June 2008 Archives

This is trippy

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Chronotopic Anamorphosis from Marginalia Project on Vimeo. Click to make it bigger.

links for 2008-06-27

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On Gun Control

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So the Supreme Court finally weighed in on what the second amendment actually means. So what does the decision mean for the rest of us?

The decision in Heller doesn't really change a whole lot from a practical point of view. It basically endorses the status quo: that the government has the right to reasonably regulate ownership, possession, and use of firearms. This has been pretty much the standard interpretation of the second amendment among the lower courts, absent further guidance from the Supremes. Heller draws some lines around what constitutes "reasonable regulation", but for the most part, not all that much has changed.

From a rights-based standpoint, it's a very curious decision, because Justice Scalia has basically invented a new constitutional right out of whole cloth--the constitutional right to self-defense with a firearm (there has always been a common-law right of self-defense, the exact parameters of which vary by jurisdiction). It is, to my mind, much more of a stretch to find a constitutional right to self-defense with a firearm in the depths of the second amendment than it is to find a right to privacy in the fourth amendment. As others have noted, this is pure judicial activism, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I personally think that the opinion got it badly wrong and bends himself into pretzel knots trying to explain away the militia preamble.

There's also the question of whether or not the second amendment applies to the states by operation of the fourteenth amendment. I would think that it does, though I'm not one of the nine people who are qualified to make a definitive statement on that subject.

There will be, of course, considerable litigation about where exactly do the lines of 'reasonable regulation' fall.

links for 2008-06-26

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links for 2008-06-24

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The Times is reporting that George Carlin has passed away.

He was one of the very few people who actually changed the world, a bit of an unusual circumstance for a comedian…


Democrats cave on telecom immunity.

This is pathetic and it’s un-American.

UPDATE: You can find out your congressperson’s phone number at http://www.house.gov; here’s the contact information for all 100 senators.

You can also call the Speaker of the House at (202) 225-0100 and ask her to pull the bill from the floor because of the telco immunity provision.

links for 2008-06-19

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You've been pronouncing "Beijing" wrong

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Brought to you by “Two Chinese Characters”.

So I’ve been working out of the New Haven office for the past few weeks, as they’re doing asbestos abatement in the Bridgeport courthouse.

They haven’t actually closed the courthouse—they’re being very careful with the asbestos abatement, since if they aren’t, they’re gonna get sued when someone comes down with mesothelioma—but they have shut down parts of the HVAC system, which makes our office unbearably hot in the afternoons. So most of the Bridgeport office has been temporarily transferred to New Haven.

So, last night, 3/5 of the Bridgeport bar met up in a local New Haven bar after work. There we met up with a former law clerk who, as it turns out, works in an asbestos defense firm. Small world, eh?

So we’re sitting there, talking about law and the fact that asbestos cases pretty much always settle (I don’t think that I’m giving any trade secrets away here) when it turns out that another part at the same bar has a pair of behind-home-plate tickets to last nights’ Mets’ game. At this point, it was 6:30.

To make a very long story shorter, I ended up buying the tickets for $20, driving to Shea (72 miles, according to Google maps), getting stuck in traffic, but arriving just in time to watch the Metropolitans score 4 runs and put the game away. Not bad, eh?

And then after the game Ken Goldstein and I got lost in Queens looking for Jackson Heights, but that’s another story for another time….

links for 2008-06-13

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links for 2008-06-12

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links for 2008-06-11

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links for 2008-06-10

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links for 2008-06-09

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links for 2008-06-06

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The Big Picture

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So, the geniuses over at boston.com realized that little itty bitty newsphotos sucked.

So they said, ‘hey, why don’t we curate some of the best news photography out there and post ‘em real big-like in essay-type format?’

So they did, and they saw it, and they saw that it was good.

Sunset over Mars



Click to see it really large.

Image from JPL/NASA, of course.

Dawn over Manhattan

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Another blast from the past.

Yves of Destruction

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YSL.jpgFascinating, if a bit long, profile/hagiography of the recently late Yves St. Laurent from the Times in 2000. The argument is that YSL made wearing pants for women acceptable, among other things; it’s an argument that perhaps I lack the necessary background to discuss intelligently.

Anyway, here’s the official obit (which seems to cover many of the same points); and Suzy Menkes interviewed about YSL. The Times also has a slideshow and an annotated selection of YouTube clips.

To the right, YSL’s smoking jacket as shot by Helmut Newton.