Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, January 30, 2012

I've been meaning to mention it for some time now: Can we please have a moratorium on the use of the word 'surge'? I was tired of it when it was an anti-insurgency strategy used in reference to the Iraq War; and 'surging Santorum'finished it for me. It is time for a new word.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

To Gregory Porter at the Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox. Porter is a charming and skillful singer who fronted a cooking trio. Porter's voice was clear, his demeanor was sincere and charming, and his chops were undeniable-- he moved gracefully across his entire range with a sure-footed sense of rhythm that was sensational without seeming show-off y.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baby steps. I started by taking EGA's Strat out of its case, just to get used to the look of the thing. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a small amp. Today I think I got it in tune, maybe. I bought some picks. After next week I'll only be teaching one night a week, and I can look into lessons.....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Naturally Luc Sante has been a Patti Smith fan longer than I have. Luckily, he writes about it

My friend Dorothea Braemer has decided that seven years as Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel is enough, and is going back to making art full time. She has been amazing since she came to town, growing Squeaky into something that we could have barely dreamed of, and at the same time becoming a prominent voice for the arts in general.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The new Dylan tribute that Amnesty International has released looks tempting-- but on the other hand, Sting, usually a deal-breaker for me. The Voice runs the numbers, and since I'm likely to just load the thing onto my iPod, I suppose the wheat is greater than the chaff.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Predictions. I like Newt in Fla-- I have a hunch it'll act more like a Southern state and less like a Bizzaro World New York this go-round.

I like the Giants. They are a better rounded team.

I'll be under 27 minutes at Mr. Ed's. CLA and everyone else I know there will beat me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I was a doubter. CLA said that chia seeds worked as a kind of eye balm, and I thought that was just hippie jive. I was wrong, though-- turns out that putting chia seeds in your eyes before bed is far more efficacious than anything else I've tried. Other hippie things that I'm still unconvinced about include carob and hemp clothing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Charley Pierce has a post up today about attending a Romney rally in South Carolina.
I noticed her before Mitt Romney mentioned her name. I couldn't help it. It wasn't that she was so pretty, although she was a fine-looking woman. It was that she was so... Mitt.
She was wearing black. She had on black boots, black stockings, a black sweater, and a short black skirt. She was baubled and bejeweled. She wore enormous earrings, which were the same color as her skin, which was the same color as her hair — it was as she were made out of gold. And although she was surrounded by other establishment Republicans — although there were nothing but establishment Republicans on hand for the Mitt Romney "event" in the parking lot of the Mitt Romney for President Office here, and although they helped me remember that "establishment Republican" is just a synonym for "country-club Republican" — she stood out, because she stood in such gilded opposition to the image that Mitt Romney was trying to project....

This vision of gilded Republicanism turned out to be Cindy Costa, a Republican National Committee member. On her website she has a little poll:

What parts of Obama's agenda should we spend the most energy opposing?:
His judicial nominations
His tax and economic policies
His social policies
All of the above

Every four years-- every Presidential election cycle-- we go through the same rituals, and those rites are reported the same way, every time. The Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries are mused over by the likes of George Will as being an odd method for selecting a nominee because they are not states that are particularly representative of the United States as a whole. South Carolina then comes in for the same sort of critique. I'm not sure I even know what a "typical" American state is supposed to be. I know it isn't New York, which is too bad. I'm pretty sure that whatever that mythical state looks like, it's not a place I'd care to live in, and that is distressing. I suspect that the hypothetical typical state is full of people like Ms. Costa, whose resume lists her qualifications as being married, having children and grandchildren, and being a born-again Christian. Because I am an effete East Coast liberal snob I'd like to know a little about her employment history, her educational background, and some other qualifications, but the people who live in Real America know better than me. I wonder how many of those Real Americans picked an answer on her poll that wasn't "All of the above". I wonder, but I'd rather not know the answer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Outside Counsel has just learned that Dick Judelson-- Dr. Jazz-- has died. Although the larger world knew him as a brilliant pediatrician, it was as the host of BeBop and Beyond that I knew him. It may have been the longest running jazz program in radio, and it was always exactly what public radio jazz programing ought to be: informative, intelligent, fun. When someone was coming to town, Dick would feature the artist. When the fancy took him he'd play back to back versions of the same song by different artists then dissect the differences. He always told you who besides the leader was on the date, what the label was, the year it was recorded. He provided context, in other words. More than that, he was an enthusiast, and he recognized enthusiasm in others. Man, I miss him already.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A reading list for a Law in Literature course. Professor Cowen teaches at George Mason University.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mittens sez,

"You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a President encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 per cent versus one percent—and those people who have been most successful will be in the one per cent—you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it."

Well, first of all, if what he is counting on is for the 1% to carry him to victory in November, okay. I suppose it is possible that the American capacity for wishful thinking to be engaged by this sort of talk. After all, we are all middle class, right? Ask anyone. I like Matthew Yglesias' take on this:

"You often hear that for one reason or another the United States "can't afford" this or that. We "can't afford" to pay people Social Security benefits. We "can't afford" to build high-speed trains. We "can't afford" to give everyone early childhood education. But why can't we afford this stuff? Are we a poor country? No, we're not. We're one of the richest countries that's ever existed. Are we a poorer country than we used to be? No, we're not. But a very large share of the gains we've made over the past three decades have gone to a relatively small number of people. If the gains has been broadly shared, then the burden of paying for that basic infrastructure and public services would have to be very broadly shared. But the gains have been very concentrated, and so if we're going to afford that stuff a large share of the revenue has to come from the people who've gotten the money.
That's not envy, that's math."

The Occupy movement deserves a lot of credit for injecting the concept of the 1% into our public discourse. It is hilarious that Mittens and his ilk are trying to turn it around and suggest that greater economic equity is somehow class warfare, when the reality is that the concentration of wealth is what is actually grinding the American economy into dust. It is unfortunate that (a) most people are too stupid to get this, and believe that having to buy health insurance is Red Communism; and (2) that Barrack Obama may not be able to explain the fallacy in this argument to the electorate. It should be easy enough to understand: if all of the dough is in one place, more of the dough will accumulate there. If more people have more of the dough, they will spend it, and start businesses, and hire people and spread the dough around.

You're thinking of this place all wrong. As if I had the money back in a safe. The money's not here. Your money's in Joe's house...right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin's house, and a hundred others. Why, you're lending them the money to build, and then, they're going to pay it back to you as best they can. Now what are you going to do? Foreclose on them?...Now listen to me. I beg of you not to do this thing. If Potter gets hold of this Building and Loan there'll never be another decent house built in this town. He's already got charge of the bank. He's got the bus line. He's got the department stores. And now he's after us. Why? Well, it's very simple. Because we're cutting in on his business, that's why. And because he wants to keep you living in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides. Joe, you lived in one of his houses, didn't you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren't going so well, and you couldn't make your payments. You didn't lose your house, did you? Do you think Potter would have let you keep it? Can't you understand what's happening here? Don't you see what's happening? Potter isn't selling. Potter's buying! And why? Because we're panicky and he's not. That's why. He's picking up some bargains. Now, we can get through this thing all right. We've got to stick together, though. We've got to have faith in each other.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lorrie Moore reviews Suzzy Roche's new novel. I think I would have to be in a very specific mood to read it, but I expect I will at some point.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A lot of people like to complain about the Bowl Championship Series but for the most part I think they are complaining about the wrong thing. A true "national championship tournament" would, to my way of thinking be even worse for the sport because it be worse for the students. Under the existing system schools play a fixed schedule which includes games agains traditional rivals and games with schools that are resume builders and/or revenue enhancers. Adding four or eight or whatever games in a playoff style system might allow an Oklahoma State or a Boise the opportunity to prove itself against another team with a similar record but a lower national profile, but so what? What is certain under a playoff system is that the students who are playing will be a greater risk for injury, and will be away from class and campus even more than they are already. Big time college sports are already a sham-- I don't see how heightening the contradictions helps anyone.

The real problem with the current system is that it diminishes interest in college football at the exact moment when college football should be the most entertaining. The games leading up to the New Years Day matchups used to be enticing appetizers, and the New Years Bowl games were a welcome respite from an otherwise dreary holiday. For a brief moment hockey stepped up to fill this void, but naturally the NHL found a way to screw that up. This year the annual outdoor hockey match dropped the puck at 7 PM. Thanks for nothing, NHL. Where were you at 3:00 in the afternoon when I could have used you?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Congratulations to the inaugural class of the Big Pink Hall of Fame:

Walter R. Brooks
Julia Child
Bring Crosby
Bob Dylan
Jonathan Safren Foyer
Ira Glass
Darline Gullia
Madelene Jankowski
Norton Juster
Russell and Lillian Hoban
Scott Oakley
They Might Be Giants

Further information can be found at the Big Pink HOF website, along with periodic updates and discussions on future nominations and proposed rule changes.

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