Blogging in Berkeley. Notes on news, politics, law, and technology in the US and China. [This blog is inactive. I am now staying busy and having a great time at UVA Law.]
Thursday, June 30, 2005
  KQED | Forum: China's Bid for California Based-Unocal

KQED | Forum: China's Bid for California Based-Unocal: "China's Bid for California Based-Unocal"

Good program with some good experts.
  Taking Justice Souter's Home - Article: "A critic of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that governments may seize private property for economic development is suggesting the process be used to replace Justice David Souter's New Hampshire home with a hotel.

'The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare,' Logan Darrow Clements wrote in a fax to town officials in Weare, N.H., on Tuesday.

Souter, a longtime Weare resident, joined in last week's 5-4 court decision that said governments may seize private property for private development if doing so would benefit a community. "
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
  Riot in Anhui province of China

My Way News:
"BEIJING (Reuters) - Thousands of Chinese rioted in a dispute sparked by a lopsided roadside brawl, set fire to cars and wounded six police officers in an outburst likely to worry communist leaders in Beijing desperate to cling on to power.

The official Xinhua news agency, in a rare report on a local disturbance, blamed Sunday's riot in Chizhou in dirt-poor eastern Anhui province on a few criminals who led the 'unwitting masses' astray.

The violence was the latest in a series of protests which the Communist Party, in power since 1949, fears could spin out of control and become a channel for anger over corruption and a growing gap between rich and poor."
Monday, June 27, 2005
  Bringing the Dead Back to Life

Boffins create zombie dogs | The Other Side | Breaking News 24/7 - (27-06-2005):
"SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.
US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock. "
Saturday, June 25, 2005
  King of the Hill Legal Humor

I recently saw an episode from the second season of King of the Hill about a girl joining a school wrestling team. Peggy and Hank Hill had the following exchange:

PEGGY: Oh, give me a break. I don't see how having a girl on the team would ruin it. Did a woman judge ruin the Supreme Court?

HANK: Yes, and that woman's name was Earl Warren.

How often do you find legal humor in an animated TV show?
  Ashcroft Gone, Justice Statues Disrobe

Ashcroft Gone, Justice Statues Disrobe: "WASHINGTON -- With barely a word about it, workers at the Justice Department Friday removed the blue drapes that have famously covered two scantily clad statues for the past 3 1/2 years.

Spirit of Justice, with her one breast exposed and her arms raised, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law basked in the late afternoon light of Justice's ceremonial Great Hall.

The drapes, installed in 2002 at a cost of $8,000, allowed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to speak in the Great Hall without fear of a breast showing up behind him in television or newspaper pictures. They also provoked jokes about and criticism of the deeply religious Ashcroft."
Friday, June 24, 2005
  Italy seeks 'CIA kidnap agents'

BBC NEWS | Europe | Italy seeks 'CIA kidnap agents':
"Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 13 people they claim are agents 'linked to the CIA'.

The suspects are accused of abducting an Islamic cleric in Milan in 2003 and flying him to Egypt for interrogation.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, was already being investigated in Italy as part of a terrorism inquiry.

Italian prosecutors believe the operation was part of a controversial US anti-terror policy known as 'extraordinary rendition'. "
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
  China's Haier bids $1.28 bln for Maytag

China's Haier bids $1.28 bln for Maytag - Yahoo! News:
"SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Haier Group, the top Chinese appliance maker, and private equity giants Bain Capital and Blackstone Group have bid $1.28 billion for Maytag Corp., the No. 4 U.S. appliance maker, topping an offer from U.S. private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC."
Sunday, June 19, 2005
  Israeli Arms Sales to China

My Way News: "JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel publicly apologized to the United States on Sunday over arms exports to China that have drawn criticism from Washington and strained U.S.-Israeli security ties.

'It is impossible to hide the crisis between Israel and the United States with regard to the security industries. We are doing everything possible to put it behind us,' Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on Israel Radio.

The dispute centers on Israel's sale of Harpy attack drones and other advanced technology to China that the Pentagon fears could tilt the balance of power and make it difficult to defend Taiwan, which Beijing deems a renegade province."
Friday, June 17, 2005
  The Future of Chief Justice Rehnquist - Article: "William H. Rehnquist was tapped to be chief justice 19 years ago today, and while conventional wisdom says his combination of age and cancer won't allow him to stay around for a 20th, some court watchers are not so sure.

They point out that he looks better than he had been, is keeping a regular schedule and, maybe most important of all, still loves his work. All that adds up to the possibility -- still slim -- that he'll confound everyone and stay put, perhaps for another full term.

The Supreme Court has about two weeks left before it adjourns for the summer. Many people who study the Court still say the most likely scenario has Rehnquist stepping down, probably at the very end of the term. That would leave three months for the brutal confirmation battle expected no matter whom President Bush picks as a replacement.

But with Rehnquist back working full-time at the Court and even making social engagements, some are scaling back their predictions. Several people with close ties to Rehnquist and other justices say privately that they aren't sure what he'll do. "
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
  'One way or another'

'One way or another' N.Korea to lose nukes - U.S.:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration, under fire for what critics call its failed North Korea policy, expressed confidence on Tuesday that 'one way or another' Pyongyang ultimately would give up its nuclear weapons.

'One way or another they're not going to have these systems,' said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the top U.S. diplomat dealing with Pyongyang.

'And so the real issue for them is what are the terms under which they'll give them up,' he added."
Sunday, June 12, 2005
  2,000 Year Old Date Seed Sprouts

After 2,000 Years, a Seed From Ancient Judea Sprouts - New York Times: "JERUSALEM, June 11 - Israeli doctors and scientists have succeeded in germinating a date seed nearly 2,000 years old.

The seed, nicknamed Methuselah, was taken from an excavation at Masada, the cliff fortress where, in A.D. 73, 960 Jewish zealots died by their own hand, rather than surrender to a Roman assault. The point is to find out what was so exceptional about the original date palm of Judea, much praised in the Bible and the Koran for its shade, food, beauty and medicinal qualities, but long ago destroyed by the crusaders.

'The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree,' says Psalm 92. 'They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. They shall be fat and flourishing.'

Well, we'll see. Dr. Sarah Sallon, who runs a project on medicinal plants of the Middle East, notes that the date palm in ancient times symbolized the tree of life. But Dr. Elaine Solowey, who germinated the seed and is growing it in quarantine, says plants grown from ancient seeds 'usually keel over and die soon,' having used most of their nutrients in remaining alive.
The plant is now 11.8 inches tall and has produced seven leaves, one of which was removed for DNA testing. Radiocarbon dating in Switzerland on a snip of the seed showed it to be 1,990 years old, plus or minus 50 years. So the date seed dates from 35 B.C. to A.D. 65, just before the famed Roman siege. "
Thursday, June 09, 2005
  Intel Analysts Surprised by Chinese Buildup

Analysts missed Chinese buildup - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - June 09, 2005:
"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Singapore over the weekend that China has hidden its defense spending and is expanding its missile forces despite facing no threats. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed worries this week about China's expanding military capabilities.

Among the failures highlighted in the study are:
+China's development of a new long-range cruise missile.
+The deployment of a new warship equipped with a stolen Chinese version of the U.S. Aegis battle management technology.
+Deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet.
+Development of precision-guided munitions, including new air-to-ground missiles and new, more accurate warheads.
+China's development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.
+The importation of advanced weaponry, including Russian submarines, warships and fighter-bombers. "
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
  Kerry's Yale Grades Released

Bush: 77
Kerry: 76
Bush wins again by a slight margin...

Yale grades portray Kerry as a lackluster student - The Boston Globe - - Washington - News:
"WASHINGTON -- During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.

But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.
In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years."
Friday, June 03, 2005
  San Antonio Mayoral Race -- Why I Support Julian Castro

The seventh largest city in the United States will be electing a new mayor on June 7th. San Antonio has a choice in this runoff election between two candidates who strike a considerable contrast: Judge Phil Hardberger and Julian Castro.

The pseudonymous "Cincinattius" at The Jeffersonian Blog supports Hardberger. I have linked and excerpted his endorsement; it is followed by my own response.

The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture: Why I'm Voting For Phil Hardberger:
"While having followed the mayoral race intensely since the end of 2004/beginning of 2005, it's only been fairly recently that I've come to decide on a candidate. Many, many things go into me choosing who to vote for, and they differ based on the different levels of government. But if there is one solid thread between all of them it is this- the staus quo isn't working at any level of government, anyone reading this blog knows this; we need, broad, bold leadership that is able to bring everyone to the table and challenge the status quo, someone who shows political courage when it is needed(not just as a sideshow), and a person who can help forge compromises- even if that means locking people in a room and kicking their asses until it gets done. Judge Phil Hardberger is the right person to do this as mayor of San Antonio."

Here is my response:

I wish my city could have a candidate like Julian Castro to vote for. Instead, my city (like most cities) is run by an individual who does an excellent job of representing the status quo in the same way that Mr. Hardberger would if he were elected. Nothing in Mr. Hardberger's background or campaign for this office has indicated that he could offer the "broad, bold leadership" that you crave, Cincinnatus, and so I respectfully disagree with your endorsement of Hardberger and your criticism of Mr. Julian Castro.

Pointing out that after a career in politics Hardberger has been able to win the support of some established status quo powers is an unimpressive spin on his establishment bona fides. You have differentiated between process and substance, and yet Hardberger's roll of supporters substantively promises that he will be aligned with more of the same, only more so.

How can one advocate change and a fresh approach and simultaneously be dazzled by the support of established powers in politics that are deeply interested in ingratiating themselves with the candidate they may feel is the safest bet for a win? If San Antonio needs a public servant "who can bridge the gap," then Julian Castro is the man to do it. Selecting a candidate that is beholden to all is not tantamount to having the ability to bring different interests together; in fact it creates for Hardberger an incentive to not "rock the boat" lest he displease one of his contributors.

Your objections to Julian Castro seem like innuendo rather than substance; none of them truly address how Mayor Julian Castro will lead. And sentimentally imagining that Hardberger "sees this as a capstone to his life" seems antithetical to your desire for a mayor that will shake things up and challenge the status quo. This race is not for a lifetime achievement award, it is for mayor of one of the most important cities in the nation. This mayor needs to lead, not be lead out to pasture with an "attaboy" and a mandate to cautiously pursue mediocrity.

I am sure that everyone can respect that you have the integrity to support a candidate that does not apparently fit your own demographic interests. But I hope that everyone will remember when they cast their ballot in this important election that Julian Castro esta de nosotros gente tambien. He is an American, a Texan and a San Antonian that will vigorously pursue the true interests of the people of San Antonio as mayor, and will continue to do so for the rest of his promising political career.


Location: California, United States
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