Thursday, July 29, 2004
I've been thinking about Brill v. City of New York
, and CPLR 3212(a), and I am a bit put out about both. 3212(a) pertains to the time within which summary judgment motions may be made. Such a motion can be made no earlier than at joinder of issue, and no later than 120 days after the filing of the note of issue. The outside date is new since 1997, and for a while some courts were reading the statute as though they could, in the exercise of discretion, allow late summary judgment motions. In Brill the Court of Appeals has weighed in and said, "No." The standard to be applied is whether the movant can show a satisfactory reason for the delay.
The effect of this is paradoxical. On the one hand, "good cause" is a matter of law, which can be easier to demonstrate on appeal than an abuse of discretion. On the other hand, what about a case that is plainly lacking merit as a matter of law? Under Brill, if the movant cannot demonstrate good cause for the delay in making timely application, the matter proceeds to trial-- a waste of everyone's time. In his dissent Judge G.B. Smith runs it down: "because the time of the litigants, jurors, lawyers, the judge, and other court personnel should not be wasted in going through the motions of a trial which has no merit and must be dismissed, I dissent." As Judge Smith observes, the good cause shown for allowing the motion notwithstanding the lateness of the application was the merits of the action.
I'm thinking that this is a statute that ought to be revisited.
Something is buggy with my posting, both here and at the KRAC
Blog. I dote know if it is the browser (I'm using firebug, and have been liking it) or something else that I am doing. I'll try tweaking this and that and see what it gets me.
Update: I figured it out. The "lost" posts were posts I made using a font other than the default for my template. For some reason Blogger treats these as a graphics file, which also means that I can't edit them. I suppose I could tinker with my template and change the default font, but instead I have spent the time restoring the deathless words that were missing.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
To the wedding of one of the lawyers we work with over the weekend; weddings always put me in a thoughtful mood. This was the second time I have been in the position of attending a wedding as someone's employer. It is flattering to be well enough liked as an employer to be invited to such an event. Although I think of V. as someone who is close in age to me, he is, of course, close in age to the me of 20 years ago, and we are closer in age to the parents of the lovely couple.
Weddings seem to occur in one's life in cycles. A, growing up with a lot of older cousins, attended many weddings as a child. We were the oldest of the cousins in our family, so the only weddings I saw growing up were ones where I was an alter boy. Weddings tipped better than funerals, so they typically went to the senior acolytes-- I didn't get many. The first wedding I recall attending as a guest was that of my Uncle Chet and Aunt Miriam. We saw a rash of weddings in the period immediately following law school-- A and I were among the first in that cohort, and then, of course, there was a stretch of cousins and siblings, along with a stretch of second marriages, which, for some reason, I particularly like. The triumph of hope over experience Samuel Johnson said, but as an American I reserve my right to celebrate optimism. Now we are into employees, soon enough it will be our children and the children of our friends.
The whole concept of marriage has been much batted about in recent months-- the most private of relationships, celebrated in a public way among one's closest friends and with family has become a political issue, which, as we stood in the church Saturday, impressed me as entirely the wrong lens through which to view the commitment which weddings symbolize. Sunday's Times had an announcement about the wedding of the son of one of our local judges-- he is gay, so the ceremony uniting the two partners was in Ontario. "Nice" is a stupid word, and not the word I want to use-- I'm glad that we have advanced as a culture to the point where a New York State Supreme Court Judge can celebrate the fact that his child has found happiness with another person in the pages of the New York Times, instead of having the possibility that his child might be gay whispered about, instead of having such a thing eat at him as a terrible secret. I wish it was even less worth of comment, but that is a way off, I suppose. It is hard to say how fast social change takes place-- certainly it moves at a pace that is slow enough to make the chance at happiness a political issue, instead of something you wish for the people you care about.
Monday, July 26, 2004
There are some here
that I don't believe I ever saw, but I remember a lot of them, including this one. It seems to me that I had this one just about memorized. We read a lot of science stuff when we were kids-- funny, but it doesn't seem to me that my daughters read much along those lines at all. (Via Boing Boing
Friday, July 23, 2004
Playing Poker with Dick Cheney
The Editors: We'll take three cards.
Dick Cheney: Give me one.
Sounds of cards being placed down, dealt, retrieved, and rearranged in hand. Non-commital noises, puffing of cigars.
TE: Fifty bucks.
DC: I'm in. Show 'em.
TE: Two pair, sevens and fives.
DC: Not good enough.
TE: What do you have?
DC: Better than that, that's for sure. Pay up.
TE: Can you show us your cards?
DC: Sure. One of them's a six.
TE: You need to show all your cards. That's the way the game is played.
Colin Powell: Ladies and gentlemen. We have accumulated overwhelming evidence that Mr. Cheney's poker hand is far, far better than two pair. Note this satellite photo, taken three minutes ago when The Editors went to get more chips. In it we clearly see the back sides of five playing cards, arranged in a poker hand. Defector reports have assured us that Mr. Cheney's hand was already well advanced at this stage. Later, Mr. Cheney drew only one card. Why only one card? Would a man without a strong hand choose only one card? We are absolutely convinced that Mr. Cheney has at least a full house.
Tim Russert: Wow. Colin Powell really hit a homerun for the Administration right there. A very powerful performance. My dad played a lot of poker in World War 2, and he taught me many things about life. Read my book.
It's hard to know what to make of Leon Russell
. On the strength of his medley on "The Concert for Bangladesh " a lot of people went out and bought Leon Russell albums; none of those people that I know were pleased with their purchases. On the other hand, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen
" is pretty terrific, and there are certainly a number of good Leon Russell songs
..... So to Thursday in the Square last night to see what he's been up to for the last twenty years.
And the answer is, I guess, that Leon Russell does what he has always done
, slurring his way through a Southern fried Memphis sound that blends soul, gospel and the blues into a rock'n'nroll that works pretty good. I left before he got into the ballads, but there was no denying that what I saw swung along nicely. Not surprisingly, the band was tight and professional. Somewhat surprisingly the whole show was rather static: Leon sat erect at the keyboards and moaned away, bringing the boogie. for what ever reason, he never really takes off. He starts off with a pretty good groove, but the momentum never catches on. The songs kick in, he bounces along with them for a bit, then they wind down, or don't wind down and just come to a stop, then he starts in again. They never really stretched out, which would have been interensting, maybe, and there were times when the whole thing had a pretty perfuntory feel. Glad I saw him play, but I am still left wondering just what it was that made him catch fire like that with George and the others on "Youngblood/Jumping Jack Flash".
Thursday, July 22, 2004
A couple of weeks ago, looking for something to read on the plane I grabbed an old copy of "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" on my way out the door. There is a cascade effect associated with reading some books, or listening to some music: it is perilously easy to fall into a Dylan thing, or a Miles thing, and LeCarre is the same way for me. At some point there will be a fork in the road, and I will find myself re-reading "Smiley's People" or "The Honorable Schoolboy"-- or I will take the different path, and spend some time with Graham Greene. I prefer Greene, a better, more interesting writer, and if I play my cards right this may launch me back into the works of Joseph Conrad, where there remains quite a bit to be read, but for right now I am in the middle of "The Third Man", and having a fine time with it. Naturally then, I was pleased to see Harry Lime invoked in this article about Afghanistan.
There is quite a lot that Greene teaches us about the way it is out in the world, and one thing that hasn't changed is that greed and opportunism find fertile ground where corruption is lightly controlled. I cannot imagine what it must be like to wander the streets of Kabul.
It was fun watching Clinton last night. Hillary doesn't have the same chops, and I realize now that one of the things I like about her is that she is a big fan of Bill-- the fact that she stands by him gives her something in common with the rest of us who were fine with the way the country was being run when he was in office, and prepared to turn a blind eye to the rest of the package. He's still got it, and even though the lip biting and finger waving are familiar schtick now, it was still nice to see him go through his paces. Very shrewd, contrasting Bush Cheney and his service records with Kerry's. Very clever, talking about how he's got money now, but still thinks that the Bush economic program is the wrong thing to do. He's good-- there is no denying that.
Friday, July 16, 2004
It was Ryun who was my favorite, though. Today he's a Republican congressman,
a sad end, in my view, although I'm sure he doesn't think so. (I don't know why this stuff isn't over at the KRAC Blog
where it probably belongs. On this site we are dedicated to The Law and Bob Dylan, right?
My brother's post
put me in mind of Dave Wottle, who was pretty fashion forward. He was the first that I can recall seeing with the hat thing going on. This is from the 1972 Olympic Trials. Wottle was also noted for his huge come from behind kick-- something else that we all tried to imitate as schoolboys.
Sometimes negotiation is a delicate art, full of nuance and subtlety. And sometimes it is a game of Battleship. I just settled a case using Cybersettle
, an on line double blind bid site. The way it works is, the insurer submits 3 settlement offers, which are the maximum amount that a matter can settle for during each of three settlement "rounds". The plaintiff's attorney is notified, logs onto the site, agrees to abide by the terms and conditions, then submits a demand. The demand represents the minimum that the case will settle for during each round. The system then compares the offer to the demand, after adding 20% to the demand to create a range. In any given round if the maximum offer is greater than or equal to the minimum demand, the claim will settle for the average of the two amounts up to the attorney maximum settlement amount. The defendant typically will start low, and the plaintiff, typically would start high. My case resolved on the third round, almost exactly where I wanted it to be. As a purely practical matter it looks pretty much like what a neutral does, without the posturing that usually goes with. It was kind of a Turing Machine mediation. If the case doesn't settle, the numbers are confidential, if it does, the company charges $200 bucks. As I say, it just worked for me, so I guess that makes me a fan. I certainly don't see that it hurts to try to settle a case using it, and it was fast enough. I wouldn't use it for every case, although I'm not exactly sure why, but on cases where you know what you want, and think you know what the other side might be willing to pop I think it is a pretty useful device.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
In "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote
" Jorge Luis Borges created an author who set out to re-write "Don Quixote" as a contemporary work and ends up creating a verbatim transcript of the original. The story's narrator, a critic who is reviewing the "new" Quixote, argues that Menard's work is characterized by an ironic subtlety, and is, therefore, a distinct artistic achievement.
My copy of Mary Lee Kortes
' "Blood On The Tracks
" arrived yesterday. A few years back New York bar called Arlene's Grocery had a promotion called Classic Album Night: performers were invited to do a set consisting of song for song renditions of iconic sides. Ms. Kortes volunteered to do "Blood On The Tracks" as the finale on an evening when other artists had done "After The Gold Rush" and The Band's second album
. The document that resulted is a useful way to re-listen to a work that can sometimes elude its original emotional impact due to over-familiarity. There is no better album about heartbreak-- "Sinatra Sings For Only the Lonely"
and "In the Wee Small Hours"
are its only peers-- but because of its immediacy, and because it has been so frequently applied as a balm its power can occasionally be blunted. Ms. Kortes knows its power, and approaches each song with a freshness that signals her enthusiasm and deep love for the material. She understands "Blood On The Tracks", and feels it the way that all of us who love the album have felt it.
"You'll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above"-- it must have felt wonderful to have snarled those words in front of a tight playing band, halfway through the set, knowing that she'd found the heart of this music and that this risky adventure was coming together. Ron Rosenbaum's theories notwithstanding, I believe that the key to "Blood On The Tracks" is "You're A Big Girl Now", which is Dylan's singing at its most plaintive. She nails it. She even gets the humor, calling up an audience member to sing the first couple of verses of "Lilly, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts". The liner notes say that the guest vocalist told her later that he'd almost lost his job at the law firm where he worked because of his undignified performance, but it is hilarious, a little tour of Dylan's vocal quirks. It's too bad, in a way, because I love the song and would like another serious version, but in the context of the album it really works. Too bad she sticks to the verses on the album: there is at least one-- Joan Baez sings it-- that he skips, so she skips it too. ("Lilly" is one of those Dylan songs that sounds like he must have a trunk full of, even though it really is unique. A symbolic Western-- could anything be more Dylanesque? There are plenty of Dylan shaggy dog stories, but nothin' like the Jack of Hearts.)
The whole thing is an audacious experiment that works, and I'm glad I found it. I think I'll check out her original work: she has an appealing voice and a good band.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Over at Looka! a menu full of delicious sounding dishes
that each contain something that someone in my family will object to, and that I will, therefore, never get to make. A. went out to dinner with her sisters, last night so I got to have another go at this Eggplant Parmesan
. A couple of things make this work really well. Because A won't eat eggplant I really haven't made a nice eggplant parm since I was single. That's a long time ago, and my technique has improved quite a bit since then. I used to cut the eggplant into rounds, and layer it like a lasagnia-- for this I cut it into cubes. This seems to help it to absorb flavors of the sauce and cheese mixture. I like the breading, too: it adds a layer of flavor complexity that I never got when I was just throwing eggplant parm together. The chief thing is the sauce, however. Because it contains capers, A would scorn it even if it wasn't adorning a lovely melanzane dish. Too bad-- this is simple to make, and terrific.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
of the new Faces' box set, "Five Guys Walk Into A Bar" makes me want to get it, and is worth quoting in full: "I'm not claiming there's much competition, but the greatest box-set name ever is perfect for a band that was never as great as it should have been. Their music was so loose and that was such an up; their music was so loose and their songs fell so apart. Come to think of it, bar bands are generally tighter. But if five straight hours of shambolic garage rock is what you seek, you couldn't do better—the four CDs maintain a raucous level that crests rather than peaks and never gets boring. Ron Wood you know, Ronnie Lane you should. But above all, here for the hearing—why old-timers think Rod Stewart had something to sell out."
Listening to "Stay With Me" not long ago I was musing on the notion that when you listen to The Faces or The Stones you could easily find yourself thinking that there must have been a bunch of bands back then that had that same quality. The sad truth is that there weren't: the only other one that I can think of just now was The Band, and even at that The Band seems to me to have been trying to mostly make a slightly different point. Without Keith would Mick have become Rod Stewart? Who says he didn't?
Monday, July 12, 2004
For the first four years that I ran the Utica Boilermaker the conditions on race day were really not a concern. I was always hurt, or recovering from an injury, so just struggling to the finish was a sufficient accomplishment. Last year, for the first time, I was healthy, and as luck would have it the weather was nearly perfect: as cool as mid-July is likely to be, and cloudy. I had a great race, running it pain free for the first time.
This year I am in much better condition than I have been in years, but as soon as we got off the bus at the starting area I knew that it was going to be a rough morning. It was already warm, and the sky was clear and blue and beautiful. It was going to be a hot one, and there was going to be no protection from the sun on the course.
By now the route is familiar, and I feel like I can attack it tactically. The first 5k is rolling hills, with about a mile of flat along the parkway. That stretch, which is the coolest part of the race, is also probably where there is the most shade, although there are also long stretches, by the Armory and by the public housing, that are completely exposed. When you make the left onto the road that leads to the golf course you start to deal with grade, and people start slowing down. The golf course itself is where our training pays off: it amounts to a mile long hill, and the only problem I had with it were the people in front of me. This year I ran on the grass, off the path, because maneuvering around people was spending more effort than the climb was. The other two great things about the golf course hill are the fact that the grass makes it cooler, and the view at the top, which is spectacular. The descent is also sweet, and the stretch that follows is, I guess, my favorite part. The lama from the Utica Zoo is always there, and the spectators hand out popsicles. I had lime this year, and I could feel the difference it made. This stretch is flat, and you come into it after coming down hill, knowing that this is a place where you want to run strong. Loop around the block, past the Utica Blue Sox stadium, and into the toughest part of the race. At this point there is no shelter: it is all asphalt and buildings, and you start the climb to Utica College. This hill is strategically placed to crush you. When you hit the 10k mark you still have nearly a mile to climb, and it is always hot enough to bake cookies. The roadway is concrete, reflecting the sun back up at you. About halfway up is Ice Station Zebra, and I filled my hat with a handful of ice, and took water twice.
As bad a hill as it is, the training at the Ridge still pays off: I passed people all the way up. Every year I think, "Now that I'm past that, I'm home free," and you'd think that would be true, but the last two and a half miles are as tough as any of the rest of it. Although it is mostly downhill, there is one more short climb, and as hot as it was yesterday, every spot of shade felt like it made a difference. Once I had crested the hill I started seeing people being attended to by paramedics: at first I thought that I was seeing a spectator holding a 8"x11" sign, and I thought, "That's a stupid size for a placard," and then I realized it was an IV bag. I guess I saw about a half a dozen runners down, more than I ever have before. The pipe band outside The Highlander gave me the lift I needed for the last mile.
For five years the Boilermaker has been the best thing I've done. This year we get to keep going. (Cross-posted from the KRAC Blog
Friday, July 09, 2004
My Bay Shore homeboy and fellow Dylanologist Ron Rosenbaum
has some interesting things to say about "Blood on the Tracks" this week. As is usual with Rosenbaum, he thinks that there is a secret "key" to the album; typically, the key is not even on the album. I pulled down my copy of "Biograph" last night to listen to "Up to Me". He's right, of course, it's a pretty terrific song. (He's always right about stuff like that.) I don't know what "Up to Me" tells us about "Blood on the Tracks", but it is always a pleasure to re-discover a Dylan song. It is also nice to see that Rosenbaum and I agree
that, "great songs are a different (not lesser) sort of art than poems; like theater, they are meant to be heard as well as read, heard as music, and it can be reductive to think of them only as poetry."
I've been meaning to burn a CD of the "Blood" NYC versions available on "Biograph" and "Bootleg Vols. I-III", but haven't got around to it, probably hoping that Dylan will get around to releasing the alternate version. I'm sure he will, in his own good time, but now Rosenbaum, who set me off on the idea that the New York takes offer some sort of secret coded insight into the album in the first place, now says, "One of the great disappointments of my life was to finally hear the New York "test-pressing" and find myself underwhelmed by the hype, under-impressed by the differences." Oh. Oh, I see. (I also think Rosenbaum is being unfair to "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts", but we can save that discussion for another day.) Oh, and I ordered Mary Lee Kortes
' tribute today-- I had meant to, actually, when I first heard about it.
As long as we are discussing "skeleton keys", I wish I could find Rosenbaum's great column on "I'll Keep It With Mine" somewhere. I read it in the Observer on the train from New York to Buffalo years ago, and it re-ignited my long dormant Dylan interest. How about it Ron? Let's have a collection of your Dylan articles and interviews.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Over at Follow Me Here
, Eliot defends practitioners of this glamour profession in the context of the anticipated attacks on trial lawyer John Edwards: "As a physician, I am supposed to be all for "tort reform" and contemptuous of attorneys, but I don't stand with the stereotype of my profession in this respect. Some of my best friends are lawyers... Seriously, though, since a segment of my profession seems to answer only to monetary concerns and not at all to an ethical standard based on the privilege and burden of fulfilling the sacred trust bestowed upon them by their patients, the threat of a lawsuit may be the only effective barrier between them and negligent practices or legitimately compensating for the damages when nothing stands as a barrier."
I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with the idea that lawyers stand as the junkyard dogs of the professions, compelling the lazy to be diligent where they might not otherwise be by holding out the threat of a lawsuit, but here at Outside Counsel we are all about legitimate compensation for damages. Lawyers help people who need help, and a guy like Edwards has certainly helped a lot of people who desperately needed it. It's nice to hear a doctor acknowlege this.
It's Ringo Starr's Birthday! Happy Birthday Ringo! Thinking about it, he's probably the Beatle that got the most fun out of it, and you know that can't be bad. There was a time when rock'n'roll drummers were judged by the standard of Ginger Baker, or Keith Moon-- fast, furious, free-style; I think that Ringo's excellence tended to get overlooked as a consequence. He was never about that, but he was certainly a pro, and he is brilliant in all their movies. He also manages a nonchalant persona that is absolutely endearing: not only does he forget the words to his own hit song on the "Concert for Bangela Desh
", for example, he's okay with having the moment preserved forever. For all I know, when he does the song today he repeats the gaffe. It'd be like him, I think. (Via Booknotes
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
To Henry IV Part One
at Shakespeare in the Park
last night. I am fond of this play, which I first studied with Professor Smith at Geneseo. It is a tricky play to do, I think, because the characters that are set in opposition to the protagonists are, in many ways, characters that we prefer. The King is a usurper, who has actually committed the wrongs that he is accused of, but Falstaff, while reprehensible, is likeable and sympathetic. Hotspur has a fiery temperament, but he is faithful, and bold, and is plainly a better man than Hal. When the Prince has his conversion moment, in the tavern, he comes off as cruel rather than noble, and when he and his father reconcile it is hard not to feel that he is, once again, merely being expedient. This production compensates for some of this by underlining Falstaff's disreputable charactor a little more than is usually done. The reason to do the play is usually to give someone a shot at Falstaff, and I have a feeling that this is why it was put on this year: Saul Elkin
is a legend around here, and if he feels like playing Falstaff, then they are going to find a way to let him do it.
The structure of the play is somewhat misshapen, but in this production they make up for it by having a lot of good sword fights.
Everyone knows a lot of Shakespeare, but Henry IV is less familiar: it says a lot that even through the archaic language and the unfamiliar politics the story comes sailing through, and is thoroughly engaging. I wish Shakespeare in the Park was going to do Part Two and Henry V, either this season or next, but we don't get that lucky. We are lucky enough to have this, though, and I expect I'll go again.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
There probably is an act that I'd stand in torrential rain for six hours to see, but neither Ani nor the GooGoo Dolls is that act. The reincarnation of John Coltrane perhaps. Saw the first half hour of Ani's set, liked her fine, but we were soaked to the skin, so split. CLA stayed, and had a great time. I wasn't going to mention it, but the news of Kerry's picking Edwards reminded me that there were Kerry people much in evidence at the show. Of course there would be: if Kerry can't count on Buffalo he has no hope whatsoever, but I thought, as I saw them, that I find Kerry so uninspiring that perhaps his strongest message really is that he is not Bush. Picking Edwards as his running mate may help that by injecting a little excitement into the campaign. There are a lot of ways to think about how this match works. I like the fact that there is a Southerner on the ticket-- Democrats shouldn't concede the South. I like the way Edwards contrasts with Cheney-- one of the major ways the Gore campaign went off the rails was during the VP debate, when Lieberman ended up with chapped lips from kissing up to Cheney. Edwards has got the trial lawyer chops to make the case, and that will help. And I think that Edwards will inject some of the excitement that has been lagging. I am also glad that Kerry didn't screw it up: Gephardt would have been the worst possible choice.
I've said it before: Bush lost the last time. This race is going to be a lot closer than people seem to think.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
I figured Ben Folds as a sort of late 90's Billy Joel, and by the time I realized that this was not such a bad thing to be, I realized as well that it was not a particularly good description of Folds, either. To Uncle Sam's Jam
yesterday, Day One of a two day free festival put on by the GooGoo Dolls on the steps of City Hall. Can't say I've ever been a fan of the Goos-- they impress me as mostly derivative and uninteresting, but I'm a fan now. This festival
is how it should always be done: local acts and national acts; smooth short transitions between sets; no lines at the concessions or the Port O Sans; clean
Port O Sans; acts bring on other acts for a number or two-- I'm impressed. I made downtown in time for The Juliet dagger
, a power punk trio fronted by two women. They were good for what they were-- a power punk trio fronted by two women, but I don't mean to damn them with faint praise by any means. They turned in a respectable set that looked like it was a lot of fun to play, and I'll want to see them again. Folds was up next, and he was terrific. I suppose a great deal of his appeal is that he traffics so heavily in irony, but I am a sucker for hooky pop, and he brings a lot of that. Rufus Wainwright followed. I'm a fan, I guess, but a whole set, or a whole CD is a lot of Rufus to take at once. He has a great voice, and he knows it: it is not hard to imagine him growing up, belting out songs in the unselfconscious way that Marcus
sings in "About A Boy
", Kate McGarrigle
beaming approvingly in their Montreal kitchen. He brought Guster on to play "One Man Guy", and it was pretty terrific. We didn't stay for Guster's set-- in the end one of the problems I have with festivals is that the time investment is too great. I'll go tonight and see Ani DiFranco
and the GooGoos, (EGA likes Ani
, CLA loves Johnny Reznik).
Friday, July 02, 2004
Producer Hal Willner is the man responsible for the Disney tribute "Stay Awake", and the Monk tribute, "That's The Way I Feel Now", as well as "Lost in the Stars", a tribute to Kurt Weil: three sets that I really liked. His project at the moment is Neil Young
, which is intriguing.
The reason I love baseball is that there is always the chance, at every game, on every play, that you will see something amazing. This is a catch for the ages.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Here's an interesting list of the top 100 albums from the '70's
. Bifurcated Rivets
, which is where I found it, says, "I really hate lists of albums like this. They are always wrong - you only have to look at the top few to see how wrong this one is," and he has a point, sort of. On the other hand, pretty much everything here that I'm familiar with (which is pretty much all of it) is worthwhile, quality stuff.
Of course, the problem is that a lot of what the Bush Administration is doing is too esoteric for many people to find objectionable. This is, in many ways, the genius of Michael Moore, who has found a way to make it personal. It makes Republicans crazy, and I have to agree that Moore takes some cheap shots, but cheap shots are hardly unique to the Left. Indeed, the rise of the Republican Right is all about cheap shots: from Willie Horton to the commercial comparing Al Gore, Howard Dean and John Kerry to Hitler.
It is discouraging to think that politics inevitably sinks to this sort of thing; it is even more discouraging to think that the people who believe that this is just something that they have to do also believe that the policies they have in mind to implement are high minded and just. Scott Fitzgerald said that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function," and maybe that's true, but it seems to me that the ideals and goals of democracy shouldn't have to be achieved by appeals to the lowest common denominator.
I suppose this sounds very idealistic, but the fact is that as lawyers we see appeals made to juries that are based on reason and justice every day. I don't want to suggest that there isn't pandering going on in the courtrooms, but I think that for the most part the jury system that we use in the US demonstrates that when citizens are given good information, they typically reach the correct result. What makes this even more impressive is that when juries decide cases they are deciding the close calls: the slam dunks get settled, or plea out. This seems like pretty good evidence for the proposition that the same people are capable of making electoral decisions based on rational analysis of the policy differences between candidates and parties, but I don't get the sense that this is what we do, or are assumed to do. Since this is not how the system is seen as working we get stupidity like the Pledge of Allegiance controversy in '88, or calls to "support our troops" when the legitimacy of the Iraq war is called into question.