Friday, May 23, 2003

Weekend Plans

Light, if any, posting this weekend. See you guys Monday evening.

Have an excellent Memorial Day.
Please Note: It does, indeed, block the view of Venus

I may ride a dinghy, but I happily rise with the tide.

A nice little note about my favorite institution, the University of Chicago Law School.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Cuban Agricultural Policy

I intend to discuss Cuban Agricultural Policy this evening with my friend, and one of the most knowledgeable people in the entire anime* industry, Carl Gustav. I think, particularly, we may discuss how trade relations between Glasgow and Havana might be improved by combining their important agricultural product under the umbrella of a single marketing scheme. I will report on our discussions later.

Tomorrow (maybe tonight... it's nearly finished), I'm putting up a review of Old Potrero, a single-malt rye whiskey made just across the Bay, in San Francisco.

* For identification purposes only. I own exactly one Anime film: the Wings of Honneamise which I think is not only excellent anime, but is one of my favorite films.
Possible California Senate Candidate for 2004

US Treasurer Rosario Marin has resigned. Possibly to run against Barbara Boxer in 2004 for the US Senate. Don't know that we stand a snowball's chance in hell of beating Boxer, but when it gets right down to it, Barbara Boxer makes me miss uberliberal Alan Cranston.

(I hasten to add that, in the 1930s, Alan Cranston did America a great service by reading, translating and publishing an unabridged American edition of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, but as Senator, he certainly didn't do much on my account).

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Explosion at Yale Law School?

CNN headline only. Let's hope it's something gas-main related.
The Luso-Canadian War of 2007

A couple of good articles are up via NRO on the recent report about devastating overfishing noting, essentially, that (a) it's true and (b) there are some solutions, largely involving removing some $50B in worldwide subsidies.

For a tad more on the history of modern European conflict over fishing rights, check out John Baden's 1996 article, "Democracies Don't Fight -- Except Over Fish."

And if you haven't read Mark Kurlansky's Cod -- A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, you are missing out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Microsoft Gets Into the French-Bashing Business

Yesterday, I downloaded from Microsoft the demo of Rise of Nations, a Civilization-like game where you start in the stone age and try to conquer the world. I think the game is just out today. Fun, yes, though I think I prefer Civilization, the original of these rise-from-the-muck games.

Nevertheless, I noticed that among the Wonders of the World (e.g., the Terra Cotta Army, the Kremlin, the Space Program, etc.) which you can build in your various towns and cities -- to give you extra military units, cheaper research, better trade -- you can build the Eiffel Tower.

Which increases your trade... in oil.

Another Frank Chu Site

I'm a big fan of Frank Chu, but I'm not the only one. And here's another great interview with the hardest working protestor in the world.
Hooters Comes to San Francisco

Hooters is about to open its first Northern California franchise, right down at Fisherman's Wharf. I'm surprised this hasn't caused more of a stir with the Neo-Puritanical Left, but I was still amused by this bit:

Several kitchen staff from the city's upper-end restaurants have applied to pick up a second job at Hooters..."They tell us that they're tired of being so worried about presentation, presentation, presentation," [the General Manager] said. "Here, you don't have to worry if your artichoke syrup is dripped just right on the plate."...Somewhere, Alice Waters is weeping.

Monday, May 19, 2003

California Legislators on the Cutting Edge

I'm all for Howard Coble getting kicked out on his arse for thinking Japanese Internment was a swell idea. I'm not very impressed that it took the California legislature three months to get around to denouncing it.

I shall not overstate the importance of blogs, but if politicians want to build on public discontent to score political points, they'll need to pay attention to the scuttlebut on blogs, and be a little quicker than this.
Bobblehead Rehnquist

Adam Bonin points to an article about the hot collectable this summer : the Rehnquist Bobblehead, produced by those excellent folks at the Green Bag. One thousand of these gems are going to current subscribers of the Green Bag and, presumably, a few lucky former contributors. Although I was a charter subscriber and am friends with virtually everyone on the staff of the Green Bag, I let my subscription lapse a while back, so I'm pretty sure that I am shit-outta-luck.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Why Ruben Wins

Throwing Things’ Adam Bonin claims: “Clay Aiken will win the American Idol competition ‘because he's white, and so is the majority of the teenyboppers calling in.’”

Although Adam Bonin means to predict the result of American Idol, he has labored to produce a brilliant thesis about why Clay Aiken survives any race involving three or more. His analysis, I believe, is more akin to understanding a primary vote and breaks down when confronted with the general election.

I cannot compete with Adam’s Charlie Cook-like analysis of American Idol – so I have to stick with some mind-numbing Bill Schneider-like platitudes where the audience is already way the hell ahead of me, but I think there are a number of points that attack, but not, destroy Adam’s primary thesis. Clay may win this thing, but I think Clay's a Thomas Dewey, both talented and strange-looking --- where a hundred replays of the 1948 election sends 99 Harry Trumans back to Missouri. Whether Ruben is Harry Truman... or another upset Democrat... remains to be seen.

One: I don't buy into the Clay Aiken as Racial Vanguard thesis. He may make the teeny boppers sway, but he's Rick Astley, not David Duke. His appeal is his charm. Although there may be some tendency for white audience members to identify with a white contestant, I don't think it's a very strong one. Suburban white teenagers are the largest consumers of gangsta rap and even with the strong 12-18 age group participation in the early voting, any bias in the sample for whites may help Clay over the edge (but then Ruben should pick up the votes from the chick that just lost out) but I don’t think this makes it a lock.

I note, too, that Adam himself argued that Frenchie Davis would have won this thing in a walk. Frenchie Davis would have played all comers like Walter Mondale to her Ronald Reagan (and I mean to include Reagan’s shameful phone sex experience).

Two: Unless the "bottom two" has been edited to enhance the story (which, in any event presages well for Ruben), I’m assuming – without evidence – that these votes are indeed close. I have no belief in the overall integrity of either the contest or the voting and if Clay were an unstoppable juggernaut with Maxine Waters-like reelection margins, this would have been identified – and edited against – during the last few weeks. Clay may be winning, but he’s not winning by much – Adam’s latest records sales statistics notwithstanding.

Three: There will be a much larger voting constituency for American Idol final. And this is what I think helps Ruben out. The buzz on this show is such that more people, and I believe likely more adults, will be tuning in – and voting – for Ruben. Clay’s constituency, if Adam has read this right, is the young, repeat viewer (and, I hasten to add, repeat voter). I don’t know that you are going to get a big upsurge in an already motivated constituency. The marginal voter goes to Ruben and there will be a lot of extra votes Tuesday night. If I’m right on point two, I think point three carries the day.

Four: Simon Cowen wants Ruben. Ruben is Luther Vandross, he’s Boyz II Men. Clay is Rick Astley – talented, yes, but limited. Ruben can make a career. Now while Frenchy would have run the table, I don’t know that Clay’s got this thing locked. He might not be Thomas Dewey, he might not even Bill Clinton – talented, flawed and unstoppable. But I think he’s going to play Richard Nixon to Ruben’s Kennedy and when the Long Count is over, Ruben’s going to win the day.