Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Resuming Elsewhere

Been a while. This blog is going to be revived -- but at a new location. I'm on TypePad now, at plainsman.typepad.com. Future posts will be found there.

"Aren't you even going to finish your rundown of the last Federalist Society convention [see infra]? That fragment's been hanging in space for the better part of a year, man!"

Nope. Lost the thread. But I'm going to this year's convention too, and I hope to do a more diligent job of coverage.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

The Federalist Society Lawyers Convention (III): Day Two Recap

[My apologies for not being able to post this installment yesterday. I had a limited posting window of a few hours Saturday morning before checking out of my room, and I couldn't get a working Internet connection. -- P.]

Friday morning: A coffee-laden breakfast dispatches the residual head-haziness from last night's fun. Today's program offers a lot of different panels that strike me as about equally interesting. I'll have to make some judgment calls. Robert Bork's lecture in the evening will, of course, be the snazz event of the day.

9:30 a.m.: I arrive, late, to the panel on Political Ideology in the Legal Academy. That's a sexy topic, by legal standards, so my having entered mid-stream probably explains why I find the discussion a little disappointing. Prof. Jonathan Turley (who seems to appear on at least one panel at any legal event held anywhere) condemns the poiticization of legal scholarship as contrary to the professional ideals of the academy. He particularly condemns the recent tendency of law professors to flock in hundreds to sign their names to "open letters" in the press that contentiously endorse a particular view on disputed and politically sensitive legal issues such as presidential impeachment or Bush v. Gore. It is, Turley argues, an attempt to bully public opinion by sheer force of numbers, as if this conferred a reasoned authority on the professors' pronouncements.

Several panelists echo Turley's criticisms of the "open letters" phenomenon. Yale professor Bruce Ackerman receives criticism for (in the view of some of the panelists) leaping into the fray with constitutional views that seem to fit the political exigencies of the moment. Columnist Stuart Taylor agrees that the "letters" are a bad and unscholarly phenomenon. Even Georgetown professor Mark Tushnet (a once and future Crit) agrees, noting that he refused to sign the impeachment letter.

As I said, I picked up the thread late in this panel, so you're getting fragments. There's a nice blogosphere moment: in the Q&A, rarely seen Volokh Conspirator Prof. Michelle Boardman steps up from the audience to ask a question, which she prefaces by saying, "I'm a newly appointed law professor; I'm right-leaning, Protestant, and female. Statistically, I don't exist." (I think this was a reference to Northwestern prof James Lindgren's research on the diversity of the legal academy. As I recall, Republicans, Catholics, and Hispanics are the most statistically underrepresented major groups on law faculties, but the intersection of two categories -- Republicans and women -- produces the most overwhelming statistical gap of all. Republican women are something like fifteen percent of the national population; only 0.5% of law professors.) Boardman notes that she teaches contracts and insurance and asks the panel if there is a connection is between the absence of conservatives in the legal academy, and the demand for particular legal specialties. The panelists agree that it is much harder to get a job teaching constitutional law than business law, and regret that everyone is so keen to teach con law. No particular answer emerged on the question, interesting to me, whether there is a degree of ideological resistance to hiring conservatives in con law, international law, and similar public law subjects that is absent or weaker in other subjects. (Professor Bainbridge and other bloggers examined these issues at considerable length several weeks ago.)

11:00 a.m.: Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao delivers a brief address. She is introduced by Fed Soc director, former Congressman, and Mayer Brown partner David McIntosh, who points out that Chao was the first labor secretary in 30 years to successfully invoke the Taft-Hartley Act to end a labor dispute (last year's West Coast shipping lockout). He praises her for having successfully urged Congress to repeal controversial Clinton-era workplace ergonomics regulations. Chao gets a lot of applause from the crowd. Since I duly described some of the male participants in yesterday's international law panels as "suave," I feel justified in describing Sec. Chao as "elegant."

Chao begins by praising the Federalist Society for its practice of including diverse viewpoints on its panels. She notes that the Department of Labor now includes more Society members than any other cabinet department save the DOJ. That was news to me. Chao delivers her address with the aid of an electronic prompter, and it is fair to say that her delivery is somewhat stilted. She discusses the new Labor regulations -- just finalized this week -- that impose heightened financial reporting requirements on American labor unions. She expresses strong approval of the Fed Soc's new joint venture with AEI, "NGO Watch." It will compile and report data on the activities and supporters of prominent non-govermental organizations. Chao says it will benefit all Americans by making the actions of NGOs more transparent. She finishes to applause. We are told she must leave without taking questions. I head up to my hotel room.

12:10 p.m.: "Are you having a good time?" a federal judge asks me as I step onto the elevator. I tell him that indeed I am; it's my first convention. We shake hands and exchange some pleasantries on the way down to the lobby.

12:15 p.m.: I meet an old college buddy for lunch. He's now an appellate litigator here in DC. We step down the street to a nice Italian place and talk for an hour about law, politics, the Court, and our hometowns.

1:45 p.m.: I decide to bag Ken Starr and the campaign finance/BCRA panel in order to sit in on the Corporate and Securities panel, entitled "Ups and Downs on Wall Street." Is this because Judge Kozinski is moderating the latter panel, and I have just learned that he issued a major Commerce Clause decision yesterday in United States v. Stewart? Hard to say. "Welcome to the panel on Wall Street and stuff like that," Judge Kozinski begins.

There's a decent crowd for this discussion. The big topics are (1) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with its heightened regulatory requirements for corporate directors, accountants, and lawyers; and (2) the new SEC proxy rules that make it a little easier for shareholders to get their own director candidates onto the ballot.

On the first heading, several panelists, including Illinois prof Richard Painter and SEC Corporation Finance honcho Alan Beller, point out that lawyers need to pay mind to the integrity and credibility of their methods of self-regulation as a profession, lest the federal government step in. The accounting profession provides a warning example for us. In the wake of Enron and similar scandals, "self-regulation of accountants is dead," as Mr. Beller bluntly puts it. The SEC has taken over.

Service Employees International Union president Andrew Stern takes the lead in discussing the new proxy rules. He thinks they are a step in the right direction: they allow institutional investors (like his union's pension fund) to exercise more control over the corporations that they partially own as shareholders. Stern is an impressive speaker, and his pro-capitalism arguments for liberalizing proxy rules reflect an interesting angle. (Prof. Painter directs a sally at him: "How about federal Sarbanes-Oxley certification requirements for unions?" There's a ripple of applause.) In fact, Stern expresses concern about the new Labor Department financial reporting regs for unions; he thinks they're pointlessly burdensome. A lot of the Q&A is directed at Stern. People bring up evidence of union corruption in defense of the new reporting requirements, and criticize mandatory union dues as a violation of individual liberties. It is evident that many people here are not big fans of unions or their leaders.

3:45 p.m.: The Environmental Law practice group holds a panel on "Constitutional Limitations on Federal Environmental Protection." This topic is important. The revival of the Commerce Clause in Lopez and Morrison raises the question of how the decisions may impact the ESA, CWA, and some other major federal environmental statutes. Judge David Sentelle, who is no stranger to these issues, moderates the discussion with a drawl and a firm hand.

NRO regular Prof. Jonathan Adler argues that the Constitution imposes real federalism limits on Congress, and these should be obeyed in environmental law cases, as elsewhere. Saying the federal government can't do something doesn't mean it isn't important, Adler argues, nor that it won't be addressed. Professor John Eastman concurs, and quickly runs down the list of Commerce Clause decisions supporting this view: Lopez, Morrison, Solid Waste Agency (itself a Clean Water Act case), last year's 4-4 tie in Borden Ranch. He also defends the application of federalist principles to environmental law on policy grounds. Local control ensures that the costs and benefits of regulations are borne by those who create them.

[. . .]

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Friday, November 14, 2003

Semi-Live From the Federalist Society Lawyers Convention (II): Day One recap

Hello! Wednesday night I wrote: "I plan to take notes during the day and write up the interesting bits at night." That plan seemed less attractive when I returned to my hotel room at midnight yesterday after conviving at the hotel bar. Instead, I'm up with the dawn today to run down Thursday's opening events.

8:30 a.m.: Registration. I spot several friends and ex-colleagues milling around. Also recognize (by name tag) a couple of the Ex Parte guys from Harvard Law School.

9 a.m.: U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson gives the opening address to a packed crowd of navy and gray suits in the Grand Ballroom. You will be shocked to learn that the nation's top appellate advocate is, in fact, a confident and engaging public speaker. He leads off by joking that his appearance before the Society today will make it impossible for him to be confirmed by the Senate to an appointed position. The crowd laughs; Olson will make at least two more confirmation-related jokes in the course of his brief speech. Turning to the convention's theme of international law and U.S. sovereignty, Olson runs down the issues in some of the juicier foreign-related cases pending on cert before the Supreme Court, including cases from the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere that have given a broad interpretation to the 18th-century Alien Tort Claims Act. Then he returns to confirmations. He notes that even as he speaks, the Senate is in the middle of a marathon session prompted by the judicial filibusters. Olson states that he holds the whole Senate responsible for its failure to act on nominations. He opines (here as elsewhere, I am drawing on my notes to recall his remarks) that if current trends continue, nobody who is brilliant and qualified, but who is seriously conservative or seriously liberal, will be able to be confirmed as a judge anymore. And with that, he turns us loose, saying: "Start your engines."

Olson will be spotted, Waldo-like, at convention events throughout the day.

9:30 a.m.: Cool scholarly panel on "Customary International Law And Judicial Activism." Two themes dominate: (1) the legacy of the Second Circuit's decision in Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, 630 F.2d 876 (1980), which held that the Alien Tort Claims statute created federal court jurisdiction over private claims for violations of customary international law (CIL); and (2) the Supreme Court's use of evidence of international law and custom in blockbuster constitutional cases like Atkins v. Virginia (2002) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The next issue on the horizon is likely to be the juvenile death penalty. Assistant US AG (and former UVA law prof) Jack Goldsmith argues that Filartiga changed the game by allowing courts to use much less demanding standards to identify "customary" international norms, looking to unratified treaties, UN General Assembly resolutions, law review articles, and the like. He is frank in expressing his hope that the federal courts have begun to pare back "this nonsense." Columbia prof Lori Damrosch then holds up the pro-CIL side, noting that the "law of nations" is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, and that Jay and other Framers approved a role for U.S. federal courts in applying the law of diplomacy, admiralty, and the like. That should matter to a group of originalists like the Society's members, Damrosch suggests. UVA prof Curtis Bradley argues that, inter alia, customary international law is not binding federal law ("law of the United States"), either for judicial purposes or for pre-emption purposes. Neither Article III not the Supremacy Clause makes reference to the "law of nations," which was well known to the Framers. Only "treaties" -- i.e., explicit law -- are mentioned there. The reference to the "law of nations" occurs in Article I, setting out Congress's power, not the courts'. Suave, German-accented NYU prof Matthias Kumm argues that even if CIL is not treated as a direct source of enforceable norms, it may be useful as persuasive authority to courts construing the U.S. Constitution. He suggests that it may be "pragmatic" for U.S. Courts to dialogue with foreign courts in this way; it will make the foreign courts more likely to adopt exemplary U.S. norms in return.

Then Judge Frank Easterbrook delivers his thoughts on the subject. He is, shall we say, anti-CIL. "Custom, unless there's a command behind it, is not law. If there's a command behind it, we call it a statute." The only ways to make international norms binding on federal and state governments are through the Treaty power, and through the "define and punish" (law of nations) clause of Article I.

In the Q&A, Prof. Kumm agrees with Easterbrook that if originalism is correct, it is very hard to justify the use of CIL to guide constitutional interpretation, as Kumm proposes. Later, responding to a question about the role of scholars in identifying international law norms, Easterbrook says (cheekily, I think) that he finds the work of contemporary scholars useful when he confronts questions of international law, "just as I find the work of the Ninth Circuit useful when I confront questions of domestic law. I read what they suggest and then do the opposite."

11:00 a.m.: Milling around, people-watching. This is a majority male crowd, but I'm both pleased and impressed by the number of women present. I am constrained to observe that Federalist Society women are better-looking, on average, than FS men (who are normally distributed about the mean). This should not surprise; it's a characteristic of U.S. lawyerdom generally. I noticed it in law school too.

11:15 a.m.: Under Secretary of State John Bolton, who has a prominent white mustache, gives a vigorous address defending the international legitimacy of the United States' recent uses of force in Iraq and elsewhere. He contends (contra UN Sec'y Gen. Kofi Annan) that U.S. constitutional procedures themselves are sufficient to confer legitimacy on the use of American force in Iraq. Bolton also discusses the International Criminal Court (ICC). He defends the Bush administration's policy of negotiating "non-surrender" (or "Article 98") agreements with dozens of countries to protect U.S. personnel from the purported jurisidiction of the ICC. He notes that the US is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC, and is no longer even a signatory, having "un-signed" the Statute early in the G.W. Bush presidency. Bolton criticizes the ICC as contrary to basic American values and constitutional principles such as popular sovereignty.

Lunch: Ended up at a table with some law students and some U.S. government attorneys here in DC. Pleasant chit-chat. One fellow asks me about some of my former experiences as a federal law clerk. Catering: standard convention food; roast beef, etc. Not bad.

Milling around after lunch: Hey, I met Feddie (Steve Dillard)! This is my first blogosphere moment at the Convention. Steve is an extremely affable and bright guy with a Southern accent that I kind of envy. He introduces me to one of his former co-clerks; she is also a Federalist in good standing. To tell the truth, there seems to be a bit of a Judge Daniel A. Manion mafia present here. Steve and I are scheduled to have dinner Friday night, so more later.

3:30 p.m.: Another showcase panel, this one on "Unilateralism, Multilateralism and American Sovereign Interests," and another packed crowd. This was one spirited discussion. State Dept. legal advisor William Taft IV gives a calm overview of current U.S. policy; we see value in cooperation with multilateral organizations; we are willing to act whichever way (unilateral or multilateral) is most effective in a given situation. To which iconoclastic Cornell prof Jeremy Rabkin responds with a gleeful riff on how "international legitimacy" doesn't matter much in the real world. Iraqi guerillas seem just as happy to blow up UN personnel as US troops. Playing along with the UN rules doesn't win us anything more in the way of real, material aid from other nations than cutting our own deals with them does. Rabkin notes that the people who were rebuilding occupied Germany were the same people who created the nascent UN, but it never occurred to them to turn Germany over to the UN. "Occupation is serious business, and the UN is not serious."

Next up is Ambassador John Richardson, the European Commission's man in the UN. Richardson has a plausible, gracious manner and an Oxbridge accent. I had several reservations about Ambassador Richardson's remarks, but he deserves kudos for coming to talk to us, facing a not especially sympathetic crowd of U.S. legal conservatives. He argues that the US needs the international diplomatic system, if for no other reason than to set some rules and regulations for the global marketplace. He plays on the concept of "democracy" and argues that by flouting the will of the majority of the world's nations and inhabitants, the U.S. is acting contrary to democracy, and thus to its own principles. (Rabkin will retort that it makes sense to talk that way about the US itself, but not the world as a whole. We here in the US are "used to defending each other," even if we don't all agree on values.)

Columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is bedeviled by recurring microphone problems, then delivers an eloquent, grim series of remarks. He approves what he terms Rabkin's "skewering of the notion of international legitimacy." Returning repeatedly to the example of the UN's condemnations of Israel, which have often been opposed only by the US and Israel itself, Krauthammer argues that the US not only should not be ashamed of going it alone in the world -- it should be proud. (In case you didn't get the drift, Krauthammer will also respond to a question later by declaring the United Nations "institutionally corrupt" and "morally bankrupt.")

You know who I liked? Professor Ruth Wedgwood (Johns Hopkins; former Yale Law). A Fed Soc regular and old hand at the international relations biz, Wedgwood gave a frank and pragmatic defense of US involvement in the UN ("staying in the game," as she put it), while being clear about the limits of what we can hope to accomplish. Nations who act in multilateral organizations are usually pursuing their own simple (or complex) self-interest; we should accept this and seek what we can get. She spoke of the "happy state of strategic ambiguity between unilateralism and multilateralism" at the UN.

The most likeable thing about Wedgwood was the way her measured and down-to-earth take on international politics (or so it struck me) was interspersed with quintessentially professorial asides. She observed at one point that the UN/EU folks tend to prolong "talks" well past the point where they're likely to do any good. And if my notes are right, she made a quite unselfconscious quip about them trying "to drag people into some Habermasian ideal speech situation." Gotta love the Habermas references before a crowd of lawyers.

Early evening: In my hotel room working on some documents I brought from home. Still have to pay the bills.

8:30 or thereabouts: The Society's annual dinner in the mega-ballroom. Rumsfeld was originally scheduled to speak to us, but he bailed, so WH Chief of Staff Andrew Card filled the bill. This is where I make a confession: I missed the entire floor program, including Card's speech. I arrived after the appetizers. Folks I talked to later said Card's speech was workmanlike, but that he speaks very slowly. They said the content of the speech was pretty much sonorous boilerplate. And that's no surprise: actually, every speaker I've heard so far from the political branches of the government has stuck pretty closely to boilerplate. These people simply can't afford to say anything interesting. So you have to look to the academics, columnists, and life-tenured federal judges (sweet Article III!) to strike the sparks.

Seating at the dinner was fascinating. My assigned table was way off at the edge of the ballroom. They seemed to have grouped me with a bunch of young folks (i.e., my age) who all hailed from the same geographic region where I now work. The same federal Circuit, as it were. Lots of talk about state Republican politics, which I followed quietly, since it wasn't my State they were discussing. Elsewhere in the huge room, some friends of mine had a far superior view of the proceedings from the unofficial Kirkland & Ellis table.

I saw Gen. Olson and (I think) Judge Starr milling around at dinner. According to the program, Nino himself was also present with some of his (extensive) family. Didn't see the man myself, though.

10:00 p.m. - midnight: Attendees and luminaries repair to the Mayflower Hotel's bar. I had a very enjoyable time. Fell in with some friends from one of the big-city Fed Soc chapters and shot the breeze at length. Cigars were distributed (embrace the cliches! resistance is futile); beverages were imbibed.

Basically, all the propaganda they tell you about the Fed Soc is true. I was sitting there contentedly, iced Scotch in hand, when I suddenly realized that Judge Kozinski was lounging with a big crowd to my immediate right (he seemed to be distributing cigars to the masses), and Judge Easterbrook was holding forth at the table immediately behind me.

And then Ted Olson stepped by, en route from the bar.

See you tomorrow; I'm off to this morning's first session.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Semi-Live from the Federalist Society Lawyers Convention: prologue

I arrived late this afternoon in gray and temperate DC, after an annoying rail schlep from the BWI airport. The Mayflower lobby was not obviously swarming with legal conservatives.

Come the evening I strolled down K Street in search a bite to eat. As I don't think I've mentioned before, I spent a summer in Washington during law school, in which time I got to know this area fairly well. Downtown DC at night is like being indoors, especially when there's a ceiling of clouds overhead. It must be all those similar, squat 12-story buildings full of lawyers, bunched close together on either side of you.

So many lawyers here. I spot 'em walking the streets, with neat, inobstrusive hair styles, talking articulately in cell phones or just walking home silently with purse or briefcase in hand, and I think, I know you. A little, anyway.

This prompts a pair of conflicting reactions that I felt often when I worked here. On one hand, I could sit down randomly at a bar with one of these passing lawyers with a fair chance that a pleasant conversation would ensue. Heck, we might know some people in common, a fact that is striking when you consider its context: a continent-sized nation of 280,000,000 people. On the other hand, I carry around a hazy notion of the ideally structured society, derived from Burke, Tocqueville, Eliot, et al. -- and imperial DC, with its endless platoons of carpetbagging symbolic analysts flown in from hometowns around the country, plus vast tracts of urban blight, is far from embodying that ideal.

I probably prompt similar thoughts in others.

Anyway, I ended up at a bistro in a small hotel, where I sat alone, read, and had a virtually perfect roast chicken. Good wine list too; see footnote.

The convention starts tomorrow morning. Most of the big speeches and discussions on international law and foreign policy -- this year's themes -- are tomorrow. I plan to take notes during the day and write up the interesting bits at night. See you then.

[FN:] Splurged on wine at dinner when I saw the restaurant's list of snazzy half-bottles. My eye leapt to the 2000 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru. Weinbach is a favorite of mine: their whites tend to be more generous and extroverted than other primo Alsace producers (e.g., Trimbach). Dignified light gold color, dense, richly fruity, yet polished and essentially dry. Long clean finish. A wonderful dinner wine.

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Sunday, November 09, 2003

Canada Rocks! (Or: I'd Listen to Neko Case Sing Anything)

Everybody who cares probably already knows the score, but it must be said: the best record I've bought in the past couple of months is the New Pornographers' righteously catchy debut, Mass Romantic (2000). The follow-up, Electric Version (2003) isn't half-bad either.

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Superlative / comparative

The Chiefs are now 9 and 0. Unbelievable. I expect to hear Chiefs-related similes ("I'm blowing up like Dante Hall," "I'll run through your crew like my name was Priest Holmes") crop up in hip-hop singles in due course. This is only fair.

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A Whiff of Nostalgic Futurism

I'm back. E-mail access was surprisingly dodgy while I was away, hence no posting.

The trip will have to be judged professionally by its fruits, but it seemed reasonably successful. If nothing else, I picked up some spare non-iron dress shirts that will come in handy for my next trip later this week. (Hey, what did you think I wore? An excessive fear of cliched behavior bespeaks a morbid disposition.)

I caught a connection at one of those hub airports that has a fancy monorail connecting its far-flung concourses. The monorail is cool. The doors close softly, an accentless voice speaks its warning, and away you slide. It delivers a whiff of space-colony nostalgia, prompting thoughts of that sleek future that didn't quite arrive -- the same feeling a tourist gets walking around the Minneapolis Skyway.

I read the other day that no human being has ventured beyond Earth orbit in over 30 years. Not quite what one expected, is it?

Speaking of nostalgic futurism -- but here the knowing, ironic 1990s variety -- I was looking the other day for one of my Stereolab CDs but couldn't find it. I think it's in storage at the ancestral home.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Off On A Business Trip

Out of town until Sunday night. Not certain whether I'll be able to blog from the hotel, but I'll probably contrive to put up a post or two.

Do check out this post by Professor Fox at Philosophenweg on the apparent scarcity of communitarian sentiment in the blogosphere.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Straight From the Underground: Memphisbowlerpimp

Readers of this blog must get disoriented by its sometimes abrupt changes of topic and tone. (Last week, as you'll recall, I encouraged you to eat more eels.)

But you might surf over and check out the collected works of this random Amazon.com reviewer I found called "Memphisbowlerpimp." I was searching Amazon for classic rap LPs at lunch hour when I stumbled across his reviews. There are dozens of them. Here he analyzes A Tribe Called Quest's 1991 classic, The Low End Theory:

"Tribe was off the hook in the 90s and my buddy Kroll had this CD. It was bumpin so much we decided to start our own rap group. We were white and Vanilla Ice was taken so we went with the complete opposite and called ourselves Chocolate lava. We were the MCs with Kites on the wheels of steel. Our performing names were Drunk pumpkin(Kroll), MC Mexican Runza(me) and Mr. Prissypants(Kiteman). We had a pretty good following in Omaha with our style, which was like a chemical imbalance. We turned parties out with non stop energy and classic tracks like, "Got my SNK baseballs stars", "Food, the final frontier" and [scatological, silly]. We took tracks from the Big Band era and used them as samples. There's nothing like infusing some serious bass into the Glenn Miller Orchestra and rapping about farming. We were unique but the biz never caught on. [. . . ] We had the life. We wore huge gold rope chains, Pro wings without laces and wore scuba outfits with a kango hat. We danced good, but the flippers were kind of messed up. We had a posse with guys like Meat, Luka Dawg, Robeee, Fook, D Sashy, Mondy D, and Chessclub."

The quality is inconsistent, and there's a fair bit of scatology (which leaves me cold), but I still had a good laugh at this stuff.

Here's another record, Hall and Oates, Bigger Than the Both of Us:

"This album totally backs up my assertion that John Oates could've been bigger than the Beatles if he didn't have Hall to keep him chained down. Oates takes you on a Journey with this album that makes you think of great performances of all genres. He is a master at his craft like Boogaloo Shrimp was in the Breakin' series. Hall brings the CD down with his whiny voice and angry cat stylistics. Oates rescues things by dropping bombs that no one in the 70s could compete with. He takes over the game like Jordan. I remember meeting Oates in 76 after this record came out and I told him then what I'm telling you now, "Herman's Hermits laid the road, you just need to stop at the traffic signals if you catch where the wind is coming from". Oates totally understood because he's freaking Oates, man. So if you want to hear Oates before hall took over the ship, this is your platter."

Succulent. The guy's "about me" bio asserts that he comes from (yes) Memphis and works in some government job. I like finding this kind of clandestine surrealism tucked in the interstices of life. It's like deconstructionism, but funny.

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The Mobile Register on International Law

The paper criticizes the Justices' growing infatuation with the "international law" establishment.

(Link via Southern Appeal.)

Professor Reynolds also comments on the topic. As does Tech Central Station.

UPDATE: Edited the post.

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