18 March 2010

Swimming With Other Sharks

I'm just sticking my head above water for a moment here...

  • Justice Ginsburg presided at a trial of Henry V. Leaving aside that Professor Dinh was absolutely right when, on behalf of his French client, he proclaimed "The one thing we know as French is how to surrender," this trial would have been better treated as a bifurcated penalty phase. There really isn't a question as to whether Henry was criminally responsible for the slaughter of the French prisoners; the UCMJ (Articles 93, 133, and possibly 118) and US v. Yamashita, 327 U.S. 1 (1946) make it excrutiatingly clear that he bore command responsibility, and therefore was exposed to criminal liability. The only question is whether the penalty (or, in an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, the forum) should be limited by extenuating circumstances, and the poor quality of the evidence available for decision (as Shakespeare's version of the slaughter of the prisoners is, to say the least, somewhat inconsistent with the archeological/anthropological evidence exhumed since from the battlefield).

    Application to GITMO is left as an exercise for the student.

  • Apparently having learned nothing from AmazonFail 3.21, Amazon is now demanding concessions on e-book terms from publishers. Apparently, the DoJ and FTC cannot say "antitrust"... because this particular threat to alter trade custom through use of a superior economic position falls squarely inside a century of law that even the Reagan administration was unable to disturb.

       Meanwhile, Amazon continues to sell books of dubious value, as indicated in the embedded book video. (I will laugh really, really hard if Turdblossom and/or his publisher get this taken down at YouTube as "objectionable content.")

  • Today's goofy, cross-country compare-and-contrast on our irrevocably broken education system: "Reforming" admissions standards at selective public high schools v. "reforming" No Child Left EducatedBehind. As long as the heroes at schools are the varsity athletes and cheerleaders, this one ain't goin' nowhere. Not nohow.
  • The headline is almost more informative than the story at times: "Crime novelist Ian Rankin defends his genre." Leaving aside its inaccuracy (he's not defending all of narrative prose, so he's not defending his genre), it's rather interesting that a German English-language paper feels a need to characterize it as "defending" in the first place...
  • If you really want proof that building an entire society around religion doesn't work, consider the Arab world (and take Sarah Palin with you, please).