Miers Not Immune From Congressional Subpoena

July 31, 2008

This should have been pretty basic. Quote from story: ”That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: the asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law,” [Judge] Bates wrote. Yup.

BTW, Judge Bates, who worked for Kenneth Starr on the Clinton investigation, was appointed to the D.C. District Court by the Present Occupant, and has given the administration a couple of wins in the past , sez Wikipedia. So, like, the rule of law over politics and stuff.



July 30, 2008

You have not lived until you have seen Jeff doing Elvis Karioke.

Obama’s law teaching days

July 30, 2008

Interesting article here but what really fascinates (read horrifies) me is that all his exams and sample answers are posted. Can you imagine if the New york Times were running your syllabus in a front page article?!?! SCARY!

Conservative on God, Guns & Gays? You’re Probably Hired!

July 30, 2008

We knew there was hanky panky going on at the Justice Department, & this article in today’s NY Times confirms it.  Here’s an exerpt from the department’s own internal ethics office:

The inspector general’s investigation found that Ms. Goodling and a handful of other senior aides to Mr. Gonzales used in-person interviews and Internet searches to screen out candidates who might be too liberal and identify candidates seen as pro-Republican and supportive of President Bush.

Warning—if possible, after reading this, you might become even more frustrated & incensed than you’ve been in the past 7+ years.

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

July 29, 2008

The most recent ideologically motivated act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

Shocking a Dead Man

July 28, 2008

More news on the Taser front — a police officer in Winnfield, Louisiana will face a grand jury over the death of a man whom he Tasered nine times after he had been handcuffed and was on the ground. According to the coroner, the man was probably dead after the seventh shock.

Here’s my favorite (not in a good way) part of the CNN.com story:

In the year since Winnfield police received Tasers, officers have used them 14 times, according to police records — with 12 of the instances involving black suspects. Ten of the 14 incidents involved Nugent [the officer involved in the death], who had no public disciplinary record.

For perspective, CNN also reports that Winnfield’s population is 15,000, and is about one-half black.

Bargaining for Price

July 25, 2008

When you go to the Whole Foods, do you ask for 10% off on the arugula? Why not? I mean, if they don’t sell it, they’re just going to throw it away. Don’t you think they should make you a deal?

It’s a truism that Americans only bargain for the two biggest ticket items — houses and cars. Different cultures have different rules. I once met a car dealer who had a dealership in a neighborhood with a lot of recent immigrants. We try to sell to them at sticker price, he explained. A lot of them don’t know it’s negotiable. But in their home country, the price of arugula in the market might be.

Another, more recent, truism is that haggling is on the rise in the U.S. I’m sure that this is true for services, but how about consumer goods? I know all about e-bay and Priceline, but can you bring yourself to walk into an appliance store, or a clothing store, or a supermarket, and ask for a discount? What would happen if you asked for 15% off a vente latte at Starbucks? They’re hurting, you know. They could use the business. How about asking for a free extra shot?

Some people like haggling better than others. For my father, who grew up in a country with a haggling culture, it was a sport. He was famous (in my family, at least) for going down to Canal Street in NYC and spending hours seeing just how cheaply he could buy a fake Rolex. Last time I visited my mother, I found a whole drawer full of them in a dresser. They were haggling trophies.

What’s the point of this post? We think of authority as legal. It’s not, except at its most coercive margins. As most of us experience it, it’s cultural and economic.

Here’s a 15 year old NYT article about haggling for art at galleries. The not surprising observation is that more goes on than you think, especially when the economy is wobbly, but that you have to ask. You have to reject the authority of the price tag. At least back in 1993, a 20% discount was a piece of cake. Something to keep in mind when you are buying me a Lia Halloran photo for my birthday.