"Not since Nikita Khrushchev's banging of his shoe at the United Nations [1960] have I seen anything like this on the world stage."

So says one Turkish diplomat about Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's outburst at DAVOS a few days ago. But what to make of it? There seem to be a few angles worth discussing.

vis-a-vis EU accession and relations with the West
There seems little the AK Party can do to bring Turkey closer to Europe, as the mood in the EU seems quite solidly closed off to Turkey lately -- chances for accession have been slim recently anyway, since AK came to power. Some point to this incident as one in a long string of eruptions that have hurt Turkey's EU bid. Israel's Haaretz, moreover, says:
The Foreign Ministry has learned that senior European Union diplomats were highly critical of the vociferous criticism Erdogan had leveled at Israel over the operation in Gaza and for his support of Hamas.

According to one report, senior European officials said, "Erdogan wants to be part of the European Union, but now he can forget about it."

But Erdogan's move doesn't seem to have been entirely uncalculated. According to some Turkish analysis,
"Turkey's pursuit of leadership of the Middle East and the Muslim world does not automatically damage Ankara's relations with Israel and the West" suggesting, the analysis says "Turkish ties to both are built on solid footing. Turkey was among the first states to recognize Israel after the birth of the Jewish state in 1948, and since then the two countries have had close diplomatic and military relations."

"Even the AK Party's attempts to create more balance between its relations with Israel and with the Arab states have not altered the historical relationship between Turkey and Israel. In fact, under the Erdogan administration, Ankara has been mediating indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria. Despite the AK Party's Islamist roots, the current Turkish leadership is much more pragmatic in its strategic outlook than Iran and other radical Islamist actors in the region. The AK Party government is well aware that close relations with Israel, the United States and the West will allow it to enhance its influence in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world."

"Also, Ankara is trying to position itself as a go-between for the Arab/Muslim world and the West — but to do that, it needs to enhance its influence among Arabs and Muslims. Hence the harsh criticism against Israel."

"In many ways, Israel and the West would actually prefer Turkish leadership in the Middle East and the Islamic world to that of Iran or the Arab states," underlining, Stratfor analysis says "Turkey is a secular, Westernized Muslim state and a NATO ally, and it is well-positioned between the Islamic and Western spheres. From the Israeli and Western point of view, Turkish leadership could serve as a counter to radical Islamist tendencies from Iran and from Sunni nonstate actors.

More, there are suggestions that there will be little or no deterioration in the relationship between Israel and Turkey as a result of the incident.

position in Arab world
Turkey's positioning demands a look, then, at its role in the Mid-East. Here it seems to be a growing power, able, as a secular state and NATO member now run by nominal Islamists, to be a go-between for the West and the Arab street. Winning the praise of Iran could serve to bolster Turkey's soft power in the region, and disclosures that the country helped to broker talks between Israel and Pakistan demonstrate Turkey's ability to moderate regional talks. Moreover, as the BBC points out, Turkey has gained significant respect from the Arab world generally for its stance.

position domestically for AK party
Mostly, though, the move seems to have been a good way to bolster popular support at home after a difficult row over a constitutional change to allow headscarves in schools. By all accounts, Erdogan was greeted as a hero on his return, and for many, he has returned a sense of pride to the country. This should serve to bolster him despite criticism of his brash political style.

Krewe of Hammurabi

Why don't we have a Mardi Gras krewe or walking club comprised of law students here in New Orleans?

Imagine the garb: black judge's robe, white powdered whig, narrow comfortable mask a la blind justice - carrying gavels, scales, a sword, and legal tomes.

"Good Day For An Airstrike"

Oh, local bands that play at Starbucks in Slidell, how you brighten my day.

Steele Wins RNC

So, now that the GOP has its first African American party chair...one must ask what, precisely, it means.

Is the development parallel to the GOP's "tech gap" obsession, which was also very apparent throughout the race for chair?

Jon Henke, who advised former Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson on new-media efforts last year in his brief presidential run, agrees tech savviness is only a means to an end.

"The party right now is like someone seeing their neighbor buy a shiny new truck, and wanting one, too," says Mr. Henke, 34. "But then not realizing the neighbor has something to haul."

Is Michael Steele a shiny new truck?

I think Steele's win, at least on the surface, is a positive development for the GOP - permitting a minority from a blue state who openly affiliated with moderate enclaves of the party shows some degree of willingness to reject the Rove path and take the game back to the center.  It recognizes the need to adapt after two cycles of hard losses - and in the face of dangerous weakness (see Gregg alert, permanent minority warnings, and party ID problems).

The problem, however, is whether moderates view Steele as indicative of true party metamorphosis or merely a shiny new truck (or maybe a red wheel barrow) with little to haul.  The media attention lavished on Steele seemed to do more to raise him to the head of the pack than anything else - which makes me question the depth and staying power of his win and its ability to create change.

The BlueBook, Revised

Yes, yes, and more yes.


These Crowded Streets

More on Feingold's Proposed Amendment

I'm not surprised that a number of people support Russ Feingold's proposed amendment to the U.S. constitution that would force all states to hold special elections to fill Senate vacancies that occur mid-term.  Most of them take a simplified recent-news-imbued view that a federal constitutional mandate is the best way to address a perceived problem (I don't).

I am very surprised, however, to see blogger James Wigderson supporting Feingold's move.

His explanation does not mention a concern for the principles of federalism whatsoever, focusing instead on a parade of horribles and concerns about dynastic appointments - which could nonetheless be prevented if individual states were left to choose a special election option in their own constitutions (as they are now).

Like John Nichols, oddly enough, he leans heavily on the 17th Amendment, but doesn't seem to have read beyond the first clause of the provision.  Yes, that amendment did shift the Senator selection power to state electorates from state legislatures for regularly scheduled replacement elections.  But read the text of the 17th - it's very clear about reserving choice to state legislatures and the executives of states in the event of temporary appointments to fill vacancies:

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

I believe the varied responses by states that grew up to fill the small gap that remained - what to do in the event of a vacancy in the middle of a term - balances the original intent of the Framers to have the U.S. Senate act as a more stable, less populist body with the 17th Amendment's transfer of power for most elections to a direct vote of the people.  

The specific textual outlining of this indirect process in the 17th Amendment makes Feingold's desired change all the more radical and ill-advised - he's not just seeking to clarify, he's seeking a wholesale revision of the balance set up in the Amendment.  

The bottom line: no state today is barred from having special elections to replace U.S. Senators.  Wisconsin has already enshrined this choice in its constitution.  If voters in New York think the Gillibrand pick was an outrageous affront, then they should amend their own constitution.  For now, state electorates seem content with replacing most appointed senators.

Moreover, unlike Wigderson, I don't think that the popular election process eliminates the idea that someone "paid" for a seat.  The number of hyper-wealthy individuals in the Senate - see Herb Kohl - makes the perception of winning a seat through an election just as tainted by money as an appointment.  An appointment would be made by a duly elected governor - only one step removed from the people.  And, as I've written before, a sane governor will make a politically palatable appointment for fear of risking his or her own political future with a controversial crony pick.  And, as we saw with Governors Murkowski and Blagojevich, the people catch on.

In the end, I think Wisconsin blogger Ann Althouse has the far better understanding of the issue.  Or as Sam Sarver sums it up:

To put it mildly, I think such an amendment is entirely unnecessary.

RNC Chair Race

A key moment for the GOP arrives today as the party elects a new chairman.

While I haven't followed the race at a deep level of detail, Saul Anuzis of Michigan stood out as one of the more original and forward-looking candidates, and I would likely vote for him if I had a say in the matter.

Arboreal Airratic

Or do you have a different term for what's left behind?

Gov. Doyle's SOS: It's not my fault! Really!

I just finished reading the text of Governor Doyle's State of the State address. It may be the most unintentionally funny - and sad - thing I've ever read and I'm trying to imagine the Governor getting through it without laughing.

First, Gov. Doyle tell's us that we're facing a recession and a huge state deficit that were the complete result of Washington, DC and Wall Street. The present administration had nothing to do with any of it. The fact that we have a deficit is the sole result of the economic downturn. Period. End of discussion.

Oh really?

I seem to remember the massive deficit projections coming out long before the financial collapse that caught us all by surprise in September. Shortly after the last budget "repair" bill was signed into law, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a memo stating Wisconsin still held a structural deficit of $1.682 billion dollars. That was back in May 2008.

Even then, the deficit caused by the recession was made worse by built-in budget increases and agency requests for increased spending. Contrary to the Governor's address, no significant cutting is taking place.

Back to the SOS - yes, I appreciate the irony of this acronym. Governor Doyle claims repeatedly that he cut state spending. Time and time again, he boasts of his tough decisions on what to cut and how this fixed our budget problems. I would like to repeat that we had a $1.6 billion structural deficit immediately following the last repair bill.

The simple fact is that Doyle is lying about cutting state spending. His address makes it sound as though he has taken an ax to the budget and cleared away all the dead wood. He has not. The 2005-2007 budget increased spending 6%. The 2007-2009 budget increased spending 6.6%. And the 2009-2011 state agency requests - submitted in November of 2008, nearly two months after the economic collapse began - increase state spending another 6.6%. How are those cuts, Governor Doyle?

The Governor talks a lot in this address about the importance of tough choices and making sure that Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs get back to work quickly. That should certainly be the goal of this year's legislative session, no question about it. But Doyle does not address these problems substantively. Not one bit. His solution is that President Obama and Congress are going to bail us out. They are the ones who are going to stimulate the economy so we here at the state level don't have to do a thing. He doesn't outline one thing he wants to do to attract businesses to the state in his entire address.

I couldn't find a single proposal to help the state's economic climate, despite the fact we lost 33,600 jobs in December alone. It is unimaginable that a governor could be so willfully blind to the problems in his state. The fact that Gov. Doyle does not even suggest a solution shows stunning incompetence.

At the end of his speech, the Gov. Doyle laid out five major legislative priorities. Did they have to do with creating a better business climate? No. Did they aim to reduce onerous property and income taxes in the state? No. His major goals had nothing to do with the economy.

Apparently, when faced with the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, the Governor's reaction is to push for an Autism insurance mandate - a move that would increase premiums for everyone - push for draconian anti-smoking ordinances that have negative effects on small business owners, create drunk-driving checkpoints, institute the recomendations of his Global Warming Task Force, and school funding reform.

Now, I agree we need school funding reform, vague though it may be, but what will any of the other four proposals do to help our economy? Doyle spent more than half his speech talking about the economy and didn't provide a single solution. Then, when he laid out his priorities, he wants to force all kinds of new environmental regulations on businesses that would destroy job creation in Wisconsin.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore, but it still amazes me that our Governor is so willing to blame others for what happened on his watch. It amazes me that he is so willing to sit by and let Washington try and fix Wisconsin's economy. When our state needs strong, decisive leadership the most, we find nothing but cowardice from our Governor. It is going to take a long time to recover from this mess if that is the best he has to offer.


Parsing the DPI candidates' websites

Somewhat apropos of Joy Cardin's interviews with each of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction candidates, let's look at their websites. The way the candidates handle the Internet could say something real about how they relate not only to technology, but also to their constituents, so I think it's something worth talking about.

Tony Evers
Tony's pretty much the base line here. His site isn't bad -- layout is nice and crisp; there are some good, education-y photos; his Issues section is one of my favorites as far as layout goes. The big gold button commanding my contribution, coming as it does before any reason why I should contribute, seems a bit overbearing, but he also urges me to follow him on Facebook, which is a good move. (He's up to 42 supporters.) Overall, completely decent.

Dr Lowell Holtz
The good doctor is the next step down. The cheesy pixelation (Blogger doesn't recognize this word, so I'm forced to stop and Google to find out -- one "l" or two? Wikipedia has a handy answer) isn't even ironic, just bad. Obviously, it distracted me enough to worry more about how to spell pixelation than to think about Dr Lowell! At any rate, he's got his name up in a very large, bold font, so that we're sure it's really him, and a picture of him in a baseball cap and some other guy; they appear to be at a racetrack or something, and I guess this is his way of saying to us it's okay -- I'm a doctor, but also a regular guy who just cares about the good blue-collar folks of Wisconsin! I'm not sure I buy it, and I'm a bit confused as to why he doesn't play up his education more.

There's no Facebook link here, his contact information page claims there's "More to come.....," there are no events on his events page, and his only news on the news page comes from December 3, 2008. Which all just says to me that he's being lackadaisical and not really pushing anything here, that there's no real drive (despite the cars on the front page!), and no real group behind him.

Van Mobley
But the lamest of the lame is Van Mobley. Granted, his banner graphic isn't unfortunately pixelated, but that's about all the site has going for it. The front page is one big block of text. It's a square of text, which makes me think, "this guy's a square." Also, for some reason, all the dates on this front page come up as Skype phone numbers, but the one actual phone number doesn't have a Skype link. Guess I won't be making an Internet phone call to the Mobley campaign!

We don't even get the plethora of sections to click on here -- Van seems to be content with a Spartan two, besides the front page: a "meet Van" section that has a single picture of him alone, no hard-at-work kids or concerned parents or dedicated teachers or anything, just Van alone with a small waterfall behind him, giving us a "vote for me" smile; and a "Press" section that seems equally thin. We do have more dates that show up as Skype phone numbers though, for what it's worth.

Todd Price
Professor Price has, I'd say, the second best site of the bunch. Nice chalkboard header, and a good concise quote about his intentions in the race; the layout is clean. I like his sidebar layout: "Ask Todd" is a link to a page with actual questions people have sent him, and his responses (well, that should be singular: there's only one question up now, though that may change); Contact (which takes us to a page where the phone number is Skype-friendly!); and Facebook (he has 209 friends). Only the last bit falls short -- he has no links up in his Links section; he does have a number of good endorsements in the relevant section, though.

One of the things, aside from the Facebook link, that I really like about Todd's site is the fact that the front page is a blog that seems to be updated fairly frequently. I don't usually like candidates' blogs -- they're really little more than press releases posted to the site as they go out to media outlets usually -- but I think there's a real and clear effort here. It doesn't have a lot of personality -- I wish Todd would really let his own voice come through here, and tell us what he thinks of the things he's linking to -- but it's a step in the right direction, and he should get recognition for the effort.

Rose Fernandez
Rose has, hands down, the best site going. In fact, she did a very clever thing -- rather than have the title of the page come up as just her name, as the rest do, it comes up with a slogan: "Let's Change DPI." If Price's campaign has the best slogan, Fernandez has the cleverest, linking itself as it does to Obama. Her blog, a separate section, is pretty weak -- three links with no commentary (one of which is a "welcome to my blog" post). But she's clearly still the most linked-in: not only is she the only one rocking embedded YouTube clips on her front page, she's also rocking the social networking. She has both a Facebook link (that cleverly opens in a second window, so people can still stay poking around her site as well; she has 83 supporters) and a Twitter feed (which she uses extensively and, at times, hilariously).

Facebook race aside
Three of the candidates have Facebook pages, and I think this deserves a comment of its own. Fernandez and Evers are doing it the right way, I think, in creating a political profile of which one can become a supporter; in having a basic profile page, Price muddies the waters -- some, at least, of his listed friends are out-of-staters who won't have an impact on the DPI race. I'm at least able to gauge the actual level of support Fernandez and Evers have -- much less so with Price. I'd like to see him change that.

Update: Kudos are in order for Mr Mobley, who I now see has heavily revamped the site, adding some pictures (I think they should be more education-y, though) and audio, which is pretty good. And the dropdown menus are nice!

Stop Checkpoints

A bandwagon I wouldn't mind hopping on - back in Wisconsin.

Finn's Wake

A thorny little problem.  What would you advise?


Blagojevich goes down.


Guess the variable in this one:

it's related to this:

Answer for the first one, link to second

Not much of a surprise other than Alaska, Utah probably gives it away.

Good News in the CBD

The Plaza Tower is inching back toward life - you know, the big, rather unattractive skyscraper. 

It seems strange that a real estate rebirth would kick off now, of all times , but it's exciting to see that some private sources of capital out there are looking for and seizing opportunities in the midst of the downturn.

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine."

Megan McArdle succeeds in pinpointing what's eating newspapers:

...for a long, long time, articles on swinging into spring with patent leather have been subsidizing coverage of less-popular-yet-more-vital topics like foreign policy and the Department of Agriculture. The web is rapidly disaggregating the readers, and hence the subsidy. And that's a big problem for society. One for which so far, no one has proposed any very satisfactory solution.

Other observers are foolishly cheering the fall of large newspapers.  While there are some positive developments accompanying the rise of "new media," those who trumpet the death of large national newspapers go a bit too far.  Kyle Szarzynski, for example, got out his pom pons and danced around the pyre:

The newspaper titans, after all, are the great purveyors of state propaganda, cultural hegemony and an arrogance that deserves to be destroyed. And it’s gotten worse. There was once a time when The New York Review of Books could find room for its token lefties like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal. Now, opinions in the mainstream media to the left of the Democratic Party are about as scarce as students on this campus who care about Associated Students of Madison’s efforts toward “reform.”

Newspapers are really the extensions of a few giant corporations that have interests in all areas of the economy. It’s inevitable that their viewpoints are going to reflect those of the elite, and this explains the conformity of opinion on its pages.

Oh.  Well, the great purveyors also erected an edifice or two that actually has the resources to function as a check on government.  As McArdle points out, when those major journalistic structures are weakened by the divergence between fluff and substantive journalistic content, the substantive content will suffer most.  And that limits our ability to self-govern.  While bloggers and other online new media sources can serve a critical watchdog role, they do not fully replace the resources and heft of a traditional investigate newsroom.

The "Do-Nothings"



Hip to be Square

A new leader in the Assembly?

I know that it is only two press releases, but Rep. Roger Roth (R-56) from the Appleton - Grand Chute area is providing some leadership when other Republicans are silent:

“I voted for AB-1 because having established goals for government to purchase products and services in Wisconsin is a good idea. At the end of the day though, none of the Bills that we passed today do anything to create or sustain jobs here in the State. It is my hope that we take up meaningful legislation to actually help struggling Wisconsin businesses in the weeks ahead.”

We can all agree that purchasing Wisconsin goods first is at least symbolically the right thing to do, but it is extremely refreshing to see someone in the legislature say that we need to get down to the tough job of actually helping the economy, not just making us feel good.

Roth also made a great point about creating on oversight committee for the federal stimulus money:

"We should not look to the federal funds as filler for our current deficit. The funds are to create new jobs and encourage development, we need to know this is how the funds are to be invested.”

Absolutely. Too many Democrats in the legislature - and Governor Doyle - see the federal money as a get out of jail free card for the budget. Roth doesn't say it in his press release, but the reason no one in leadership wants an oversight committee is that they don't want to make any tough choices and they want to use the money to plug the giant whole in our budget.

I hope that Roth continues this pattern, and I hope that others follow his lead.

Neumann for Governor?

This is very interesting. It seems to have been a foregone conclusion that Scott Walker was going to be the GOP nominee for governor for at least the last year, but this could make things very interesting.

Neumann was an excellent congressman and nearly defeated Russ Feingold for senate in 1998. He has all the conservative cred of the 1994 Republican Revolution and none of the baggage from the Bush era. The fact that he has been out of the public spotlight for almost 10 years would be an issue, but how bad would it really hurt him? After all, he has no responsibility for the current state of affairs, yet he was in congress the last time we went from a deficit to a surplus.

I know that this is a trial balloon and he faces an uphill climb against Scott Walker, but having two solid, intelligent conservatives battling for the gubernatorial nomination wouldn't be a bad thing for the party.

The Stimulus Package is Up for a Vote Today

With interest payments for the debt service, it's tipping the scales at over $1 trillion.

Other broad reasons:

1.  It doesn't rely on individuals to employ their own creativity and initiative to find ways out of the current economic crisis that will provide a more stable, long-term, well-rooted economic recovery.

2.  The bill is being passed too quickly without adequate debate or scrutiny or fine tuning.  President Obama is also seemingly creating an emergency atmosphere (ADDED: Check) to try to ram the package through - while blocking Republican input - so he can take more credit for the pork that the bill will ladle out to many parties.

3.  The spending entailed is not focused on stimulating the economy as far as quickly jump starting the economy in the short-term.

4.  The massive spending promises to saddle my generation with a government racked by debt for decades down the road.

5.  The reason linked above: the deluge of federal spending in traditional state areas like education will radically alter our balance of federalism beyond even Bush's missteps in that direction.

"The most basic Bush numbers are damning."


In his own retrospective, Nick Gillespie gives George W. Bush an empirical dressing down.



Bayou Road

Thoughts on Obama's Arab TV Interview?

I've been discussing Obama's surprise move throughout the day.

As I noted on Twitter earlier, I think this bold move certainly has the prospect of backfiring.  For one, it falls into the trap of reinforcing or reigniting the Muslim rumors from the campaign (even if without justification).  As his first interview as President, it does seem like odd timing - why not hold off a week or two at least?  Why not slip in an American interview first?

On the other hand, as one roommate hypothesized, he needed to do it now while he still has the political capital to do it under the mantle of a mandate (I responded that the move's timing will most certainly contribute to a diminution of political capital at home).  The timing does send a strong message to the Arab world.  While it didn't run first in the New York Times today, I think, in the long run, it will be seen as the most historic bit of news from today.  In a way, I see Obama pushing toward a "Nixon Goes to China" move that marries his unique personal positioning to a pressing U.S. foreign policy problem.  He's looking to toss out a game changer with parties in the region while appealing to his base back home by taking a wholly different approach than Bush.

But on the whole, that will take time to sink in.  In the immediate future, it's probably more problematic on the domestic front.  I also disagree with Obama's belief that the U.S. can make meaningful headway in resolving the eternal Arab-Israeli problem by involving itself.

Account of a Crime

A good friend of the blog sends his account from a harrowing incident in his NOLA neighborhood up near Bayou St. John over the weekend:

I was awakened at 5:30 Saturday morning by the door bell. Although I was half asleep and quite confused, I knew that the doorbell at 5:30 in the morning means that something is wrong. I got up and was heading downstairs as my dad was at the door checking to see who it was. I hear this woman screaming and crying on our doorstep. Then the word RAPE pierces through my confused, sleepy stupor and I'm alert and, to say the least, very startled. I come downstairs and my dad has let this woman in who just keeps screaming "He tried to rape me!" 

She is hysterically crying and sobbing. Eventually she calmed down enough so she could tell us what happened, at which point we called the police. She lives about two blocks away from my house in a basement apartment, where a masked man had gotten into her bedroom to presumably rape her. She said she awoke to this switching noise when she realized there was someone attempting to turn on her burnt out bedroom light. She yelled "Who are you? What are you doing here?" and when she didn't hear a response she said she knew she was in trouble. When he realized that she was awake and aware of his presence, she said he began to approach her with a blanket and was reaching for something in his pocket. She then bolted for a window to escape when he told her "You better not go for that window." Getting an incredible adrenaline rush, she burst through the window as he whiffed at her hair. She was all scraped up from the window ledge but then ran down the street screaming and banging on people's doors until she reached our house. 

I have to say that the way the police handled it was very frustrating and disappointing. The dispatcher called back to our house to tell us that the police were at her apartment and that they would be over to our house to check on her shortly. So we're waiting and then the dispatcher calls back and tells us that she needs to go back over to her apartment to meet the police. 

They want this attempted rape victim to walk back in the dark to the scene where she was almost raped thirty minutes ago!? What is that!? She's sick with fear and bruised and scraped up and probably needs medical attention. But my dad drove her back over to her apartment. She just walked back into the bedroom and immediately touched the light switch to indicate to the police what the intruder was doing--there went those fingerprints. She picked up a lamp that had fallen over and really just spoiled the crime scene until the cops finally told her not to touch anything else.

So my Saturday got off to a rocky start. The incident itself was startling and frightening and then the deficient police work made the already bad situation worse. The crime situation in this city is absurd. And I feel powerless to help the situation. I'd like to tangibly help, but what can a citizen or group of citizens effectively do? Marches and nights out against crime are great, but I don't see them having any effect.

I don't have any good answers off the top of my head.  Fortunately, it appears that the suspect in the matter has been apprehended.

Defense mounted

Over at Shadow Government, Phil Levy defends opponents of the stimulus plan:
Krugman says we should “write off anyone who asserts that it’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending.” I agree. I don’t know of any critics who are asserting that, but there must be some out there. Krugman dismisses them by arguing that air traffic control is useful. Again, I agree.

He then proceeds: “Meanwhile, it’s clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts.” For those who are not well-versed in the rules of classical rhetoric, the phrase “it’s clear that…” means “I am about to make an assertion that I strongly believe but would be very hard to prove.” In fact, there is a raging debate about whether tax cuts or public spending do more to revive a troubled economy.

The kicker:
It is also misleading to imply that one must favor either tax cuts or the proposed spending projects right now. I don’t believe that either holds the key to economic recovery. At the heart of our current crisis lie a downward spiral in the housing sector and a near collapse of our financial sector. There are plans that address these root causes, but they are likely to be expensive. Without such action, a fiscal boost is unlikely to save the day. With such action, a fiscal boost (beyond what is already in the works) may be unnecessary and unaffordable.

Tech-qualified lawyers - are you up to snuff?

In a tight job market, would you make the cut? 

Or...are the standards suggested actually useful for ferreting out Luddites?

To me, one of the important things overlooked in the discussion is triangulating the ability of an individual to adopt new technologies rapidly and proficiently once an office standard is made known.  Even if a candidate isn't familiar with a particular program or process, can he or she demonstrate widespread proficiency and experience with a variety of applications?  Can the person discuss creative adaptations or uses of technology to solve particular problems or achieve specific tasks in the past?

In my experience, I'm not proficient with some applications because I don't use them - like 'remember the milk' , for example (which comes up in the comments).  Still, I'm aware of the application and its uses.  I simply don't think it's worth using in my present situation - and I've adapted other technologies to address a number of the the functions of the program.

On Obama's "Organizing for America"

"What was a campaign becomes a big propaganda machine.  What proportion of the 13 million want to be on the receiving end of that?  And as for new media, how many of us new media outlets will passively pass along the talking points?  

My idea of new media is that we take the raw material and do something with it.  It needs to get out of the control of the one who's sent out the original message.  You can distribute your propaganda, but you can't organize it.  You can't organize us.  The internet is self-organizing, and we will see how it organizes itself.  It can't be according to the will of a President."

Ponoroff Under Consideration for Dean Post at William and Mary

From today's piece about the search for a new law dean in 'The Flat Hat,' a student newspaper at William and Mary:

Also listed is Lawrence Ponoroff, Dean of Tulane Law School and the Mitchell Franklin Professor of Private and Commercial Law. Ponoroff is an expert on bankruptcy and teaches courses at Tulane in business and commercial law. In 2005, Ponoroff was active in placing Tulane law students at other universities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and aided with the eventual reopening of the New Orleans campus.

Aside from his position at Tulane, Ponoroff chairs the American Bar Association’s Committee on Graduate Legal Education and is a member of a number of national legal organizations.

Oh Look

We found a Banksy.


Big Names to Visit Tulane Law

It appears that former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be visiting as part of a 5th Circuit panel hearing actual arguments at the law school:

Mark your calendars today for this year’s visit from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

A panel of judges including retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will hear three oral arguments at Tulane Law School.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
9:30 a.m.
Room 110
(The arguments will also be broadcast in Room 157 for those who do not get a seat in Room 110)

Additionally, it seems we have another high caliber speaker lined up for this year's McGlinchey lecture:

Judge Michael McConnell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit will present the 2008-2009 McGlinchey lecture on Monday, February 16, 5:00 pm, in Room 110.

A reception will follow in the Berkett Multipurpose Room. Judge McConnell’s lecture topic concerns the history surrounding a case arising from antebellum New Orleans, a case that he describes as the Supreme Court’s first decision regarding the free exercise of religion. Judge McConnell reportedly was on President Bush’s short list for the two most recent Supreme Court appointments, and he is a well-respected authority on the relationship between the Constitution and religion.

Unlike last year - when my blog coverage as a 1L yielded the cryptic "McGlinchey observer comment" - I think I'll refrain from attempting to live blog this one.

Movin' on up

I was pretty crushed when WSUM moved out of its State St HQ -- it was such a perfect location, especially with the window overlooking the street -- and its new location is the epitome of soulless corporatism that seems to be taking over the center of Madison. But Isthmus gives us a look inside their new studios, and it sounds pretty darn good:
Volunteer DJs at the controls in Studio A can look through a soundproof window into Studio B, a room built to host live performances.
My tour didn't end at Studio B. Further north along a hallway, we peeked in on two production studios. We looked at the sleek, if not yet fully assembled, office space for Black and student staff. We visited the music library and the newsroom.

It's a stunning facility that squashes the idea of student radio as a low-budget broadcast underdog.

Years ago, college radio was the stuff of dorm basements and a handful of dedicated student engineers. Now, UW-Madison is arguably the keeper of the most technically advanced radio studio in Dane County.

I don't listen to the Snake on the Lake as much as I used to, or as much as I probably should, but I really do hope they put that new Studio B to good use, and soon. With so much good music bubbling up in Madison, and so many more great bands swinging through town, the opportunity is certainly there.

Behold now Behemoth

Dig into the innards of the proposed Obama stimulus. (ht/LL)

Ready to Roll

Here's the 2009 Mardi Gras Parade Schedule for the greater New Orleans area.

I can't wait! My first Mardi Gras last year vastly exceeded my expectations.


Via Andrew Sullivan, I notice Matt Yglesias listing some of the ridiculous Republican talking points about Gitmo:
* The fact that the Bush administration has let dangerous terrorists go free means Obama should keep innocent people detained.
* The fact that the Bush administration screwed up the paperwork on detainees shows that there was more wisdom to Bush’s policies than Obama acknowledged on the campaign trail.
* Obama’s promise of change was empty and hypocritical because it will take time to implement his executive orders.
* The “Guantanamo” issue is primarily about the physical location of the facility rather than the legal status or treatment of the detainees.
* Since many liberals live in San Francisco, anyone who thinks it would be ill-advised to transfer prisoners to a museum in the San Francisco Bay that hasn’t been a prison for decades is a hypocrite.

Apparently, when Republicans vow opposition, it ends up being either largely symbolic, or completely incoherent defenses of Bush policies.

This illustrates the overarching problem the GOP is facing right now: the party is bankrupt of ideas. It doesn't know how to move forward,, it can't agree on which way is forward, and it has no vision for what the future will look like. There will, no doubt, be plenty that the Republicans should rightfully oppose, but if they aren't laying out some kind of overarching plan, it really means nothing.

Perhaps more problematic, the GOP's front trenches have been largely overrun; and their fallback position has been largely obliterated by badly-aimed shelling from the late Republican guns: talk about "smaller government" and "accountability" mean virtually nothing after the Bush years. The party that systematically ignored its own prescriptions while in power can't claim to be going back to them now that they're out of power. As it lashes out to oppose what it can, the party is going to need to put together some coherent ideas on how to move forward.

When all you have is a hammer...

Today I had the pleasure of being able to watch This Week while having lunch here in Iraq. A quick side note, AFN (Armed Forces Network) is an amazing resource for us here, if for no other reason than the news channel, AFN News, has an amazing selection of shows that provides a great deal of diversity of opinion. Anyway, back to my point. During the panel discussion, George Will made an excellent point about the stimulus bill currently making its way through Congress. He said that "When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." When all we have left is spending policy, it seems as though every problem can be solved with it.

While it may seem a little simplistic, he hits the nail on the head. Paul Krugman, another panelist, pointed out that our monetary policy is essentially tapped out. Our interest rates really can't go lower and raising them would be catastrophic. Therefore the question becomes how do we stimulate with spending?

The theory is straightforward: direct spending on infrastructure creates jobs and has a stimulative effect. The problem is that infrastructure spending alone will not solve our crisis. At the same time as we try and stimulate the economy, we need to remove roadblocks to job creation such as onerous tax laws and bureaucratic regulations. If we do not ensure that we are creating an environment that is favorable to future entrepreneurship, then all the billions - indeed trillions - we spend will be wasted.

Unfortunately, removing these roadblocks does not have an immediate effect and we need an immediate impact. So how do we do that? Most economists - including Fed Chairman Bernanke and soon to be Secretary Geithner - believe direct investment by the government is the answer. My question, as has been the theme around here, is how much?

We see that much of the new $825 billion package has very little stimulative value. While aid money for colleges and local school districts may be important, what effect does it have on the economy? That money would be better spent funding public-private partnerships to develop new energy technologies than to simply subsidize tuition. Only a fraction of the stimulus bill is going towards actual infrastructure like roads, bridges, and power plants - critically needed ones, not frivolous pork. If spending really will have a stimulative effect, then let's do it in a responsible and disciplined manner. Now is not the time for pet projects and sacred cows.

According to the state Department of Workforce and Development, Wisconsin lost 62,600 jobs in 2008 - 33,600 in December alone. That type of loss is impossible to ignore and it demands action. The financial crisis has made all of this worse, because it is now harder to get the loans that many businesses would use to try and invest in rebuilding. The only entity with the ability to make those types of payments is now the federal government. It may be the only tool we have left right now.

But it is important to remember that not all spending is stimulative. If this is to work, we need to set aside other expansions in government spending. We cannot increase the size and scope of our welfare or entitlement systems. We cannot spend lavishly on projects that have little to no economic impact. Restraint must be a part of the plan.

If all we have left is a hammer, then let's focus on the walls falling down around us. The goal is to get our economic house stable again. The paint and trimmings will have to wait.


Music break

Exclusive Interview: A Visit to the Absinthe Museum of America

I ventured down into the French Quarter here in New Orleans recently to interview Stacy Sisson of the Absinthe Museum of America. The small, but fascinating museum is the only one of its kind in North America.

I recently tried the drink for the first time down in Pirate's Alley, so it was nice to flesh out my understanding of "the green fairy".

Check it out:

In the course of our brief interview, you'll learn a bit about the museum, the history of absinthe, the story of the ban, what absinthe is now legal in the U.S., and why you might want to refrain from burning your absinthe.

For a higher quality viewing, head here and select "watch in high quality" immediately below the screen.


(Full Disclosure: I was not compensated for this interview beyond free admission to the museum. I simply thought it would be interesting. And it was.)

Feingold's Overkill Response to the Blago Crisis

Looking to capitalize on public discontent with recent high profile gubernatorial senate appointments, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is pushing a constitutional amendment.

The proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution would bar governors of all states from appointing a senator when a vacancy occurs, mandating a special election instead.

While I see the good intentions that seem to animate his proposal, I strongly oppose his suggested amendment.

I think Feingold's reaction to public queasiness with the actions of Governors Blagojevich and Patterson is excessive. The decision about whether a state's governor or its people will decide who will fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate should be left to the citizens of individual states. The citizens of each state should determine in their respective state constitutions whether they want a gubernatorial appointment system or a special election system.

How could someone be against a mandatory special election process? Well, while technological changes have made if far easier to hold a special election rapidly following a vacancy, they will still take more time than a gubernatorial appointment. If citizens of a state believe they can generally trust their governors to refrain from Blagoesque-it's-Pearl-Harbor-and-they're-trying-to-hang-me lunacy and want an immediate replacement in representation, then I don't think we should amend our nation's Constitution to bar them from exercising that choice. Normally, governors will restrain their appointment behavior to a reasonable level to avoid damaging political consequences for themselves.

We do not need a constitutional amendment barring governors from making appointments in the event of Senate vacancies. We have a variety of state responses to the vacancy problem in the wake of the 17th Amendment barring state legislatures from appointing U.S. Senators. I think that's healthy, a great organic result of the laboratory of federalism.


"Anti-establishment" - ?

That's funny. I thought the Fairey portrait was one of the most pedestrian, lukewarm, acceptable, unoriginal works of art of the past several years. Like Obama's successful campaign, its success was born of a high degree of vacuousness.

Those thoughts were reinforced when I learned this (ht/PE).

I guess I'm more of a Wyeth guy when it comes to presenting the mundane in art. I prefer an artist who goes against the grain not by seeking shallow hipness, but by rejecting it.

More bad news for the Monster Truck Rally Industry

An announcer was killed last night here in Madison, the second death in a week.


Today, the Times-Picayune looks at murder in New Orleans in 2008.

Some of the statistics are staggering - especially the realization that such a high percentage of the 179 murders last year took place in daylight hours, with an eerie peak on the graph at high noon.

Looking at the first link, though, one sees that the probabilities of being murdered are rather confined to a specific subset of people in the city. If you are black, male, between the ages of 18 and 25, and involved in drugs, you might want to stay inside over the lunch hour.

The numbers tend to back up the general sentiment of detachment that I've gradually discerned from many natives of the city: sure, we have an incredibly high per capita murder rate, but don't really worry too much. Just stay out of the wrong neighborhoods...and, really, look who's getting murdered.

That's true, to some extent, but murder is still a problem. It's a big problem. Tourists, for one, such a lifeblood of the city, are still scarce enough due to lingering (and often incorrect) Katrina devastation conceptions that a mention of high crime can easily sink the prospect of a visit. For those of us who live here, it's really unacceptable to have to live with the constant tinge of fear, to have entire swaths of the city closed off to visiting, living, and even transiting.

On Friday, I headed down with a friend on a little photo expedition of sorts in the 7th Ward around St. Bernard Avenue (one old roommate would've probably yelled at me).

I must say, the decayed surroundings simply aren't conducive to good conduct - burnt out shells of houses, abandoned storefronts blown open and piled high with refuse, vine-covered half-vacant lots, destroyed vehicles, dead trees, boarded over homes, concertina wire atop fences, tarped roofs, roaming animals, third worldish streets. There are some bright spots, but they are woefully few in number.

DA Cannizzarro seems to recognize the problem he faces, but addressing the problem is about more than convictions, more than just the DA and his office. It's about people taking responsibility for their properties, for their neighborhoods, for their political leadership, and for their families. It's about being as brazen in our discussion and confrontation of murder, crime, and blight-ridden neighborhoods as the criminals that are gunning victims down at mid-day.


Blue Light Special

The Icelandic Government Falls

"On Thursday, police used teargas on demonstrators for the first time since protests against the North Atlantic island's entry into the NATO alliance in 1949."

Gylfi forwarded this video of the latest Reykjavik protests that finally pushed the prime minister over the edge.

Time to Carp About TARP

Turn on the broken record player, my friend...that's right: we're talking bailouts.

The other day, Nick Schweitzer laid out a critique of Rep. Paul Ryan's bailout stances along lines of my earlier observations.

Nevertheless, regardless of any perceived inconsistencies, it was good to see that Ryan was clear in his opposition to spending the second half of the TARP funds. I think he's now cognizant of the discontent with support for bailouts.

Still...it was Ryan's vote back in the fall that mattered. As Nick hinted, the structure of the TARP authorization legislation provided for the automatic release of the second half of the funds unless both houses of Congress blocked it. Nick speculated that President Obama would veto a bicameral blocking vote - and thereby emasculating the House vote and releasing the funds anyway. But that's not the chief consideration.

Obama doesn't even have to get involved. Since the Senate failed to vote to block the TARP dispersal earlier, the House vote on Thursday was entirely symbolic:

The money will be released, nonetheless, because the Senate last week voted not to block the funds. That vote deprived the House's decision of any legal weight since the funds could only be blocked by a vote of both chambers of Congress.

Wily move, Congress, wily move. Smells like a base closing to me.

As one of my roommates noted, since the problem with the first half of TARP most observers cite is the failure to have a big enough one-time "cash explosion" hit the economy, why, if we stipulate that the government is going to spend the money (and I rather it didn't), doesn't it hold off on releasing the second half of TARP?

Why not roll the second half of TARP into the overall Obama Stimulus instead of trickling it out in the middle with little chance of effect based on what we've seen with the first half? The second half seems to have no guarantee of success alone, but it might have a marginally better chance of impact as part of a comprehensive lightning bolt to the nervous system (although, trust me, I question whether any bailout/stimulus actually has any guarantee of efficacy whatseover).



So that's why

I've been on about Russia pushing to control oil flow to Europe. Now there's an excellent explanation for the most recent battle with Ukraine:
The War was instigated by Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who decided that the time was ripe to discredit Ukraine in the eyes of European leaders by launching a huge public relations and disinformation campaign to convince the EU that Ukraine was an “unreliable transit country.” By turning off the gas spigot to Europe on January7 and blaming this on the Ukrainians, Moscow began systematically blackmailing Europe into supporting Russia’s plans to build the North Stream and South Stream pipelines. This argument became the central theme at press conferences by Putin and Deputy CEO of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev during the Gas War (see www.gazpromukrainefacts.com, the Gazprom website designed to discredit Ukraine).

Style, substance

The music wasn't real:
“Truly, weather just made it impossible,” Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said on Thursday. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli,” Ms. Florman added, referring to the pop band that was stripped of a 1989 Grammy because the duo did not sing on their album and lip-synched in concerts.

Of course, there are explanations. But the gay guy got cut, and the press seems to be given only the illusion of access.

One wonders what else is veneer.

Obama's Disconcerting Disdain for the Press

I noticed a trend in this direction by candidate Obama - a tendency to laugh and joke dismissively when the media presented him with a tough substantive question. How can such a public figure feign incredulity at any legitimate question directed at him?

Unfortunately, it seems like President Obama plans to continue the trend.

I also found this little spat with the AP over the oath re-do a telling sign.

To Be Mulled: Geithner and China

"It's huge."

Indeed, Tim Geithner's allusions to a more hard-nosed policy toward China's currency policies by the Obama administration will make waves.

I think it's important for our Executive to demonstrate a more clear-eyed, undistracted approach to our overall national stance on China than was displayed by the Bush administration. We simply need to let the Chinese leadership know that we are paying attention, that we're not stupid or naive about the bilateral relationship, and that we will match Chinese moves on any front. I think a more realpolitik approach will keep a better, more repsectful balance between the two powers. However, it is important to balance that steeliness with recognition of the unique circumstances of the global financial crisis.

Floating the yuan and making Chinese exports more expensive, and therefore less attractive to U.S. customers, would seem to further the Obama interest in rebuilding U.S. industry, retaining or creating U.S. jobs, etc. It would also work toward reversing the enormous trade deficit imbalance between the U.S. and China that has developed over decades.

But can it be done overnight? How much destabilization will result internally in China and how much can it handle? And in the meantime, how much will the price of various consumer goods increase here in the U.S. (and is that permissible without an inflation problem at present)? And will it upset the applecart with China - a key debt holder and rising power.

In some respects, in the short term, I think it might be wiser to signal our "waking up" to China via military - or even space race - symbolism and trade/development overtures to Third World intermediary nations rather than through direct, immediate, punitive actions in the finance, trade, and economic arenas. The latter problems should be dealt with - but I think the current world economic crisis requires tact in addressing them. And by pursuing the alternatives I mentioned, I think we gain a stronger place from which to push for direct currency and trade changes with China.

(ht/CPB, DJ)


"You're a crisis, you're an icicle, you're a tongueless talker..."

1 2 3

The old St. Vincent Infant Asylum.

Bloom. Bee. Bound. Bark.

Difficult to find, easy to quaff.

Wisconsin in the news

-Trials for Parents Who Choose Faith Over Medicine

-Wisconsin Schools Hit by Crisis--one of the school districts, Kenosha Unified, is in my home area. It came out a few months ago that they and three other WI school districts had gotten together and bought $200 million worth of collateralized debt two years ago that's now lost nearly all of it's value.


TLS - Not Above Above The Law


The worst part? Someone is using the combination of Facebook and Above the Law to carry out petty, personal vindictiveness. And like the use of an H-bomb when a slingshot is called for, everyone gets hurt.


Obama re-takes the oath.


Two Footprints: The LSU-VA Hospital Debate Continues

While the preservationist opposition to plans for major redevelopment of Lower Mid City haven't really gained a meaningful foothold, the opposition certainly hasn't subsided.

Here are two footprints (via NOLA.com), the first is the official one and the second is the opposition alternative:

To me, the first footprint for the joint hospitals simply takes up too much land. And, if you look at this version of that first footprint (via Karen Gadbois), you see just how much of it is parking lot - which would really be a rather shameful use of the land given the costs to acquire and use it:

It would cause far greater displacement of current residents and businesses, but the corresponding benefit would not be all that much greater since other options exist, like use of Charity (although there are some facility and staff-sharing arguments that would have to be overcome).

Also relevant is LSU's uncertainty about whether it will be able to proceed with its half - and its intent to push the Obama administration for the full restoration value of Charity. Those factors should militate toward holding off for the moment, making sure this grandiose project is done right - before people are forced out of their homes - even with compensation - for the sake of economic development.

I'm very happy to see, though, that the historic Dixie Brewery appears to be safe even if the first footprint is the one that ultimately controls the development.


Aguirre: Wrath of God

In a few days, the Eldorado Expedition went into the patient wilderness, that closed upon it as the sea closes over a diver. Long afterward the news came that all the donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved. I did not inquire. (Heart of Darkness)

It throws one a bit, to hear conquistadors slashing their way through the heart of the Andes speaking German. And there is an eeriness to the fact that the countenance of Aguirre more resembles that of a Visigoth in more humid climes than anything else. But Werner Herzog's fantastical Aguirre: the Wrath of God is the opposite of a blitzkrieg, and it is no sacking.

Indeed, like the character of Aguirre himself, many of the themes of the movie flit along its edges: the overturning of ancient civilizations is there more in the audience's historical understanding than it is depicted; the connivance of the Church of Rome is merely glanced at; the inner defect that drives men to greed and murder and betrayal.

The focus, as with many of Herzog's films, is on the quest itself -- the journey through an impossible jungle, over an unknown river. And this Herzog creates masterfully, pushing the movie at an almost unbearably slow pace, with often shaky cameras that come uncomfortably close to their subjects or pull strangely away. There is often a hallucinatory feel to the film (reminiscent, perhaps, of Jean Giono's The Horseman on the Roof), and a claustrophobia in which it is impossible to trust anyone, from the unknown Indians the party meets to the other members of the expedition itself. Nor is there any real understanding of the characters -- there is no introspection, no attempt at an explanation, a defense of the ideals that might drive these men and women onwards, ever deeper into the hostile unknown. There is only the force of a few personalities, blundering against the fast force of nature. There is only the quest itself.

The end is hardly a surprise -- it is the only end possible, Herzog seems to suggest. But it hardly matters. For Herzog, there is only the journey.

To Anwer Your Question

Yes, Obama did sound like Bush yesterday.

Like any president from the past four decades, really, especially the two most recent decades. In reaching for overarching, unifying, national language, it's almost inescapable, I feel.

I caught the Daily Show spot last night, and I give Stewart and friends credit for having the chutzpah to make the uncomfortable suggestion of similarity on inauguration day:

One additional question: did you buy Obama's tough talk on terrorism? During the campaign, I felt Obama's brimstone rhetoric relating to terrorists was somewhat forced, calculated. What about yesterday? While he didn't really address Iraq directly at all, he proclaimed the unique, if oblique, "message to the Muslim world" - that was constructive.

But after extending a hand, the other hand showed up with a mallet. And proceeded with a rhetorical beat down of terrorists. Did you buy it? Or did it sound like hollow points-gaining talk coming from President Obama? If it seemed natural, did Obama gain some additional cred with regard to talking tough simply by assuming the role of president?

Speaking of passing the bar...

"Wisconsin now has the most permissive standards for admitting out-of-state attorneys to the bar in the United States."
I must say, as a prospective attorney who may take the bar elsewhere first, it's nice to know it won't be too difficult to go home if I want to at some point.
Under the new rule, an attorney can be admitted to practice if he has been substantially engaged in the active practice of law in any state for three years within the last five years prior to applying for admission.


Politico provides seven solid reasons to unholster your skepticism of the President, the federal government.

A Most Rare Beast - The Unified Bar Exam

Could it be the Jabberwocky that burbles on toward thee?

Nay, sheath thy vorpal sword, my friend.

'Tis but the manxome UBE.

Leroy's Place

Out between Jefferson Highway and the River, there's a place back behind the waterworks. It's called Leroy's Place.

Wait...let's take a closer look at those painted rules...

I guess I'm too young to check it out.

Lakeshore Laments Returns

Aaaaaannnnnd, they're back.

An old warhorse in Wisco blogging circles, Kevin returns with the third incarnation of Lakeshore Laments.

Now operating out of DC, it was one of the handful of blogs that inspired me to get into blogging.