Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jared Mobarak, Chris Schobert and my Oscar pics here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Well, this is kind of interesting. Forbes has assembled a list of each state's favorite vinyl albums from 2016 based on eBay sales figures. The methodology: "Favorite" means the album a state buys at the highest rate compared to that state's total share of the volume of records purchased. Some examples:
 Georgia:
1. Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones
2. Sheer Heart Attack – Queen
3. Al Green’s Greatest Hits – Al Green
Goats Head Soup shows up kind of a lot, and I can't imagine why. To me it represents the start of a creative ebb for the band.
Kansas:
1.     Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones
2.     Thriller – Michael Jackson
3.     Jagged Little Pill –  Alanis Morissette
No love for "Dust in the Wind" Jayhawk State?
Louisiana:
1.     Lazaretto – Jack White
2.     Journey’s Greatest Hits – Journey
3.     Bleach – Nirvana
Proof that Louisiana ain't all New Orleans, I guess.
Massachusetts:
1.     Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones
2.     Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
3.     Midnight Marauders – A Tribe Called Quest
Maybe this means that everyone in Massachusetts already has all of Aerosmith and J. Giles on vinyl .
New Hampshire:
1.     Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones
2.     AM – Artic Monkeys
3.     Kill ‘em All – Metallica
Makes you think, doesn't it?
New York:
1.     Revolver – The Beatles
2.     A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
3.     Illmatic – NAS
Okay, this is respectable.
South Dakota:
1.     Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones
2.     Band of Gypsys – Jimi Hendrix
3.     Birth of Cool – Miles Davis
This is a weird combination.
Wisconsin:
1.     Fas -- Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum – Deathspell Omega
2.     Back in Black – AC/DC
3.     Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
Cheese State, what's wrong? Who hurt you, buddy?

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Political Science Department at Buffalo State is sponsoring a semester long project called The First 100 Days, which will consist of a series of lectures culminating with a day long series of presentations on April 29, 2017. I'm flattered to have been asked to address Judge Gorsuch's nomination, and the Supreme Court appointment process.

Monday, February 06, 2017

In Brooklyn over the weekend, and Boots and I went to the Brooklyn Public Library, mostly to visit the space, which has a family connection. The entrance is framed by gilded representations of literary characters, many with Brooklyn connections, some not. Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick, Walt Whitman.... and Archy and Mehitabel. Nobody in my family knew who they were, but because I secretly grew up in the 20's and 30's I do. A columnist for the Evening Sun named
Don Marquis created them. Archy was a free verse poet reincarnated as a cockroach, and Mehitable was his friend, an alley cat. Marquis would leave a sheet of paper in his typewriter, and in the morning he would find a poem or a story that Archy had written by throwing himself onto the keys. Since he couldn't work the shift key, Archy's writing was always in lower case. The series was really popular, and is now pretty much completely obscure. It was an odd sort of literary moment for me, to be one of the very few people within what I would guess to be a fair-sized radius to know about this writer and his characters.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It would be interesting to see what attempts have been made in the past to measure voter satisfaction with their choices. Such a study could incorporate several axises: satisfaction over time while the candidate is in office, the type of office held, retrospective satisfaction once the candidate has left office.... It seems to me that there is seldom much buyer's remorse with candidates who are elected to legislative office-- they tend to get re-elected which is probably the most important metric. On the other hand, I don't hear many people saying aloud that Bush fils was a choice they regret, even though he was spectacularly, historically awful. Trump's negatives are pretty amazing for a guy who has only been in office two weeks. Of course, approval ratings give us one such metric:
Here’s how many days after their election it took various presidents to achieve majority disapproval in the Gallup poll:
Reagan: 727
Bush I: 1336
Clinton: 573
Bush II: 1205
Obama: 936
Trump: 8
It's also always worth keeping in mind that the majority of voters didn't like Trump in the first place. In fact, only 45 percent of Republican primary voters (the hardest nuts of all) voted for him. This makes something like the spontaneous protests that erupted over the weekend (over one of Trump's core promises) more understandable. Notwithstanding the vociferousness of his hard core, most people don't like what he represents, or what he is doing. Whether this will mean that people will turn out for the Midterms, and vote with the recognition that it is Congress which is enabling him remains to be seen-- I am pessimistic, but you don't have to be. What none of us should be is complacent.

And by the way: I find it weirdly troubling that the hard core Trump supporters on my FB feed are people I went to Catholic high school with. Were they all out on the days when we covered stuff like the Gospels?   I suppose if a substantial portion of one's formal intellectual training rejects evidence in favor of "faith" one might begin to assume that opinion is a sufficient basis for otherwise unfounded beliefs. That's a discouraging path to go down but it certainly accounts for the vehemence.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Funny thing about this photograph: I know exactly where it was taken because I ran there multiple times. It's Ketchum, Idaho, where Hemingway killed himself, and where he is buried, on the road that runs past Sun Valley. It's a pretty good altitude, but it took me a day or two to remember that, which meant that I was really puzzled by how lousy I felt running in the morning. I attributed it, at first, to the fact that it was hilly, but it was actually because the air had no air in it. Hemingway's cocktail, Death in the Gulf Stream, is all over the internets today for some reason-- gin over crushed ice, with four dashes of bitters and the juice and crushed peel of a lime it sounds like the kind of thing you'd have when a handle of vodka wouldn't be properly refreshing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My understanding of British Constitutional Law isn't all that it maybe should be. I get that it is based on an "unwritten" constitution, and I understand that this means that it is basically a common law tradition, but it is still difficult for me to get my head around. Even so, it seemed odd that the Brits thought they could abrogate a treaty by referendum. The US Constitutional principle is that treaties are the highest law of the land, and we had to have gotten that idea from somewhere. Now it turns out that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom sees it that way too, and Parliament has to sign off on Brexit. Because we live in stupid times Parliament is going to do it. That's disappointing,  but at least it shows I have sort of a grasp on British Constitutional Law. La la la, the center cannot hold

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