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Showing posts from November, 2005

Congratulations are in Order

Leo M. Gordon, presently Clerk of the U.S. Court of International Trade, has been nominated to be a Judge of that very Court. He will likely fill the slot vacated by Judge Aquilino who has taken Senior Status. But, that is not the main point. The main point is that for what is very likely the last time in his life, Mr. Gordon is listed next to and ahead of Judge Samuel Alito on this Senate list of nominees.

One Face at the Border. No, two!

It has never been clear to anyone why in the process of making the Department of Homeland Security, half of Customs was carved off into another agency. Previously, we had the U.S. Customs Service in the Department of Treasury. Customs had compliance folks, entry personnel, and investigative agents (known as "Special Agents"). When Customs moved to Homeland Security, it was merged together with Immigration and Naturalization folks and some Agriculture Inspectors. The stated goal was to produce "one face at the border." This required cross training Customs Inspectors for agriculture issues, Immigration inspectors for customs issues, etc. There is a certain undeniable logic in this. But, the Special Agents (and their Immigration equivalents) were moved into a wholly different bureau called Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This has not worked all that smoothly. There is growing pressure in Washington to merge the agencies. That would make sense. Special Agents are

Another Blogger Exposed

Sadly, Underneath Their Robes is no more. This was a great blog that focused on the judges of the federal judiciary the way People Magazine focuses on Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie . The blogger, who went by the nom de blog of "Article III Groupie" and was apparently female, turns out to have been a male Assistant U.S. Attorney from New Jersey. According to this Law.com article, he was frustrated that he received no credit for the great success of his blog. He was voluntarily outed in a New Yorker column by Jeffrey Toobin. Now, following a discussion with his boss, the site is locked down. Too bad we won't be able to follow the Alito confirmation process through UTR.

People who need my services but don't know it.

Prospective client 1: Brooke Burke . According to this New York Times article , Ms. Burke (and other celebrities) have endorsement deals with foreign-based internet gambling sites. These deals are potentially illegal under federal law. Now, I am not a criminal lawyer, but there is a trade law issue here. In March of 2003, Antigua and Barbuda requested WTO consultations with the US to discuss whether US anti-gambling laws prohibiting on-line gambling through sites operated outside the US violated US commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In November of 2004, a WTO panel held that the US had, in fact, violated its commitment to permit free trade in services including gaming. So, it would seem that the US might have an incentive to loosen up these laws and Ms. Burke could keep her gig. Unfortunately for her (and the others including Jesse Ventura and James Woods), the US appealed and won in an April 7, 2005 Appellate Body Report . The report says the US can

Superior It's Said, Never Gives Up Its Whales

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Today is the 30th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald . Those of us who live near the Great Lakes know that they are easily whipped up by storms and can provide treacherous sailing. I have a small sailboat (the one in the picture) on Lake Michigan and, on occasion, I see large ore boats coming and going. They are an impressive sight among the more pedestrian sailboats, fishing boats, and cruisers. Personally, as interesting as a lake passage might be on one of these boats, I have no interest in being somewhere between Milwaukee and Ludington when a storm hits. You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about Great Lakes shipping here . One cool feature on that site is real time ship location reporting. One thing I have never seen in Lake Michigan is a whale. I'll keep looking. Perhaps these folks can help.

Bring Out Your Dead

President Bush just returned from a summit in South America. While there, he unsuccessfully tried to defribulate the comatose talks to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas . This agreement is sort of the Holy Grail of regional pacts. It would link 34 western hemisphere democracies in a loose trade bloc (think NAFTA writ large, not the EU). Cuba, by the way, is one country on the outside looking in. It turns out this is unlikely to happen. The US and Brazil are at loggerheads over agricultural subsidies and Venezuela is not exactly on good terms with President Bush ( or Pat Robertson ) either. The bigger issue for the FTAA may just be that there is a bigger issue: finishing the Doha Round of WTO talks. That also looks like it need life support. The US and EU have made a proposals over the past month to reduce tariffs but neither side is happy with the other's proposal. The EU, driven by the French, insist the the US proposal cuts subsidies too deeply. Still, the US proposal is

Camera Toss (The Blog)

OK, I admit this is silly . It is also not a good way to treat a digital camera. And, I know David Pogue of the NY Times already mentioned it in his blog (which people actually read). But, it is oddly compelling.

Basement Cycling

The bike commuting season is over; at least for me. It is too cold and too dark. I know there is gear to resolve these issues. I am the king of gear. I love gear. I own expensive winter cycling clothes, Neoprene shoe covers, gloves and glove liners. No matter what I wear, my fingertips become painfully cold when it is under 50 degrees outside. As to lights, adding lights to my bike would involve an HID/LED system and I am not up for a $400-$500 accessory just so I can ride at night. My alternative is the basement criterium . I prop my bike up in a trainer not as nice as this one , and then ride for a while. As you might imagine, riding to nowhere in the basement can be painfully boring leaving my mind to wander where it should not. So, if you are similarly afflicted, here are things to do to keep you going for a couple hours: Watch movies involving cycling such as The Bicycle Thief (little actual riding), Quicksilver (crazy messenger riding), Breaking Away (a great movie), The Tr