A walk in the mountains

Just hikin' around in the Caucasus.

Jindal Saves His Hide?

A veto for the veep?

Roberts Quotes - nay, misquotes - Bob Dylan

The NYT's Adam Liptak partially redeems himself with this strange but lovable piece on judicial citations of popular musicians' lyrics.

While Rehnquist's citations of Gilbert and Sullivan operas are far less hip than the current Chief Justice's efforts, they were seemingly more on point.

I'm still holding out, though, for Justice Thomas to cite Lil Wayne.

Confronting Childhood Toys as an Adult

I played with an aircraft carrier as a child, I realized.

This weekend, my siblings and I sifted through some of our old childhood toys as my mom brought containers and boxes out of our storage shed in the backyard. GI-Joes, Star Wars figurines, plastic dinosaur bones, a model B-17 bomber, puzzles, cowboy six-shooters, blocks, an ancient Cookie Monster puzzle, and even a Cabbage Patch doll. It was strange to see everything paraded before us. Memories welled up.

I got a rag and washed the dust off the plastic flight deck of the Gulf War vintage U.S.S. Enterprise. It was sitting on a box of toy airplanes, replicas of military jets common in 1991. A-10 warthogs, F-14 tomcats, and the like. How long ago it seemed. How simple, how uncomplicated a time it was. Wolf Blitzer and Bernard Shaw ducking in a Baghdad gazebo, green tracer rounds flying in the background, as we watched from the couch.

I couldn't help but think how much childhood has changed and how much it will change as we accelerate forward. My childhood toys incorporated pretty simple technology - an electronic spelling game, stiff-walking dinosaurs, simple Capsela electric motors, and Nintendo games like Duck Hunter and Mario 1 at grandma's house.

I lived a pre-internet childhood. With a vacant lot on either side of the house and a field with corn or alfalfa stretching off to a treeline in the back. And, while the naysayers are never quite accurate in their doom about change, I'm very glad I did.

It was fort building with hand tools and sand box toys. It was a little wooden barn and a swingset. It was basic Nerf guns and marbles in the dust.

As we placed the boxes back in the shed, I gripped the unbent brim of a blue mesh trucker's hat. I had acquired it as a five year-old at the Mammoth Dig Site in Yellowstone National Park. With its cheap, half-faded mammoth majestic in blue against the white horizon, it looked like something one might wear out to a hipsterish joint these days, Pabst in hand.

And I realized I must be getting old, fashions and wars having come and gone and returned, cycles repeating before my eyes.


2nd and 9th

A note in the recent Heller 2nd Amendment decision has observers chatting about the 9th Amendment.

Does the ruling clarify or obscure the nature of the 9th? Does it reserve collective or individual rights? A teaspoon of chum is tossed in the water, and the 9th Amendment sharks whip up a frenzy. And I can't say I blame them.

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, an interesting interchange is playing out between Randy Barnett and Kurt Lash over the implications of Justice Scalia's majority opinion on 9th Amendment jurisprudence going forward.

Here's Barnett's reading.

And Lash's reply.

The site also has a series of excellent posts fleshing out the implications of Heller generally vis a vis the 2nd Amendment itself.

'The Roscoe Filburn Society'


In Kurdemir.


"He's doing the law professor thing so plainly that it makes me want to get out my laptop and surf the internet or IM my friends about how bored I am.

Althouse on Obama on SCOTUS on the Second Amendment.


Several cars and large trucks nearly crushed the massive old snapping turtle as he lumbered across a twisting, wooded stretch of Highway 67 south of Kiel.

So I stopped and did my best to get him out of the roadway. He proved highly adept at snapping viciously and vice-like onto the strands of the ice scraper from the car, and I dragged him along for four inches at a time until his beak slipped off the blue synthetic fibers.

He was not a happy camper.

How High's the Water?


In fact, I've never seen it this high and rapid at this time of year.


Live from SheVegas

Or Sheboygan, if that's how you know the fair city of my birth, the city by the lake.

It's been a crazy day.  I rescued/fought with a giant snapping turtle on a highway, visited the elderly, rummage saled, ate lunch at a luxury resort for mom's birthday, and now I'm here in glitzy SheVegas with my brother and a friend/relative/accomplice.  

Lovely Michigan Avenue.  

One down

Looks like one of the murders has been wrapped up after an arrest in Minnesota. It is certainly good news for Madison and the police department.

Death and taxis

On my way to a human rights-themed film festival in the nearby city of Goychay a few weeks back, I rode in this taxi:

Apparently it was foreshadowing; for the film festival, local children had been asked to create posters of peace - this was one of the entrants:

Peace through superior firepower?


Celebrating my first full year in Azerbaijan, I find myself also celebrating the anniversary of the Potemkin mutiny:
The uprising was sparked by Ippolit Giliarovsky, the second in command of the battleship, who allegedly threatened reprisals against a number of the crew for their refusal to eat meat found to contain maggots when it was delivered to the warship. Reportedly he mustered the crew on the quarterdeck near where a tarpaulin was laid out and armed marines were drawn up. The sailors assumed that a group execution was pending and rushed the marines (themselves sailors), calling on them not to shoot.

To bring the thing full circle, the surviving sailors of the mutiny were imprisoned in the fortress at Zaqatala, where I spent much of my first year. Despite the plaque announcing tours of the fort, none seem to be given; but here's a picture of the walls:

There is a headstone bearing the name of one of the mutineers in a secluded corner of the main park in the city - unfortunately, no pictures of that at the moment.

(Edit: a photo of the monument is here, thanks to Wikipedia.

Aliabad traffic jam

Ah memories:


The Second Amendment Lives

Well, there you have it.

Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession. Although times have changed since 1791, Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority, “it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Examining the words of the Amendment, the Court concluded “we find they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weaons in case of confrontation” — in other words, for self-defense. “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” it added.

I'm content with the outcome, as I think it would be absurd to find Americans haven't had a right to individual firearm ownership for two centuries.

Interesting tidbits I've gleaned thus far:

- The Second Amendment is not incorporated to the states at this time.
- Licensing firearms seems to be A-Ok.

Here's the text of the decision.

NYT assessment (ht/David H) here.

Second Amendment on Trial

Get ready for a verdict within the hour.


Traveling to Labrador

The intrepid Mac V is heading off an adventure into the Canadian Maritimes...and will become the first person I know to venture into Labrador:

I'll be embarking on a two-week road trip through New England into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec and back. Since this has the potential to rank amongst some of the more unique things I've ever done on a relative whim, I'm going to keep a travel diary...

Follow along here
. Perhaps we readers will discover if moose is kosher. Or whale.

I remember flying over Labrador on a return flight from Germany a few years back. It looked pretty hardcore desolate at the time - vast barren ice-carved landscapes as far as the eye could see.

Good luck, Mac.

"One Angry Man"

On Keith Olbermann and his impact on news.

Good?  Bad?  Naturally it's not that simple, but I tend toward the latter pole.


Absalom, Absalom

At long last, I have vanquished Faulkner's dark, torturous, hyper-neurotic take on Southern Gothic.  

It was a trying but brilliant book, the entire work building a massive, foreboding pyre of ill-fated generations, twisted codes of honor, and racial shame for a climactic final scene pregnant with meaning.  I shuddered through the final pages.

I grew to hate characters.  I despised some for their evil, others for their psychotic stream-of-consciousness anxiety, still others for their surrender to the conventions of their time and place.

I came to detest Faulkner himself for his grotesquely overwrought and narrative-within-a-narrative-within-a-narrative writing - a style that nonetheless held me mesmerized despite my near desire toward the end of the slog to burn the book in a parallel to its own conclusion.

What a book, what an incredible book.  Far more malevolent - and perhaps overdrawn - than The Sound and the Fury, but admittedly the work of a great talent whose stereotypes, whose lack of clarity and accessibility were overcome by his ability to completely ensconce the reader in the darkest chilling shades of the old Deep South.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Law Imposing Death Penalty for Child Rape

Today's 5-4 decision in the Kennedy case of Louisiana is going to stir the hornet's nest in the 2008 presidential election.  Guaranteed.

I think much of the electorate will look at the end result of the majority's decision - without even looking at and picking apart Kennedy's "evolving standards" basis - and be a little incredulous.

Arnie Fielkow for Mayor?

Facebook puts outs feelers for the prospective bid of New Orleans City Council President - and Wisconsin native, if I recall correctly - Arnie Fielkow.

In my months in NOLA, I've come to know he's a very zealous - sometimes seemingly overzealous given other priorities in play - advocate of sports and sports-related things, but not much more.  I'll have to do my homework before making any further comments. 


"The Jewish Key to Henry Kissinger"

Another reason to check out Professor Jeremi Suri's new book on Henry Kissinger.

ht/Barry L

Ye Olde Kiel Mill, 1884

Sazerac Snag

Alas, legislation to make the storied sazerac the official cocktail of Louisiana is taking on water and listing heavily to port - even with the limited goal of making it the official cocktail of New Orleans alone.

As my friend Ramsey quipped: 

"Undone by the Hurricane lobby, I presume."



From the Odd Wisconsin Archives, one of the most amazing names ever:

"The Sound That Stars Make Rushing through the Sky."

Here's a taste of the contextual story:

"That evening the handful of Americans lay down with loaded rifles, expecting to be attacked. But during the night Susan Johnston, the Ojibwe wife of the fur trader at the Sault, John Johnston, visited the warriors' lodges. She was the daughter of Lake Superior chief Waubejeeg (White-fisher), had married John Johnston about 1790 on Madeline Island, and moved with him to the Sault in 1793. On the night of June 16-17, 1820, she persuaded the warriors that it would not be in their interests to attack U.S. officials. A few yards away, Doty recorded, "Every one lay with his fire arms beside him, but no disturbance was made." Without Johnston's diplomacy, it's likely that Cass, Doty, and the other members of the expedition would all have been killed before dawn.

Among them was Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864), who would go on to be one of 19th-c. America's most popular writers on Indian life. Two years later he was appointed U.S. Indian agent at the Sault and became intimate with the Johnston family. Fur trader John Johnston was an Irish immigrant, and he sent his metis (mixed-race) daughters back to Europe for schooling. One of them was Obahbahmwawageezhagoquay, whose name meant "The Sound That Stars Make Rushing through the Sky." She was 20 years old at the time of the expedition's visit and had already traveled to London, Dublin, and Liverpool. In 1823 she and Schoolcraft married, and over the next two decades she and her mother supplied much of the information for his well-known books."

Schoolcraft's work would later be instrumental in shaping Longfellow's 'Hiawatha.'

Are You Ready for Some Second Amendment?

Brace yourselves, all you Heller watchers - for Wednesday or Thursday.

There's speculation that Justice Scalia has written the majority opinion.

Return to the Land of Milk and Honey Weiss

I'm back in The Little City that Does Big Things.

It's all here: Hard roll buns.  Order.  Upper midwest vowels.

And the Kiel Public Library, stepping forward from the dark barbaric gloom, has acquired what appears to be the first publicly available wireless hot spot in the city.  Sweet.

I took a few interesting photos on my flight last night, which I hope to share.  Former Wisconsin Attorney General candidate Paul Bucher also happened to be on my flight into Milwaukee last night, although I didn't get to talk to him, as I first realized who he was toward the end of the flight, and he didn't show up at the baggage claim carousel.


Weather Systems

Rain over Northern Illinois Friday evening, as seen from east of Janesville. (Click for bigger)

James Carville in Uptown

I saw James Carville at the checkout this morning while stopping by Langenstein's grocery here in New Orleans.

A friend caught up with him and confirmed that it was in fact the Cajun himself.  He wanted to be left alone, it seems.


Wrap Up: Externing in Federal Court

Today marks my final day as a summer extern to a federal judge with the Eastern District of Louisiana here in sweaty, sun-drenched New Orleans.

It's been quite the experience - sitting in the magistrate's packed courtroom this morning as Mose Jefferson, Betty Jefferson, and Angela Cole pleaded not guilty to a laundry list of counts as a gaggle of news cameras waited outside was a fitting conclusion.

More than anything, I enjoyed the variety. Takings, due process, employment, Admiralty, habeas, jurisdiction, summary judgment, death penalty - the writing and research assignments proved to be a good sampler plate of different areas of law. Drinking in the details of courtroom procedure, oral argument, and motions practice has also been invaluable.

Observing an en banc hearing of the neighboring 5th Circuit Court of Appeals also stands out as a memorable moment. Seeing counsel face the imposing crescent of 17 judges in a grandiose courtroom - including many prospective Bush SCOTUS appointees such as Clement, Owens, Jones, Garza, etc. - was hard to forget.

The judge, staff, and other externs have made me eager to ride the streetcar in to work each morning, and my ability to work on meaningful matters has been great. The hours flew by because I've been continually engrossed in the projects assigned. All in all, a beneficial experience.


Kiera Wiatrak, a freelancer for the Wisconsin State Journal, interviewed me this afternoon about student blogging.

While I started to feel like an old man about 10 minutes into the interview - 2005 and 2006 seem so long ago! - she covered a lot of ground, and I'm looking forward to reading the article.


Down on Tchoup

Louisiana Supreme Court Slaps Back

The Supreme Court of Louisiana recently launched a sort of rebuttal blitz against Tulane Professor Vernon Valentine Palmer's study, which I mentioned earlier here, impugning the integrity of the justices on the court.

I wonder if or how the showdown's impact will tarnish the Tulane Law Review's reputation.  The publication, which published Palmer's work, is discussed as an active participant in the matter in a piece that seeks to rebut the study.

U.S. House to Consider Impeachment of New Orleans Federal Judge

Judge Thomas Porteous of the Eastern District of Louisiana, whose chambers are just down the hall, now faces the scrutiny of the House Judiciary Committee.



15 Top Congressional Races to Watch

TIME Magazine highlights a handful of tight contests nationwide.

John Gard vs. Steve Kagan makes the list in Wisconsin's Eighth District.

Death of the Landline at UW-Madison

On Secretary's Day 2004, I considered getting Justin, my roommate in Chadbourne Hall, a gift.

As one of the last people in my circles to get a cell phone, I had one busy roommate when it came to answering the old landline in our little dorm cubicle on the 10th floor, taking messages for my many campus involvements. It's hard to believe I functioned without a cell phone.

Now, the alma mater is facing the reality of the cellular paradigm. Landlines are going the way of the great auk.


Really, it's interesting to look back at this point and see how much has changed in twenty years. I'm arguably from the final generation to experience a pre-internet, pre-cell phone childhood.

For many of the same reasons I delayed in getting a cellphone, I think I'm glad that managed to experience such halcyon days.

...and the thrill of the first foray onto the internet in 1994 at Kiel Middle School...the hourglass spinning and the uncluttered Yahoo! screen slowly appearing before our eyes, the eagerness to find a "chatroom"...

Calm Like A Bomb


Thoughts on China

The world weighs in...and the numbers are intriguing.

31% of U.S. respondents believe China will replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower.

Over 50% of French respondents believe it will.

22% of Mexican respondents - the highest of any nation surveyed - think it already has.

Perception and reality diverge in the survey, but I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Most respondents are rightly more concerned about China's military rise than its economic rise. Here's a good point to keep in mind in that regard:

Writing in The New York Times, Joffe calculated that even assuming indefinite Chinese growth of 7 percent and U.S. growth "at its historical rate of 3.5 percent," China's gross domestic product would total $12 trillion by 2028, far below the projected U.S. gross domestic product of $28 trillion.

My Top 10 Hikes

A friend sent me a list of some hiking trails, and I began musing about my top hikes in the U.S., most of them in the American West. I realized I haven't had nearly enough opportunities to do multi-day hikes, so that should be kept in mind when viewing my list - this is entirely subjective based on my experiences.

Here's what came to mind:

1. Greenstone Ridge Trail, Isle Royale National Park

2. Zion Narrows, Zion National Park

3. Glacier National Park - Anything - especially up around Goat Haunt on the Canadian border, Swiftcurrent Valley, or even Two Medicine

4. South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

5. Ouzel Creek or Glacier Gorge trails, Rocky Mountain National Park

6. Arches National Park - Anything, a series a short hikes with spectacular landscape

7. Mt. Washburn - Yellowstone National Park (the hike I made with my dad at age 5 to see bighorn sheep)

8. Lake Superior Trail, etc. - Porcupine Mountains State Wilderness Area - Upper Michigan

9. Ice Age Trail - Eastern Wisconsin Portions

10. North Unit Trails - Teddy Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

America's Law School Glut

To quote The Beatles, it's all too much.

ht/Eric L


Cato the Younger?

The Cato Institute plugs Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and his roadmap for a party lost in the wilderness.


A Thoroughly NOLAn Blog

"An Alabamian in New Orleans"



Pipe Dreams

Manbearpi - who?

Is this seriously being run through the rumor mill?

Strange grist.

Gingrich Pushes Jindal for VP

So sayeth The Hill.

Back home, Jindal may face scrutiny for standing by, veto pen holstered, as the Louisiana legislature doubles its pay.

The Russert Role

Who will fill it? Any ideas?

Out of the names that rise to the surface in the hyperlinked piece, I would put Gwen Ifill of PBS at the top of my list (I came up with her name independently before beginning to research what the buzz was saying). She comes to mind when searching for an iconic, substantive, knowledgeable, balanced persona.

Here's Ifill on Meet the Press.

I enjoy watching her host on the News Hour now and then, and she's pulled duty as a moderator - namely in the memorable Cheney-Edwards VP debate in 2004.

Another speculative possibility for Meet the Press I wouldn't mind: NBC political director Chuck Todd, who always seems to be factual and thorough.

Many of the other names bandied about have too much political baggage for my taste. Stephanopoulos, Matthews, and Olbermann - absolutely not. NBC's David Gregory might be disqualified based on this alone.


The Flooding Up North

Here's one of the most captivating shots: Pretty poignant, pretty powerful.

My thoughts go out to everyone back in Wisconsin.

It's looking and sounding awfully rough.

America at Dusk - The Mobile Bay Ferry

Rain in paradise

The Irish voted no on a re-worked EU constitution. It crashed the first time in 2005 when the Dutch and French people voted no on it. The reason why this is a big issue for Europe is that it seems to expose differing agendas between people and their governments. So far, every time the public votes it fails, while in most countries the government simply approves it without asking the people.

Also in Euroland, some Germans are looking twice at their euros. There's a disparity between the Euro zone's southern and the northern economics which the euro has to accommodate. Mainly different economic policies have traditionally benefited Germany than Spain and Italy, less and more inflation, respectively. Perhaps the Germans are just ahead of the curve this time since we all know that all fiat currencies eventually collapse, anyway (I'm looking at you, dollar).



A few new friends have hooked me on the extremely fun and helpful grassroots review site, Yelp.com.

New Orleans seems to be largely uncharted or unreviewed - except for a high number of perspectives from Californians...(?). Madison seems to be pretty thoroughly saturated, but rural Wisconsin looks like a frontier to explore.

Here are a few of the reviews I've tossed up on the site thus far.

Google Make We Dumb?

Me no think so.

"Be angry at the sun for setting"

Tim Russert

Tim Russert, dead of a heart attack today at 58.

I can honestly say Russert stands as one of the few newsmen of the present day who genuinely furthered our ability as Americans to govern ourselves, thereby advancing one of the bedrock goals, if not the fundamental goal of a free press.

Good-natured and homespun, but always a relentless jackhammer for the truth when he had to be - sometimes almost to the point of infuriation, Big Russ will be sorely missed in our all-too-lackluster media landscape. I can say I had a rare degree of trust.

His Meet the Press Interview of Ron Paul stands as a personal favorite, and above all else, his immortal white board on election night 2000 has been chiseled into the electronic history books for all time.

Watch Right Side of the Road for a suitable memoriam.



On the Gitmo Case - Boumediene v. Bush

Here's the text of today's decision in Boumediene v. Bush and Al-Odah.

Here's what seems to be the central holding of the decision from Justice Kennedy's majority opinion:

Petitioners present a question not resolved by our earlier cases relating to the detention of aliens at Guantanamo: whether they have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus, a privilege not to be withdrawn except in conformance with the Suspension Clause, Art. I, §9, cl. 2. We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege. Congress has enacted a statute, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA), 119 Stat. 2739, that provides certain procedures for review of the detainees’ status. We hold that those procedures are not an adequate and effective substitute for habeas corpus. Therefore §7 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), 28 U. S. C. A. §2241(e) (Supp. 2007), operates as an unconstitutional suspension of the writ.

At first blush, my overriding question is why does the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus apply to non-U.S. citizens at all? Even if the Constitution "follows the flag" and holds sway over the old Spanish-American outpost at Guantanamo Bay, if the detainees are not citizens, extending habeas protection to them seems odd. The majority asks the question in terms of whether the executive is holding someone captive improperly, but part of determining whether the individual is being held in a permissible manner depends, I think, on the legal status of the person and the location of the captivity.

The Wall Street Journal, mentioning Kennedy's observation:

Allowing the government to lean on Eisentrager would give "the political branches...the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will," he wrote.

Well, doesn't the Constitution switch itself off in some ways when it comes to applying to those who aren't of "the People"? That seemed to be the legacy of Eisentrager until Rasul v. Bush in 2004. While non-citizen civilians have access to our courts under a number of federal rules of civil procedure, are there not plenty of examples of rights and provisions under the Constitution that do not apply to non-citizens?

That said, holding individuals for six years does seem absurd in some cases, as Souter notes in his concurrence. Especially individuals not captured on the battlefield. It certainly has provided the U.S. with a media albatross about its neck for far too long, and it's been a terrible choice on the part of the Bush Administration to a) create the War on Terror paradigm, and b) prosecute it in the manner it has. That's the consequence of the choice of an executive.

But Congress, not the President - even if he pushed for it - authorized the current military commission structure. And as the Roberts dissent points out - slamming a volley back at the Souter delay complaint in the footnotes, the remedy options available to - and largely unused by the detainees - are very generous in historical terms for enemy combatants.

As Illya Somin points out at VC, the Court striking down the war-related policy of the executive and legislative branches during a time of war is very rare:

In Boumediene, the Court challenges congressional power as well as the executive. It strikes down as unconstitutional several provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the MCA. This is a nearly unprecedented situation where the Court rejected an important assertion of wartime power backed by both of the other branches of government. To my knowledge, virtually every previous case in which the Court ruled an important wartime policy unconstitutional was one where the policy in question was adopted by the executive acting alone. (He later updates to note that the narrow Ex Parte Milligan ruling occurred after the conclusion of the Civil War).

Orin Kerr, also at VC, echoes Somin in raising an interesting prospect - that Congress might still be able to get around the ruling by suspending habeas in a specific circumstance.

In the Wall Street Journal coverage, we see the response of the two presidential candidates. We also get a hint of Justice Scalia's fervent dissent, which I think goes overboard in some of its rhetoric, but does raise a number of legitimate considerations - albeit some of them for a legislative body (and it's unfortunate that the majority doesn't respect the law Congress passed at the Court's earlier invitation). For example, he cites the fact of detainees returning to fight, and it's quite damning. Some of his outrage seems misplaced, however, given the writing on the wall in recent precedent.*

But overall, based on my skimming of the lengthy decision, I think Chief Justice Roberts' dissent is far more persuasive in its critique, and it's written in a manner that makes me think he sought to get Kennedy on his side. But Kennedy, as too often seems the case, does what looks in the broad view of history as the humane thing, legal bases aside.

I think the majority caves to public clamor by overextending habeas along Rasul lines. If the petitioners involved were U.S. citizens, I would take an entirely different stance - because much of the majority's logic and analysis makes sense in that context. The Court ruled unanimously in a different habeas case today, where U.S. citizenship was a distinguishing issue:

Divided as the Supreme Court was in this case, the justices were unanimous, surprisingly so, in a second habeas corpus ruling on Thursday. Again rejecting the Bush administration’s position, the court held in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts that two civilian United States citizens being held in American military custody in Iraq were entitled to file habeas corpus petitions.

Finally, Andrew Sullivan proves once again he is a rather shallow observer of the law (and why does he constantly refer to himself as a conservative?). His penchant for succumbing to things wreathed in good writing and oratory without qualification continues.

The decision in Boumediene is a tough one to wrangle with. It presents an unenviable DeShaney situation where the tugs of the head and the heart, law and emotion, tear away at the individual faced with the decision. Is separation of powers skewed with the judiciary's overruling of the legislature and executive? Is checks and balances at work instead?

I empathize with the desire to make America exemplary on the world stage, but altruism alone is not enough to bear a legal decision.

If you're looking for more, SCOTUSblog has a nice roundup of additional perspectives on the decision.


* Scalia in dissent in Rasul (2004): today's opinion, and today's opinion alone, extends the habeas statute, for the first time, to aliens held beyond the sovereign territory of the United States and beyond the territorial jurisdiction of its courts.

Scalia in dissent in Boumediene (2008):
Today, for the first time in our Nation’s history, the Court confers a constitutional right to habeas corpus on alien enemies detained abroad by our military forces in the course of an ongoing war.

Black Hats with Red Stars?

The latest on attempted Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. government offices.

When Seiches Attack

Fear their fury!

What the heck is a seich?

Digesting Boumediene

Sounds tasty, doesn't it? Almost like...a rich bouillon...

I've been sitting here sans supper for over an hour trying to craft a lengthy post on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in Boumediene v. Bush.

The majority decision strikes down a Congressional law that effectively denied habeas corpus rights to non-citizen individuals being held at Guantanamo Bay.

It's taking me longer than anticipated to slog through the lengthy opinion and a blizzard of commentary that's now out on the web. I have some very strong beliefs about some of the legal issues in the case, but I'm trying to contextualize them within recent precedent and get a full sense of the implications of the decision.

With luck, I'll have something out late tonight or tomorrow.

At present, I'm also trying to make headway on a presentation and paper on the Medellin case for a local Inn of Court. The fun never ends.

9th Circuit


The Simple Life


Lake Delton Flooding Aftermath Photos

Firsthand photos here of the mudflat remnants of Wisconsin's Lake Delton courtesy of the intrepid B.Scott.

Quite a few folks out traipsing through the muck...

The Tommy Bartlett dock looking rather forlorn.

The blowout channel (I believe) through which the lake escaped into the Wisconsin River.

Wolf Parade

What I'm looking forward to on June 17...

...and why I'm looking forward to it.



Not enough flux

some beavers use dams
normally people place them
for once not this time

Too much flux

steady ancient Earth
now homes and roads set adrift
from a giant gash!

I welcome readers
typing keyboards to try some;
comments must heed rules


Olympic Torch Relay In China - An Insider's View

Mikey R checks in from the Olympic torch relay in Yangzhou, China.


- An erudite anonymous fellow waltzes into the isthmusphere back in Madison.

- The electoral map speaks.

- Looking for work in NOLA this weekend? Go shuck some oysters. Looking for fun? Go to one of the three festivals in town (seafood, zydeco, and - hmmm - tomato).

- For the second time since I departed for New Orleans, major flooding hits Wisconsin - especially Lake Delton, recreating the proglacial formation of the Dells in miniature. It's difficult to believe the sizable lake where I once watched the Tommy Bartlett water show has vanished.

- I've found we hear quite a few Admiralty cases down at the courthouse - Maritime Law, what an intriguing area of law.

- Ooh - Ron Paul prepares to raise a ruckus in the Twin Cities during the GOP convention - with a convention of his own. Not quite Rage Against the Machine outside the Democratic Convention in 2000, but it's going to be fun to watch.

Tchotchkes in the Irish Channel


House prices could fall nearly 50% in four years in the UK. If we have the same or a similar pattern here, once I graduate next year I'll have a couple of years to build up a nice down payment to buy at the bottom!


Justice Clinton?

First there was talk of Bill Clinton being appointed to SCOTUS by his wife.

Now the talk has shifted to Hillary herself in the wake of her campaign suspension.

Robert Novak tosses the idea about and says Clinton would be rather inexperienced judicially for a high court candidate. He cites a few examples from decades back.

Still, Clarence Thomas only had about a year on the D.C. Circuit before joining SCOTUS.

And what else is she going to do? Somehow, I can't see her being content as the Senator from New York.

Transvestite Crime Gang in NOLA?

This ridiculous story definitely gets today's nod for a WTF? Award.

Wisconsin is a toss-up again

According to this:

The video suggests that both candidates have secured 200 electoral votes each, leaving 138. Wisconsin has 10 votes and Kerry won by 11,384 of 3 million votes last time. Brad posted on the prospects of another electoral college upset recently.

Being a swing state means we'll get extra attention, especially right before the election. Already I've seen a few McCain tv ads. I remember in 2004, I saw the president's bus and entourage drive down a highway in my area in SE Wisconsin.

For the Louisianians, they put Louisiana in the leaning McCain category.


Justice O'Connor Unveils Videogame


But she admits she doesn't play video games.



"And he was introduced.
And he lifted his hand
And cast a new spell.
Progressive silence fell
In Springfield,
In Illinois,
Around the world.


And everybody heard him-
In the streets and State House yard.
And everybody heard him
In Springfield,
In Illinois,
Around and around and around the world,
That danced upon its axis
And like a darling broncho whirled."

Nope. Not even Lincoln.

Despite the similarities, the excerpts come from the fantastic Vachel Lindsay poem, "Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan" about a 16 year-old boy observing the election of 1896.

It's intriguing to read the poem and see the parallels between the 1890s and the 2000s - Mark Hanna as Karl Rove, Obama's populist Midwest-based oratory and cry of 'Yes We Can' echoing the immortal Nebraskan's 'You Shall Not Crucify Mankind Upon a Cross of Gold.'

Banjo Kinda Day




A New Brewery for New Orleans - NOLA Brewing Co.

I didn't make it over the big beer tasting yesterday, but I did notice this little tidbit about a new brewery, NOLA Brewing Co., that debuted its libations at the event:

I'm gunna be honest here.. I hate Dixie Lager. Even then, I still miss Dixie being brewed in New Orleans as it was the last brewery in Orleans Parish after the heyday of the early 1900s, even surviving the BudMillerCoors onslaught of the 60s and 70s. So it gives me great pride that there's about to be a new brewery in Orleans called NOLA Brewing. The WYES will be the first public showcasing of their brews; at the very least, expect their launch beers, a Blonde and a Brown to be there.

Most intriguing is the fact that the brewery's brew master is a veteran - having worked as brew master for decades for the still-in-limbo Dixie Beer here in New Orleans:

I must say, the founder of the new venture was certainly asking the right questions to inspire the start-up:

While enjoying great tasting beer of fellow New Orleanian and home brewer Byron Towles, the question arose, “Why doesn’t New Orleans have several great local micro-breweries like Portland or Seattle to offer a variety of beer to a city full of brewing history?” Once the cradle of brewing in the Deep South, New Orleans boasted world famous beers such as Falstaff, Regal, Union, Dixie, Jax, New Orleans Brewing and XXXX (Four X).

The brewery's warehouse location also sounds cool:

3001 Tchoupitoulas


What I Continue to Tell Myself as I Work on the Tulane Law Review Write-On Packet

Done and Done

At Belmont.

At the monumental National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

St. Louis Cemetery, No. 1

Fiddling With the Electoral College

What a sexy topic, no?

A few folks out there are fencing around with the prospect of a constitutional crisis this fall (what if McCain wins despite a massive loss in the popular vote?) and how to prevent it.

En guard!




For closure, to fend off future hurricane storm surge.

The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet ("Mr. Geaux" as it's pronounced around here) is a direct watery line from the Gulf of Mexico into New Orleans - it has eroded itself ever wider (prompting takings claims), and it is blamed as one of the chief culprits in the Katrina debacle, serving as a direct avenue for storm surge into the heavily populated areas of the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East.

Last month, I ventured down into the depths of St. Bernard Parish with my friend Curtis and, after talking with some oyster fishermen in Yscloskey, made it over to Shell Beach on the shores of MRGO itself. It was a rather surreal, eerie landscape in the harsh afternoon sun:

St. Charles Avenue, A Hat Shop, and GQ

After a dental appointment this morning, I happened to wander into the time-honored and whimsical hat shop of Meyer the Hatter.

While trying on a few hats, Mr. Samuel Meyer himself noted that two guys from GQ were supposed to be stopping by...and, looking across the store as he adjusted the brim on the Bailey monroe hat I had on, I saw them enter. I suddenly felt a little more stylish than usual.

The selection there is incredible - so check it out if you're in town. LIB's Steve S, "The Man in the Hat," would have a ball with the place. And if you happen to catch GQ in the next few months, keep an eye out for a little piece on a NOLA classic.

The Things One Stumbles Across on Youtube...

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sazerac Skuffle

The push to make the sazerac the official state cocktail of Louisiana gets interesting in the statehouse.

I must admit, given the heritage of the drink, it might make sense to limit it to New Orleans.

p.s. the lady bartender at The Columns knows how to make a great one with style

Where's Harry Lee When You Need Him?

Nutrias attack!

But Harry's Swat Team is still bringing the counteroffensive.


Why Louisiana Has Parishes, Not Counties


Check under 'Parish Government Structure' for an interesting look at the unit of government sometimes run by a 'Police Jury' - or a variation on that theme:

Louisiana is unique in the nation in that it has parishes which are governed in most cases by police juries. Parishes correspond to counties and police juries to county boards of commissioners or similar local governing bodies in other states.

Once Louisiana had counties. Shortly after the Louisiana territory was purchased by the United States, the newly created Legislative Council met in 1804 and divided the state into 12 counties. These were Orleans, German Coast, Acadia, LaFourche, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Concordia, Atakapas, Opelousas, Rapides, Natchitoches and Ouachita.

These counties proved too large for satisfactory administration and in 1807, the state was divided into 19 parishes based, for the most part, on the boundaries of the 21 ecclesiastical parishes established in 1762. Thus parish became the local government district.

Rigging at Dusk

Obama's VP Options

The Field thinks they're all Catholic.

And Andrew Sullivan thinks - and I agree - Brian Schweitzer of Montana is the most intriguing name on the list. Very Jim Webbish in some ways. I only know him from his federalist opposition to the national ID requirement.

I don't think it will be Hillary. She would never make a very good support-role player, especially with Bill along for the ride.

“Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

Charlie Rangel on Hillary Clinton's momentous conclusion to concede at last.

Check out the fascinating county-by-county breakdown. What a landscape.