Friday, January 06, 2006

The Friday Fantastic Four.



It's time again for the "Friday Fantastic Four." Here goes:

1. This Week's Featured Law-Oriented Blog
Legal Underground. Evan Schaeffer's blawg is one you should definitely spend some time checking out if you haven't previously done so.

In addition to posts about current legal news, Schaeffer also frequently posts links to great trial practice tips from his Illinois Trial Practice blog. The tips are great and well worth the time to review for anyone in practice, regardless of where you are. In addition to all that, Schaeffer is one of the contributing editors of Blawg Review, a great weekly resource reviewing some of the best legal blog posts from the past week. Indeed, Schaeffer authored Blawg Review #38, previously mentioned here.

One of my favorite regular features on Legal Underground is Schaeffer's gadget updates, some of which even pertain to gadgets useful in your practice.

For all of these reasons, Legal Underground is well worth a look. That's why it is this week's featured law-oriented blog.

2. This Week's Featured Legal Commentary

John Dean, former counsel to the President, former Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the House, and former Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and one-time White House lawyer to Richard Nixon, recently posted this piece over on Findlaw. The piece is titled, "George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably;
Both Claimed That a President May Violate Congress' Laws to Protect National Security." I think it's worth featuring this week because it deals directly with the NSA warrantless surveillance program, currently still a pretty hot legal topic.

Dean makes the case that Bush's actions in this instance are comparable to Nixon's actions, for which Nixon was impeached, disgraced, and villified. Dean comments that

Indeed, here, Bush may have outdone Nixon: Nixon's illegal surveillance was limited; Bush's, it is developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope. First reports indicated that NSA was only monitoring foreign calls, originating either in the USA or abroad, and that no more than 500 calls were being covered at any given time. But later reports have suggested that NSA is "data mining" literally millions of calls - and has been given access by the telecommunications companies to "switching" stations through which foreign communications traffic flows.

In sum, this is big-time, Big Brother electronic surveillance.

I think that the accuracy of Dean's assessment is still open to debate. After-all, we still don't really even have a clear picture of what the NSA program was actually monitoring or how extensive it really was. At this time there's still really not enough information to really know how comparable Bush's actions, and purported reasons therefor, really are to Nixon's. I do think, however, that Dean makes some interesting points in this regard that I haven't really heard much commentary about. I've heard the comparisons to Clinton's "violation of the law" and impeachment, but not much attention about Nixon. For that reason alone, I think this commentary is worth taking a look at.

3. This Week's Featured Non-Law-Oriented Blog

Sports Guy's World. Even if it's not exactly, technically, precisely, a "blog." Bill Simmons is phenomenal as a sports-commenter. A variety of topics, going way beyond just your typical sports.

I used to read Sports Guy's stuff all the time. Then I found myself busy, and haven't kept up with his musings lately. But a friend of mine emailed me last night about Simmons' running diary of the National Championship football game. If you've never read anything by Simmons before, go read this. It'll give you a pefect example of Simmons' wit and perspective on the intersection of life, entertainment, and sports, and is very typical of most of his good stuff. For example:


8:21 -- Our celebrity coin tosser tonight ... Judge Smails' wife from "Caddyshack." Whoops, that's Sandra Day O'Connor. Sorry about that, Sandy.
. . .
12:21 -- Young runs for the 2-point conversion. I now have him ranked above every NFL QB except for Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer. Good golly. We also had this exchange right after the conversion:

-- Jackson: "Only 19 seconds to play ... clock didn't move on that play."
-- Fouts: "That's an extra point, it's probably not going to ... "
. . .
12:26 -- In his postgame interview with Holly, Matt Leinart throws out a classic, "I think we're a better football team, they just made the plays in the end," backhanded compliment before heading to the Roosevelt Hotel's pool bar with Nick Lachey. You're right, we shouldn't have played the game, Matt. That was stupid. You guys were better.

So what did we learn? Three things ...

1. Not only is Vince Young the best player in college football, his Rose Bowl performance following the Heisman Trophy ceremony ranked at least an 8.3 on the Vengeance Scale. It's nice to see an athlete back up his own words, isn't it?

2. If your season potentially rides on one first down, and you have a Heisman Trophy winning running back on your team ... well, you might want to have him on the field. It's a little unorthodox, I know. But it's probably a good idea.

3. Pete Carroll will always be Pete Carroll.

Spend a little time browsing around and give Simmons a shot if you haven't read him before. It's good stuff.

4. This Week's "Just Fun" Feature

The Music Genome Project. Pandora's Jukebox. Whatever you call it, it's great. This was previously blogged about by Seth and also recently by Althouse. The same friend of mine who alerted me to Sports Guy's thoughts on the National Championship game (see just above under "This Week's Non-Law-Oriented Blog") emailed me and asked why I hadn't added Pandora to the blog. So here it is. Hope you're happy.
Incidentally, that friend also sent me this Slate article that discusses Pandora and the "hows" and "whys" of it. I found this part of the article particularly interesting:

Although the Genome relies solely on musical attributes, it stumbles onto a surprising number of human connections. Jay-Z's "99 Problems," for instance, yielded a similar, rock-sampling song by his protégé Memphis Bleek called "Everything's a Go" that features a quick, three-bar cameo by—you guessed it—Jay-Z himself. Among the top results for Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog," another of my suggestions, was "Bottle to the Baby" by Charlie Feathers, the man who did the arrangements for Elvis' early Sun sessions and co-wrote his first No. 1 hit ("I Forgot To Remember To Forget").

So go check it out. And remember to get back to work sometime today.

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