Yahoo News has a sociologically interesting interactive chart showing the prevalence of donations to the two major parties by first name (male and female). Once you've checked out your own name, if you have nothing better to do, try to find a female donor name that gives more to the Republicans than the Angies (49%), or a male first name that gives more to Democrats than the Willies (93%).
The New York Times shares its stylebook for the Olympics, with such useful information such as "caldron" not "cauldron," what to hyphenate (pole vault (n.) pole-vault (v.) and pole-vaulter), and what to do with Chinese and Korean names. Personal favorite: "Podium is not a verb."
The ABA Journal convened a jury and came up with a roster of The Theater's 12 Greatest Courtroom Dramas. (No Michigan jurors, but a Michigan winner.) I've seen 11 of the 12 and don't dispute their power, but I may quibble about the order. See the list after the jump:
This is not a law-related post, except to the extent that it involves copyright or the right of publicity. The point of the post is simply an observation that political cartoons have always been a powerful way to influence the public's perception of political figures, but that for most of history political cartooning has required not only someone capable of making sharp political observations but someone who also possesses the relatively rare artistic ability to render a good likeness. (Unless of course you are a Gary Trudeau and have a comic strip with a strong narrative to rely on.) No more. Today, all you have to do is master software for manipulating visual images and you can be in the political cartooning business. You don't need to catch Michael Dukakis looking small in outsized military headgear, you can dress him up however you want to suggest a damaging viewpoint and fuel latent or emerging perceptions. And you don't need the newspapers or posters any more to disseminate the image. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are making regular meals of this technique, and their work lives on not only on their websites and in YouTube but also in screenshot captures spread through Facebook and other social media. It seems to me that we're just in the early stages of this transformation.
"All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.
Apparently there's a some kind of flap about Ann Romney's Pinterest identification of Anna Karenina as one of two books worth reading because, well, the Karenin family was nonchalant about sexual fidelity. As a one-time Russian literature major I feel qualified to weigh in on this question. Imagine, for purposes of evaluating the probative value of this shocking information about Mrs. Romney, the following two cross-examination questions:
Lawyer: Mrs. Romney, you have said that Anna Karenina is a book worth reading. Can we infer from your approval of the novel that you are sympathetic to the main character and have no moral objection to her adulterous behavior?
Lawyer: Mrs. Romney, you have said that Anna Karenina is a book worth reading. In Anna Karenina, all of the several families engaging in infidelity are unhappy, and the main character herself meets a tragic end. Can we infer from your approval of the novel that you agree with Tolstoy that fidelity is the cornerstone of a happy family life?
An obituary in Sunday's New York Times serves as a reminder that spontaneous gestures of kindness can carry enormous significance. Roger Boisjoly was a trouble-shooter with Morton Thiokol, the maker of the rocket boosters for NASA. Months before the Challenger disaster he warned of the danger of the boosters' seals failing if temperatures at lift-off were too cold, precisely what was ultimately determined to have happened. The night before the lift-off, as temperatures plunged below freezing, Boisjoy and other engineers pleaded for the lift-off to be postponed. In the weeks and months that followed he emerged as the key whistle-blower of the investigation by a presidential commission -- a hero to some, but ostracized by many, including colleagues. He began to suffer from depression, headaches, and double vision. He was removed from space work. He sued the company twice, and both suits were dismissed. But here's the kindness part. Boisjoy said that he was sustained by a single gesture of support, a hug from Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, after his appearance before the commission.
Photo (NASA): Ice on the Challenger launch pad, hours before launch
Last Wednesday night's wild night of baseball wild-card elimination games, broadly proclaimed as one of the most dramatic evenings in major league baseball history, inspired what has been proclaimed broadly as one of the best pieces of analysis/writing on baseball, ever. It's by East Lansing native Nate Silver, in the New York Times. If you're a baseball fan, don't miss "Bill Buckner Strikes Again." And one more thing -- Go Tigers, BTY!