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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

September 12, 2005

roberts’ umpire analogy

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:13 pm

In his opening remarks today, John Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he has no personal agenda. He compared the work of a Supreme Court justice to that of a baseball umpire, saying:

“I will remember that it’s my job to call balls or strikes, and not to pitch or bat.”

umpireG Seems to me, each umpire has an awful lot of discretion determining the strike zone — based on personal preference, often fickle, and with no appeal. In the Supreme Court League, there aren’t that many pitches that go straight down the middle.

beer league softball
the umpire fastens
her chest protector

out!safe!out!safe!theumpandthemanageroneshadow umpireGF

… by Ed Markowski

update: Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Jim Lindgren has some similar and telling remarks. (via Prof. B) Also, thoughts online wants to know “what’s roberts’ strikezone?”


p.s. I prefer Blind Justice to a Blind Umpire. And, I have to wonder how a supposedly all-star issue-spotter missed seeing the lameness of this umpire analogy.


umpireN update (Sept. 17, 2005): On Sept. 13, Sen. Cornyn questioned Judge Roberts on his umpire anlaogy and philosophy, using Jim Lindgren’s framework. The interchange is a good one, and is reproduced here over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Roberts says he would agree with the second umpire who says “some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them the way I see them.” Roberts explains: “I guess I liked the one in the middle, because I do think there are right answers. . . . . And I think there is meaning [in the Constitution] and I think there is meaning in your legislation. And the job of a good judge is to do as good a job as possible to get the right answer.” That man is sharp and articulate — and always well-prepared.

update (Aug. 3, 2008): The topic of judge-as-umpire has been taken up again almost 4 years later at The Volokh Conspiracy.  (via Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, who yells from the cheap seats:  Your Honor, you had to be there to call that pitch!)


second thoughts about sunscreen?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:42 pm

You knew this was coming (Harvard Magazine, “Too Much Sunscreen?,”

by Craig Lambert, Sept-Oct. 2005):

[A]ccording to a new theory, sealing our skins off from the sun

may cause more cancer deaths than it prevents.


“Associate professor of medicine Edward Giovannucci notes

that UV-B radiation, the source of suntan and sunburn, is also

the component of sunlight that enables human skin . . .  to

synthesize the “sunshine vitamin” —D— used by every type

of cell in the human body. Animal research has associated a

lack of vitamin D with multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and

pathological processes that underlie several forms of cancer,

including those of the colon, breast, prostate, and digestive tract,

such as stomach cancer. “If you look at these cancers as a group,”

says Giovannucci, who is also a professor of nutrition and epidemiology

at the Harvard School of Public Health, “you’ll see that 30 people die of

these cancers for every one who dies of skin cancer.” . . .


 d key    “Giovannucci acknowledges that the evidence for these theories is

still weak: there has not been a good double-blind controlled study, lasting

perhaps 20 years, that compares people getting sun exposure to a placebo

group. “But almost every other bit of evidence suggests that vitamin D is

beneficial,” he says. “More sun, and higher rates of vitamin D, correlate with

fewer cancers. It might ultimately prevent only a fraction, perhaps 30 percent,

of those cancers it seems to affect. But that would still be vastly more cases

than any skin cancers it causes. I don’t recommend that people go out and

get sunburned—use common sense. But if the studies hold up, vitamin D will

be a relatively important factor, since it affects such a large number of cancers.

It may be time to rethink the message we are sending about sunlight.”

Heads up, Evan and WalterThere’s gotta be a lawsuit here somewhere. 




The beetle I righted

flies straight into

a cobweb








now my heart is

too loud


         George Swede 

              from Almost Unseen


spider web small


as the spider

goes down the drain

a second thought


      Tom Clausen

       Upstate Dim Sum (2003/I)


Mom’s sunburnt back…

first the youngest touches it,

then the eldest


        Randy Brooks 

                from School’s Out




no answers

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:16 pm


the finished letter

in the envelope…

taken out again






on hold

branches in the window

wave wildly




black envelope 






cell phones

they find each other

in the mall




lingering in bed

the ceiling

has no answers

     from Upstate Dim Sum (2004/I) 


one pink pansy

in a gardenful of red —

first day of high school



[Sept. 12, 2005]




tiny check  I had the NPR coverage of the Roberts’ hearings on from  microphoneG

the opening to the close today.  Talk about lost opportunity costs — 

even three Legal Underground coffee mugfuls of caffeine could not 

forestall a nap after lunch.   Any of the Judiciary Committee Senators

who thought they’d grab the spotlight today with their opening remarks

were deluding themselves. 


tiny check  Speaking of coffee, I followed a pointer from Dave Gulbransen

and Blawg Review 23, to Mediation Mensch, making it my first-timer weblog

for this week.  Having been a mediation pioneer in my local area, I was very

interested in what Bostonian Dina Beach Lynch had to say.  Sadly, I was

disappointed.  First, Dina has not had a post since August 3rd.  More important,

her discussion “Do You Want to Be Starbucks or Seven-Eleven? brought

back all the qualms about branding (and luring the “quality” client) that I

raised in Brand Lex and related posts.   Lynch says her mediation practice

offers “affordable conflict resolution resource,” but she wants to offer the

ambiance of Starbucks, with its prices — and never even mentions whether

Seven-Eleven has good coffee.


tiny check  Katrina News:  Last Friday, I was very impressed with the viewers

of the NY Capital Region’s public radio station WAMC.   We don’t have the

population base of a major metropolitan area, but the station received over

half a million dollars in donations for Hurricane Katrina relief in less than 8

hours of on-air solicitation.  There were 4236 callers.  A lot of people care a lot.


laughing man small  Prof. Bainbridge is looking for humorous legal rules of thumb.

You must have an exact quote and a link.   Make your contribution. 



david ‘Haiku Guy’ lanoue is safe in omaha

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:39 pm

Ever since Katrina hit, we’ve been concerned about our f/k/a friend,

Haiku Guy David G. Lanoue — an English literature professor at Xavier 

University, in New Orleans.  I’ve been visiting his Kobayashi Issa site

daily, in the hope that it would be back on line.  Today, I checked his

Haiku Guy webste, which features his novels and books of criticism, 

and was relieved to find this message from David: 

LanoueSelf  We’re OK Kathleen and I evaculated New Orleans

before  Hurricane Katrina hit. We made it up to my parents’ home

in Omaha.


My university is closed for the time being, which means my

Issa website and the Issa haiku-a-day service are down . .

I feel lucky, blessed, and heartbroken all at once. So many lost

everything, so many friends still MIA.

the city Care forgot
is drowning, Care

I’m thrilled David and Kathleen are fine.  Of course, I’m going to miss my

Issa fix — which so often adds color to our posts. But, I hope this academic

downtime will allow David to finish his current novel Haiku Wars (read the

first chapter here) and translate even more poems by Kobayashi Issa.



Haiku Guy gray  Here are a few haiku and senryu from David Lanoue:



somebody’s little sister

     Bourbon Street





lone church steeple

a rocket

to sunset







no direction is wrong


of the oak



“somebody’s little sister” – Haiku Guy: a novel  (2000)

“lone church steeple” & “no direction” – World Haiku Assn bio page



it’s “terrible two’s” for Prof. B

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:41 am

Last May, when f/k/a had its Second Blogiversary, we said:
“Just about everybody who’s anybody has already had his or her

2nd (or third) weblog anniversary.”  Well, Steve Bainbridge was

one very big somebody whose weblog had not yet reached the

ripe age of two.   

crawl and laugh–
from this morning on
a two year old!


   translated by David G. Lanoue


“blowcandlesN”  As of yesterday, though, Prof. officially

entered its terrible two’s.  Naturally, that may mean an increase

in temper tantrums or bed-wetting episodes. The experts advise an

escalating response when two-year-olds behave badly — Distraction,

Separation, Explanation, Compromise, and (only if he‘s likely to hurt

himself) Punishment.  I’m not one of those Liberals who believes in

spoiling kids.  Nonetheless, I’m inclined to cut Prof. B a bit more slack

as he goes through this next developmental stage. .  


Congratulations, Steve, and thanks for keeping your weblog interesting

and provocative!   That’s no Snow job.



they crinkle

when he’s restless —

the two-year old’s plastic sheets


                dagosan   [Sept. 11, 2005]





empty bottle

a few words

I would like to take back


           John Stevenson

             from Upstate Dim Sum  (2002/I)


                                                                                                                                                     bainbridgePix  two much!



p.s.    On an almost-totally unrelated note, the American Antitrust Institute

has released Comments by Prof. Beth Farmer of Penn State, which were

sent last week to Sen. Arlen Specter on Nominee John Roberts and Antitrust

After going through the available record, Prof. Farmer recommended that

AAI take no position on the nomination as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 

She concluded:

“In general, Judge Roberts’s judicial record in antitrust cases is thin,

his experience as an antitrust litigator and appellate advocate appears

typical of large firm practice, the positions argued in these cases appear

to be within the mainstream of modern antitrust argument, and his scholarly

publications on competition issues are limited. The public record available

to me does not indicate that Judge Roberts harbors a radical view of antitrust,

or indeed that competition law has been one of his specialties. Members of the

advisory board may have worked with Judge Roberts as expert witnesses, co-

counsel or opposing counsel during his career in private practice and with the

Justice Department, and may be able to offer more opinions on his likely record

in future antitrust cases. Based on the record discussed below, I do not recommend

that AAI take any position on this nomination to the Supreme Court.”


wine the old priest dines

                his wine

                just wine


                             David G. Lanoue

                              from the thin curve 


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