which defines the industry. When you start using multi-word URL's you render the URL more and more generic with each added keyword. As a URL, Lawyers.com is worth vastly more than TrialLawyers.com, and Law.com is worth vastly more than my site, ExpertLaw. Both USLaw.com and USALaw.com seem like good URL's, but they are easily confused with each other. The former was a significant, venture capital-backed site which is now a pale shadow of its former self, the latter was a law firm sponsored site which now redirects to the law firm's webpage. In a testament to my larger point, USLaw.com incurred significant debt acquiring "LegalLink.com, a consumer site, AttorneyReferral.net and LegalPad.com" - does anybody remember any of those sites?

If you think you're sitting on a $million dollar domain name, be prepared to prove it. Buying a domain isn't much different in some senses from buying real estate. If you have a tumbledown shack of a website sitting on an established, brandable domain (an acre lot) on a valuable subject (one which can be monetized by the buyer) with a ton of natural traffic (hundreds of thousands to millions of unique visitors each month) from a variety of sources (a waterfront or oceanfront acre sized lot, a buyer will see a lot of value in the potential. If you have a domain name you think is great, but which has never been associated with a website, it's not so great. Find a way to at least get a tumbledown shack in place, or better yet a site with some real content and value. The best way to sell a website or URL is to be able to point to an actual earnings history. We all know what it means when we read about a property's potential in a real estate ad.

Monday, June 18, 2007

See It All In Person


In my prior comment about Vince McMahon's lame publicity stunt, I was scolded in a semi-literate manner,
Aaron you should be ashamed of yourself for talking like that, wether or not it is a stunt is not the issue, what is, is the way that you clearly come out and dissrespect him.
Well, it was actually an opportunity to make a couple of dubious puns, and there's no shame in that... is there? But you're quite correct that I have no respect for Vince McMahon. So sorry.

I am also provided with some context:
I'm also guessing that he didn't know that past "angles" have involved Satanism, necrophilia, rape, and kidnapping . . . so this is actually pretty tame stuff . . .
So... we can expect to learn that after being killed in a car explosion, McMahon was kidnapped by devil-worshippers for the type of satanic activity best confined to South Park movies? Fascinating.

Prove your fandom - pay $10,000 or more to win the opportunity to fly on the WWE jet, attend WrestleMania 24, and perhaps see a bunch of drug-crazed satanists "body-slam" Vince McMahon's kidnapped corpse, while supporting a charitable cause. If you think this costs too much, you're obviously not really a fan. (Act soon - the auction closes at 6:00 PM EST.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Indignation Over Paris Hilton


Some legal commentators, including Mike at Crime and Federalism and Jeralyn at TalkLeft, argue that Paris was sentenced more harshly than other non-celebrity defendants, including the spouse of the City Attorney who argued that Paris should serve jail time. I don't agree, and am more sympathetic to the views of Mike's co-blogger, Norm Pattis, who argues, Send Paris Back To Jail. If you were to look at the full facts of Paris Hilton's situation, I doubt that you will find a comparable defendant who did not serve jail time for similar violations. (Two alcohol-related driving offenses within six months, repeatedly driving on a suspended license, failing to enroll in court-ordered alcohol-education classes, getting stopped by the police driving in the dark, with her headlights off, at 70MPH in a 35 MPH zone, etc.) I can't bring myself to share the indignation.

But what I would like to know is, how often has the Sheriff extended himself in a similar fashion to keep other inmates from having to serve their jail time? While I recognize that we're not talking about the D.C. jail here, I would venture that the number of inmates the Sheriff has released to house arrest over claims of claustrophobia and ADHD, the rumored mental illnesses claimed by Paris Hilton, number approximately... one.

I once represented a young man, picked up on a probation violation, who was held in a jail observation cell pending the resolution of his charge. Everybody knew what the resolution was going to be - he had failed to appear in court several years before due to his being incarcerated on another charge and, after maxing out a five-year prison term, he was going to be released with credit for time served. He was profoundly mentally ill, and he was a cutter - not the type who inflicts superficial wounds, but the type who can potentially kill himself with a staple inadvertently left in a document he is allowed to handle,[1] with an ugly web of scars on his arms as a testament to his past self-injury. Not once did I hear somebody say, "He's already done his time, we know he'll be sentenced to time served, and most defendants who have no chance of jail time aren't detained, so why are we treating him so harshly?" I would venture that the L.A. County Jail has accommodated countless similar individuals without flouting a court's sentence so that the defendant can serve out his or her time on house arrest.

------

[1] This is not hyperbole.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The "Murder" of Vince McMahon


I'm coming late to this story, because I really don't care about WWE and "professional wrestling", but... were his ratings really so bad that he thought this was a good idea?
A limousine burst into flames outside the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township late Monday, presumably killing long-time World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon.

Or so WWE would like its fans to believe.

WWE fans around the country were treated to an explosive ending to a sold-out Monday Night Raw, live at the Northeastern Pennsylvania arena for a special three-hour broadcast. McMahon’s apparent demise, however, was just another twist in the male soap opera’s story line.
One can only hope that part of this comes true... such as McMahon going down in flames, or being, well, fired.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thinking Like A Lawyer, Take 568


Ann Althouse demonstrates how to deal with adverse arguments:
What a jerk you are insulting me when you're entirely missing my sarcasm! I'm characterizing the idiocy of the plaintiffs' lawyer. Get a clue.

* * *

You are an idiot too. Did I say Katie Couric should sue Dan Rather? Did I say that what the AutoAdmit kids wrote about the plaintiffs was just swell? Learn to read, loser.
I can't wait to incorporate these sophisticated rhetorical techniques into my next legal brief or oral argument. Application of the "learn to read, loser" technique should make my motions for reconsideration considerably shorter.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I used to use some techniques not far removed from Prof. Althouse's when playing in online forums. But I moved away from that approach during law school. I guess I'll never learn.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How... Undemocratic


Not to say that the article doesn't make a lot of valid points, but this Washington Post editorial on Thailand's post-military political situation makes an interesting statement about democracy:
Others may vent their disapproval of the military by voting against the constitution, which is being written by yet another unelected body. There may be good reason to do so: The draft charter includes a number of undemocratic provisions, including one that mandates a Senate not chosen by popular election.
Is it that hard to come up with a democracy which has drafted a Constitution based upon the work of an unelected body, and did not provide for popular election of senators? Or a democracy that currently has an unelected senate?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Better To Keep Your Mouth Shut And....


David Bernstein blesses us with words of wisdom on affirmative action and India's caste system. Referencing a news story in which the Gujjars (a farming caste) protested that they should receive the same type of set-asides and proferences as the dalits (a/k/a the "untouchables"), Bernstein comments,
Affirmative action has its good points and bad points, but I think it's undeniable that when government distributes benefits based on particular characteristics, lots of people will want to be identified as having those characteristics, there will be lobbying to ensure that the relevant characteristics become legally immutable at a minimum ,or broadened, and people will organize and lobby around their common claim to the relevant characteristic. This all makes it a lot less likely that the relevant societal distinctions that led to the need for the affirmative action policies to begin with will wither away.
It is difficult to imagine a more obtuse statement about India's caste system. If "doing nothing" were going to to a whit of good for the lower castes, you would think that after this many centuries we wouldn't still be reading this:
Human rights abuses against these people, known as Dalits, are legion. A random sampling of headlines in mainstream Indian newspapers tells their story: "Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers"; "Dalit tortured by cops for three days"; "Dalit 'witch' paraded naked in Bihar"; "Dalit killed in lock-up at Kurnool"; "7 Dalits burnt alive in caste clash"; "5 Dalits lynched in Haryana"; "Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked"; "Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits"....

India's Untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.

Nearly 90 percent of all the poor Indians and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits, according to figures presented at the International Dalit Conference that took place May 16 to 18 in Vancouver, Canada.
And so it goes. Bernstein's answer to this is to do nothing, because the caste system will magically vanish on its own if nothing is done for a few more... centuries?

Really, though, we shouldn't expect that his argument would be sensible within its contrived context. Bernstein's not writing about India. He's writing about the United States. He elaborates,
Query: If the Irish, Scandinavians, and Italians in the United States--all groups that were once suffered a great deal of discrimination and were relatively disadvantaged compared to the Anglo-Saxon/German majority (plurality?)--had been offered government benefits based on their ancestry one hundred years ago, would these groups be as integrated into American life as they are today? If not, then this is a cost to such policies that must be weighed against the benefits.
The obvious inference is that we are to compare the experience of Irish, Scandinavians and Italians over the past century to other groups of Americans who have been beneficiaries of affirmative action.

Now, Bernstein did not have to say "Anglo-Saxon/German majority" - he could have said "white" or "European". That would diminish his argument, as once various "disadvantaged" European groups shed their ethnic garb, learn the language and lose their accents, they blend in pretty well with other Americans of European extraction. But note that the most obvious implicit "other" group - beneficiaries of affirmative action whose name Bernstein apparently dares not speak - are "African Americans". If we're going to speak of Africa as a unit, it seems reasonable to speak of Europe as a unit. This would change the argument to, "Europeans assimilate with other Europeans without affirmative action, so what's different about Africans?" I'll assume at this juncture that Professor Bernstein is a proponent of the "color-blind Constitution".

David Brooks - a Hamiltonian Liberal?


While lauding himself as a "Hamiltonian conservative", David Brooks today finally admits the only thing separating himself from "big government liberals" is... methodology.
We Hamiltonians disagree with the third group, the mainstream liberals, because their programs haven’t worked out. Retraining programs for displaced workers have flopped. Tax code changes to reduce outsourcing are symbolic. Federal jobs programs aren’t effective. Moreover, the high taxes you need to pay for these programs sap the economy. There’s now a pile of evidence showing that higher taxes mean reduced working hours. In the face of Chinese and Indian competition, we don’t need Americans working less.
Which is presumably why he endorses programs like... expanded funding of education, and free, quality daycare for single parent homes - today adding free nurse practitioner visits to somehow help "stabilize" those families? And talks about how much better off we would all be if only parents loved their children more?

Today, in addition to adding reforms often requested by the political left, such as increased portability of health care and retirement benefits, Mr. Brooks adds this populist element to his "big government" agenda:
National service should be a rite of passage, forcing city kids to work with rural kids, and vice versa.
This would be what? The billionth call for mandatory national service by somebody who has never participated in any form of national service, and wouldn't have to participate in the program he espouses?

Ah, but liberals are often accused of hypocrisy by the likes of Brooks, and as we just established....

Better Work At 0.1% Of The Price?


If you're following the Olympics logo controversy (e.g., , SitePoint is hosting a contest with an $800 prize for the best alternative Olympics logo.

$800,000.00 for an olympics logo? Whatever the buzz it creates, I think Seth Godin gets it right:
The art of picking a logo, even one for the Olympics, has almost nothing to do with taste or back story. A great logo doesn't mean anything until the brand makes it worth something.

That's why spending $800,000 for a logo is ridiculous. And it's why you can't (I don't think I'm going out on a limb here) draw the logo of any Olympic games since 1898. The Olympics have trouble creating new logos of value because each Olympics already has an image that sticks with people... and that's the image of the city where the games take place. Putting an abstract picture on top of something that already has a picture doesn't work.

Does This Mean Ted Stevens Was Right?


Take a look at the first illustration in this description of Google Gears:
These are the gears that power the tubes!
Does this vindicate Ted Stevens? (Is it a little joke at his expense? A coincidence based on computer terminology?)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Quiet Riot?


The Associated Press declares, "Obama Warns of 'Quiet Riot' Among Blacks" Does this mean we can expect a change of anthem... "We Shall Overcome" becomes this?

Seriously, though, when did the world become so literal?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Thinking Like A Lawyer?


Law professors sometimes contend that they teach their students to "think like lawyers". If this guy is an example of what law professors mean by "thinking like a lawyer", let's hope that they fail in their mission. His argument, on analogies between South Africa and the situation in the occupied territories commences,
For reasons that should be obvious to any objective observer, I find the South Africa analogy to be both absurd and obscene. However, let's assume for the sake of argument that Israel's occupation of the lands it captured in 1967 is indeed morally analogous to South African apartheid.
Okay, so far so good. It's not at all unreasonable to point to the many differences between the two situations. Lawyers frequently advance positions they don't accept "for the sake of argument". So let's see where he runs with this. What happened after Apartheid ended?
Instead, the black population of South Africa voted in a new government composed of black supremacists, who expressed openly and vigorously their hatred and contempt of white people, and swore that they would never negotiate any accommodation with the South African government, short of turning all of South Africa into a black supremacist state, with whites being forced to return to their "homelands". The new black government used its new territorial sovereignty to establish terrorist bases, smuggle weapons, and establish new military and political ties to other organizations that had genocidal views toward South African whites. White South African towns faced a constant missile barrage from this territory.

Even knowing the hatred leveled at South Africa during apartheid years, I find it hard to believe that under these circumstances anyone with a modicum of respectability would have been calling for boycotts of the South African government.
So the analogy he would have us accept between South Africa and Israel's occupation of the West Bank is that the subjects of Apartheid and the occupation are similarly nasty, awful people, undeserving of freedom and self-determination. Nobody with a "modicum of respectability" would disagree, once they accept that "fact". If you support a boycott in favor of the freedom of these awful, nasty, undeserving people, you are "morally bankrupt" and support terrorism.

Nice.

You don't have to agree with a boycott to grasp the depravity of that position.