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It’s not like he’s announced his intentions in public, repeatedly

[ 250 ] April 16, 2014 |

An Oklahoma school district just approved a four-year elective called the “Museum of the Bible Curriculum.” It was created by the noted educational theorist — Hobby Lobby President Steve Green — who hopes that learning about the Bible in an “objective” fashion in a “secular program of education” will be mandatory in Oklahoma sometime in the very near future.

“I told you that if I couldn’t bring it in the front door, I was going to sneak it through the back,” Green might as well have said.

Go, Joe

[ 32 ] April 16, 2014 |

Evidently, Biden’s big mouth isn’t always a blessing, but on same-sex marriage it did indeed compel Obama to postmaturely do the right thing, and good for him.

Donald Rumsfeld frightened and confused by US tax code

[ 280 ] April 16, 2014 |

I have sent in our federal income tax and our gift tax returns for 2013,” Rumsfeld wrote. “As in prior years, it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate.”

In his letter, Rumsfeld attributed his ignorance of whether he paid his taxes properly to the complexity of the tax code.

“The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated, that I know I cannot have any confidence that I know what is being requested and therefore I cannot and do not know, and I suspect a great many Americans cannot know, whether or not their tax returns are accurate,” Rumsfeld wrote.

Rumsfeld noted that he was confused about his taxes even though he “spent more money than I wanted to spend to hire an accounting firm.”

“I do not know whether or not my tax returns are accurate, which is a sad commentary on governance in our nation’s capital,” Rumsfeld wrote.

Speaking of complicated tasks, it’s too bad Turbotax doesn’t offer Nation Building software.

(h/t taxprof)

One Pot, One Skillet

[ 94 ] April 16, 2014 |

Last night I made one of my favorite quick, easy one-skillet meals:  Browned Italian sausage simmered with big chunks of bell pepper and onion in a little beer (or wine), chicken stock, and tomato paste. I also threw in some cherry tomatoes and let them burst. It was yummy; it always is.

What are your favorite easy one-skillet or one-pot meals?

Stereotypes about Americans are All True

[ 66 ] April 16, 2014 |

I’m sure this story about an Oklahoma gun range that wants a liquor license doesn’t reinforce what the world thinks about Americans:

From movie theaters to bowling alleys to golf clubs, consumers are accustomed to destinations that come with a full restaurant and bar.
But what about a gun range?

A new Metro business, slated to open this spring, is taking the steps needed to serve liquor on-site.

Owners say the state-of-the art indoor gun range will make history in Oklahoma, although across the country the concept is not new.

At 40,000 square feet co-owner Jeff Swanson says Wilshire Gun will be a full-fledged destination.

“As a group we wanted to build a place, the first one in Oklahoma, where you could go in, shoot, enjoy the retail area and then go to the café,” he said.

The plan calls for 24 firearm lanes, 10 archery lanes, a simulation room, classrooms, and VIP Lounge.

But it’s the cafe that’s raising some eyebrows. Swanson says they want to serve food and alcohol.

“I’ve not seen a business that does the firearms that has a liquor license,” said ABLE Commission spokesperson Capt. Brent Fairchild, “but it’s possible that if they apply they could be the first one.”

Folks with the range insist it can be done safely. They say they’re working with several ranges from California to Texas who have never had a problem.

They just have to ensure folks shoot, then drink, and not the other way around.

It’s impossible to see what could go wrong. On the other hand, it does seem like a likely place for Oklahoma to move their state capitol.

I Dedicate this Post to Scott Lemieux

[ 23 ] April 16, 2014 |

You’re welcome, Scott!!

[SL]: Thanks! (“Bestowed Upon You by Aaron Sorkin,” perfect.) Amazingly, despite being right in my wheelhouse and superbly executed it’s not even my favorite sketch from this year so far:

Comedy Central doesn’t have to look very far to find an eminently worthy replacement for Colbert.

Annual NHL Picks Post

[ 34 ] April 16, 2014 |
This blog didn’t develop tens of ardent fans by ignoring its Sacred Traditions, and hence I cannot ignore my responsibilities.   (Remember that you can be more right than me twice by joining the Playoff Hockey Challenge.)   Let’s get to it:

Ducks – Stars.  The Stars were actually a somewhat better possession team than the 116-point Ducks, and if I were in Vegas I’d  take them at the +160 they’re getting without hesitation.  But even up — I see the Ducks’s superior front-line talent squeaking by the depth of the Stars.  Plus, we were served lunch by Kyle Palmieri’s girlfriend earlier this year, and when picking a close series you just can’t ignore a completely meaningless factor like that.  Ducks in 7.

Avalanche – Wild. The Avs, as I mentioned, could be the Leafs of next year, making the playoffs despite finishing smack in the middle of Calgary and Edmonton in Fenwick close.  (Although they’re also young enough that their performance might well rise up to their record.)  Which doesn’t make them prohibitive underdogs in the first round against a pretty ordinary team starting Mr. Ilya Bryzgalov, who I’m sure will look great if he ever gets to play on a Dave Tippet-coached team in 2011 again.  If Duchene was healthy, I think I’d step on a Jim Corsi hockey card and pick Colorado.  But as is I have to pick the Wild to be the lucky team to be obliterated by the St. Louis/Chicago winner in the next round.  Wild in 6.

Sharks – Kings. This feels like it should be a conference finals matchup, doesn’t it?  Despite their aging core, the Sharks are a damned good team, and this could finally be their year.  But I can’t pick them over the Kings, an extremely well-coached and talented team who are a lot better than their record.  Have I mentioned how much I miss Darryl Sutter?  (As a coach, I mean.  Someone else picking the players — good idea.  Dean Lombardi?  Great idea.)   Kings in 7. 

Blues – Blackhawks.  I really want to pick St. Louis here.  Their (hockey) fans deserve a few breaks, I like Hitchcock and Davidson, and they’ve put together an impressive team.  I wouldn’t worry about Miller’s underwhelming performance since joining the Blues, and in isolation I think people but too much stock in late season records.  In this case, though, the swoon is caused in part by injuries, so while I would certainly take St. Louis over Colorado or Minnesota I can’t take them over the still-outstanding defending champs.  Hope I’m wrong on this one, but Hawks in 5. 

Now, did you think that I would go through this sacred ritual without letting Michael Berube, the World’s Most Dangerous Professor and Grand Poohbah Emeritus of the English Language whose guest-blogging stint and LGM is now mentioned in 4-point font on page 37 of his cv, pick the Prince of Wales East?  Drink your big black cow and get outta here!  Here’s Michael, who unlike me has an actual rooting interest in these playoffs:

Rangers – Flyers. If the Flyers were playing Satan, I would find some good things to say about the Prince of Darkness and the author of all evil and misery. “You know, he was an archangel, and very attractive, too…. who made God the boss of him anyway?” So I am cheering with all my heart for the wealthy, poorly-run, underperforming franchise that keeps hoping its not-quite-A-level players will be bailed out by their spectacular goaltender and keeps trading desperately for former-A-level players long past their prime. You know why? Dave Schultz beating up Dale Rolfe, is why. Yes, it was 40 years ago. No, I’m still not in a forgiving mood. (And yes, I know that there has never been a Berube who got his name engraved onto the Cup, not one in 121 years. So what.) Rangers in 7.

Bruins – Red Wings. There is some interest here, despite the 1-8 matchup: the Red Wings won the season series 3-1, the only team to beat the Bruins three times this year. Apparently their head-to-head numbers are pretty even since their first meeting in 1926: Detroit leads 266-254-95, and Boston has outscored them 1,848-1,846. But due to a combination of conference-shuffling and long stretches of suckitude on both sides since then, they have not met in the playoffs since 1957. One always fears the Red Wings in April and May, if one knows what one is doing, but this is Boston’s year … again. Bruins in 5.

Lightning – Canadiens. Wait, they have hockey in Tampa Bay now? That one is for Scott, who has never completely forgiven me for rooting for the Lightning over the Flames in 2004. But this is different: ten years ago, Tampa Bay was playing a Canadian team. Now they are playing a French-Canadian team. Les Habs protegera nos foyers et nos droits, d00d. But they will do so in a series full of excruciating 2-1 games. Canadiens in 6.

Penguins – Blue Jackets. The Penguins swept the season series; Crosby has lost to Columbus exactly once in his career– during his rookie season. Since then, the Penguins have outscored Columbus 4,914 to 12, or something like that, and have drunk every single Blue Jacket’s milkshake every day. I think here is where I am supposed to say “but maybe talented Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will make a series of it,” but I can’t, I just can’t. Penguins in 4, only because I cannot pick Penguins in 3 and Columbus will concede game 4.

[SL]  I’ll take the Rangers, Bruins, Habs, and — since 1)I can’t agree on all 4, 2)Marc-Andre Fleury, and 3)I’ve been hanging with NERDS, Blue Jackets.

The Archive Project Continues…

[ 16 ] April 15, 2014 |

I’ve now finished restoring the March 2005 archive.  In fairness, the last few days of 3/2005 had survived the changeover, and I’d restored some of the posts in an earlier iteration of this project.  In any case, some stuff of interest from the earliest days of LGM:

It was a very good month. As the April 2005 archive is already complete, I’m now finishing up with June 2004.

OK, now you really cannot be serious

[ 155 ] April 15, 2014 |

Updated below

In a stunning last-minute upset, Erwin Chemerinsky and Carrie Menkel-Meadow’s NYT piece appears to have been nipped at the wire by Oregon Law School professor Rob Illig for top honors in today’s Law Profs Posting Clueless Tone-Deaf Things on the Internet contest. Illig sent a couple of emails around, bewailing a proposal by the dean to dedicate this year’s faculty raise pool to funding public interest sector fellowships for what would otherwise be unemployed grads of the school (Oregon’s employment stats are horrendous).

I’ve watched as our culture has eroded now for almost three years.
Everyone is in everyone else’s business, instead of their own. Everyone
is worried about what everyone else is getting, not what they can
personally contribute. If some professor or professors want to donate
their raise to the students – or to some other worthy charity – that’s
their business. (Personally, i give to Food for Lane Country, Planned
Parenthood, and the United Way. I feel that having given up the chance
at a seven-figure annual income is charity enough for the students, and
I am particularly saddened by hungry children. Maybe I should move that
the recipients of summer stipends donate those funds to the poor and

I believe the children these days favor the acronym WTF? to describe the appropriate reaction to this.

But wait there’s more. In reaction to a commenter pointing out, reasonably enough, that under the circumstances Illig should count himself lucky to have his current job:

No Justin, it’s quite the opposite. The UO and its students are lucky to have me and all the other wonderful university faculty and staff who have sacrificed to be here. It’s time somebody said out loud what a great contribution every faculty and staff member is making to this community And all of us would be making more money at any of our competitor universities.

We know jobs for graduates are scarce, but scaring us away won’t make more jobs appear. And believe me, we’re working hard to help the students. That’s our job.

In my former life, I was an M&A lawyer at a large New York law firm, where I was all but certain to be earning more that $1 million annually. No one can tell me I’m not on the students’ side.

My students are my life. I sacrifice for them every day. Today, I spent the morning trying to get one of them a summer job at Nike. I do the same every day.

But ask yourself how many of those UO graduates would have jobs if I and the other dedicated faculty and staff at this university left.

Illig was an associate at Nixon Peabody, a mid-sized Boston firm, for seven years, so how he knows that he was “all but certain” to end up getting paid like a top rain-making partner is fairly mysterious, as is his belief that there’s a tremendous demand out there right now for former Oregon Law School faculty members who dump their $150,000 jobs in a fit of pique. (How this act of professional self-immolation would depress Oregon’s already abysmal employment results is also left unexplained).

There’s a bunch of other stuff in there about his Summer Sports Institute, the financial struggles of law professors, the ingrates who fail to appreciate the sacrifices he’s making etc., that has to be read to be believed.

Or maybe this is all an elaborate parody.

Update: I suppose it’s a sign of progress that the Chemerinsky/Menkel-Meadow NYT piece has produced nothing but what sounds very much like embarrassed silence from all the top legal academic blogs, not one of which so much as mentioned it today (Normally of course a NYT op-ed regarding the state of legal education would set off a commenting frenzy in our severely self-referential little world).

Playoff Hockey Challenge

[ 22 ] April 15, 2014 |

For connoisseurs of North America’s finer sports, I have created a Playoff Hockey Challenge group. As always, group name is Lawyers, Guns and Money, password zevon, winner will get a piece of high-quality merchandise from our store.

The Worst Person in the World

[ 324 ] April 15, 2014 |

Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, for signing a bill outlawing local communities from raising the minimum wage.

Just For One Day, Maybe

[ 83 ] April 15, 2014 |

This response to Michael Kazin’s strange argument about LBJ (“why didn’t political leaders use the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to attack LBJ over Vietnam? Obviously because they think Vietnam was a peachy idea!”) is apt:

Should LBJ be remembered as a “liberal hero”? If in labeling someone hero, we’re presumed to be ignoring or airbrushing his faults—then of course not. Does anyone really have heroes anymore, at least in this sense? My generation, born at the tail end of the 1960s, has never been able to regard any leader as a hero the way earlier generations did. Our sensibilities and our politics have changed too much since the 1960s. No one can overlook anymore (for example) Washington’s and Jefferson’s slaveholding, Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policies, Lincoln’s and Wilson’s wartime civil liberties records, or FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans. We know these men to be deeply flawed, in some cases to the point where celebrating them produces in us considerable unease. But, ultimately, we still recognize them as remarkable presidents whose finest feats transformed the nation for the good. So if in calling someone a hero it’s also possible to simultaneously acknowledge his failings, even terrible failings, then Lyndon Johnson deserves a place in the pantheon.

But maybe we don’t need to label Johnson a hero. Maybe it’s enough to say he did some heroic things, and that, as the state of American politics today suggests, is rare enough.

The conclusion is correct. The whole idea that we should expect presidents to be heroes is deeply weird and ahistorical. The disastrous second volume of Caro’s LBJ biography is a good illustration of what can happen when you get too far down that particular rabbit hole.

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