Bad Law Professor of the Week

alan_dershowitzAlan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School. He appears frequently on TV as a talking head. He is known to throw tantrums and has been caught copying the work of others without attribution. I once met him and found him to be short and rather annoying.

More troubling is Professor Dershowitz’s support for torture.

After the events of Sept. 11, with many al Qaida members in custody, Dershowitz says he wants to bring the debate to the forefront. He gave the “ticking bomb” scenario – a person refusing to tell when and where a bomb will go off – as an example of the type of case warranting torture.

Of course, there is no such thing as the “ticking bomb” scenario, but this has escaped Professor Dershowitz’s notice.

Dershowitz, often described as an ardent defender of civil liberties, has been accused of trying to stop the publication of a book that criticized him. More recently, he has tried to intimidate students who want their university to divest from the State of Israel:

Students of Hampshire College are complaining of harassing or intimidating telephone calls. Nothing new there, such calls can be common particularly when the students are leading a political cause. Yet, the alleged caller was Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who they claim was upset over their effort to get the school to divest from Israel. They allege that Dershowitz (who had a child go to Hampshire) has been calling students and threatening to organize a boycott of the school.

I love the smell of free speech in the morning.


Excuse me. How the hell do you boycott a liberal-arts college?

There’s also the Mid-Air Collision Scenario, the Leaking Chemical Plant Scenario, and the First Gentleman Hostage Scenario. Plus whatever Kiefer encounters tonight.

Free speech for the dumb. Free fucking speech.

Another member of the OJ “Dream” Team falls down.

Meh, Dershowitz is just another of those highly functional far-right fucktards that can easily hold incongruent, mutually incompatible beliefs without such bothersome interruptions by like, a conscience. Whatever the issue, he is both for it and against it, etc.

/off topic/

Washington State budget deficit now 8.5 billion (!).

Now we’re facing closures of state run universities, prisons, public and environmental safety programs.

This state will self-destruct in 5… 4… 3… 2..

Original Andrew: Oh hai — Trib reports that regional transit in Chicago (not state or county or city but just the transit system) is now $200m in the hole. And this was after Rod plugged the hole (but not after strongarming senior-citizens-ride-free into the package at the last second). Scenarios range from cutbacks to severe cutbacks to total shutdown.

Uh. Oh.

@chicago bureau: My favorite CTA story of the day is that the city bid on the 2016 Olympics without any major infrastructure improvement on the public transit system. Good luck with that! I am seriously hoping this reaches ‘Epic Fail’ status before Oct. 2 so we can all just move on.

@chicago bureau: Am I out of my mind, or are the senior citizens the only ones with money left?

@chicago bureau & @homofascist:

Will the Obama$bux$ help?

Our legislature’s “Oh shit!” moment came this weekend when they discovered that the Obama$bux$ can’t be used to shore up our explosive deficit.

I guess we can always burn down the state for the insurance money.

What? Michigan has already tried that and the insurers are bankrupt, too?


@Original Andrew: I am sure that Obama is some way or another can get us some money for public transit. Especially now that Blago is gone we MIGHT be able to get a capital bill passed, although I won’t be holding my breath. The beautiful thing though is that the final Olympic bid has been submitted, and while the IOC said that Chicago’s biggest obstacle was transit related, the Chicago bid committee pretty much said “it is fine the way it is”. Which, if anyone from IOC is actually fucking paying attention, they will be able to smell that bullshit from Belgium.

ADD: The news report specifically says this:

The $158 million hole in the CTA budget a year ago led the transit agency to come up with a doomsday plan that would have eliminated more than half of CTA bus routes, raised fares to as much as $3.25 and resulted in more than 2,400 layoffs.

This time, the new numbers [$213m FAIL] would basically shut down the system if the General Assembly or the RTA failed to provide a solution, CTA officials said.

Chicago 2016. Stir The Soul. If You Can Get To The Soul-Stirring Location Within Three Hours From Downtown.

homofascist: Ixnay on alking about Belgiumtay. They may not be a country by 2016.

I’ll be very, very surprised if (a) there isn’t a major infrastructure bill from the Congress in January 2010 if we win the bid, and (b) potholes will still crop up on Lake Shore Drive the winter after the rehab is done.

Oh, and we got Ray LaHood on the Transportation portfolio. If we get the Games, everything is going to be just fine.

What Fearless Leader homofascist meant to say about public transit is that the Metra Electric rail line provides excellent service to the South Side and southern suburbs.

The scary part about this bid thing is that Chicago may win. Toyko would be 8 years after Beijing. Nope. Madrid would be 4 years after London. Nope. Rio and Chicago seem to be it, and there is a perception that Brazil (a) doesn’t have the money to do much of anything and (b) is devoting whatever money it does have to the 2014 World Cup — which, admittedly, will be teh bomb. And that leaves Chicago.

Cost estimates are just under $4bn, with a $500m reserve. Anyone who believes for a second that should take a swim in the Chicago River as punishment for their stupidity.

@homofascist: He needs to look up “rachmones” and then get him some.

@chicago bureau: The federal surface transit authorization act is coming up again in 2009. Historically, this has been a $450 billion bag of heroin for the highway construction lobby. Many enviro groups are trying to divert some of this into public transit before the road builders go all Tony Montana on us.

Dodgerblue: We’ve nationalized the roads and the airways. But somehow we stick to the antiquated railroad system with frieght companies having right-of-way on their tracks. Which makes Amtrak all but impossible.

It would take about a half hour to create a rail network that covers everything from Minneapolis to San Antonio and most points east of that line. (That, and control over UP, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CN, etc.)

All this Depression talk is depressing. Anyone watch Dollhouse? Good FSM, it sucked. I found that the pilot was a cliched pastiche of cop/spy shows. Also, the premise of the Dollhouse is completely illogical. As the FBI boss dude said, why wouldn’t a billionaire or whoever just hire the specialist that they need? Why would they pay out the yin yang for these Dollhouse people?

I’ve read that the show gets reworked after the third ep, so it will probs improve after that.

Besides, I’m watching solely because I want to lick every inch of Tahmoh Penikett. I’d hit that so hard, he’d have a vision of the Final Five.

@chicago bureau: Re “control over UP, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CN, etc” — litigating against railroads is like banging your head against an anvil. They are not nice people. And a lot of their current legal power comes from a law passed in the administration of (drum roll …….) Bubba Clinton.

@chicago bureau: If we get the games it is going to be a fucking disaster. But I digress.

Indian casino to go insolvent this year? Even gaming is not a safe bet anymore. Thus place is just up the road from me and (thankfully) not one of my clients.,dwp_uuid=e8477cc4-c820-11db-b0dc-000b5df10621.html


I think gaming was a safe bet when it was just Las Vegas and Atlantic City or Cuba. Now casinos are everywhere.


A casino can go bankrupt? Holy shit. I didn’t even know that was possible.

I’ve noticied the oil companies have been suspiciously quiet lately. They’ve probs realized they’re the only people with any money left in America, and they’re afraid we’re gonna follow them home with a sock full of batteries.


It seems all chickens coming home to roost and not in a good way for Cali.

Seems that taking ‘roids, making some money and telling one liners isn’t enough to be the Gubinator of Kali-phonya.

@Original Andrew: @Original Andrew: Debt service, bro, for building a palace for high rollers when it’s grandma in her rollers that keeps the place open.

redmanlaw: Mind you, if it were all slot machines, then they probably would make a profit in any economy. But no, they want to have classy games where the profit margin is less than 8% per play.

How poker rooms are viable is beyond me. Especially the $5 rake per hand places. If you figure that there are, maybe, fifteen hands an hour that hit the $5 max rake — each table makes about, oh, $80-90 per hour on average. And there’s a takeout for the dealer’s wages and FICA and overhead and all that. So say $70/table/hour in pure gaming profit. If you replaced the tables with ten slot machines (one per chair)? At capacity, you could probably make five times that, easy.


Maybe the state can socialize the casinos? Sounds like a WIN WIN WIN!!

@chicago bureau: that makes the $13 mil deficit in my soon-to-be-new home city of PDX look like child’s play, and people up there are NOT HAPPY with the Tri-Met looking to cut both bus and rail lines.

@Original Andrew: Its something law does to you, if you start out with a huge ego. You start to confuse the act of convincing people, a jury, that something is so, with it being so. So long as you win, you are on the right side, yet at the same time, you attribute your winning to your own brilliance and intelligence, and how incompatible are those two beliefs? I won because I am brilliant, I made it happen, yet, my winning proves I was right. Like, if the brilliance of the lawyer is really what determines the outcome of a trial, is that justice? Thats just a modern version of trial by combat, except you send people with big brains in to battle for you, instead of people with big muscles.

Its a wierd mindset. Cognitive dissonance, they want to believe that they won because they are wonderful, but they do not want to believe that the outcome was ever wrong, they want to believe they were on the right side, but if they admit they won because they were on the right side, well, where is the ego gratification in that?

@chicago bureau: Poker brings people in the door, they lose their poker winnings on the other games. These are degenerate gamblers, the more gamblers you get in your doors, the more they will lose to you, its all based in math. Poker has been a huge fad the last 10-15 years, so having a big tournament is like hosting a big boxing match, ya know?

Trump is bankrupt again, his casino operation, anyway, he lost control to his bondholders, they have this crazy insistence on being repaid the money they loaned him.

Almost half of the Atlantic City casinos are in or on the verge of bankruptcy.

@chicago bureau:
As Prommie points out, poker brings people in the door. In the low roller games it gives the old man something to do while his wife pisses away the social security check on the slots.

A lot of the really good high stakes players use thier poker skills to support their gambling “leaks”, usually sports book (because they think they’re smarter than everyone else) or dice (the crack cocaine of gambling).

There was a big move to eliminate table games and poker when the corporate weenies took over Vegas on the grounds of margin per foot, etc. Poker rooms closed. Of course in the rush to maximize profit, they saturated all the joints with slots, so adding another slot is pointless. Adding another revenue stream makes good business sense. And the game has a lot of cachet now with all the TV exposure.

Dealers aren’t very expensive. They mostly work for tips.

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