Microblog 2008-12-27

Con artists, lawyers, and people who deserve a punch in the face:

  • The best stings, cons, and capers of 2008, as chosen by Wired.  Particularly clever: the FBI’s reverse con of dozens of identity thieves.  And who knew that phone phreaks still exist in the age of the internet?
  • Rod Blagojevich’s attorney seeks to compel testimony from high officials in the incoming administration to resist impeachment, while Patrick Fitzgerald asks Illinois lawmakers to hold back to avoid jeopardizing his criminal case.  Question: assuming Blagojevich is guilty, which is more important, that his impeachment proceed promptly, or that his criminal case proceed without political interference?  Alternative question: Which is more important, good (or at least less corrupt) government in Illinois, or another notch on Fitzgerald’s belt? Final alternative question: if the Obama team was more involved than its own report suggests, why not let things drag out and get the whole story?
  • A blog devoted to people who deserve a punch in the face (potentially offensive images, not-work-safe language). Special favorites: “B**** who talks on cellphone at Holocaust Museum” (yes, I have seen this), and “Passive aggressive emoticon user”;
  • The heroism and defiance of the crew of the USS Pueblo, released from North Korean captivity a little over forty years ago today.  If you click on a link anywhere in this post, make it this one (edit: bad link fixed);
  • Contrary to suggestions from Esquire, Barack Obama is unlikely to end the war on some drugs;
  • Is OSHA unconstitutional? Is seizing privately owned steel mills unconstitutional?  Legal Theory calls this paper “very highly recommended” and I agree;
  • Should Jewish (and for that matter Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist) military chaplains be required to wear a cross? The Navy says yes.  I say that if we’re going to bail out Chrysler we can afford a few pins which depict commandment tablets or crescents See below for a more interesting discussion from Ron Coleman and others, on something I completely misread;
  • The right to have children is fundamental, but we remove dogs from conditions that aren’t as overcrowded as those of the Duggar family of Arkansas;
  • Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:  It’s not just the best book on economic bubbles and downturns ever written. It could be the title of this article on how a leading author on scientific skepticism was fleeced by Bernard Madoff. (Via Crime and Federalism);
  • Speaking of delusions, more details on the methods through which attorney Marc Dreier allegedly stole millions emerge in this Bloomberg story.

Walter Olson will be back soon enough, but I’ll note that I have come to appreciate just how good a blogger he is, and how hard Walter works in keeping this site going over the past few days.  Perhaps you might show him your appreciation? Vote early, and vote often.


  • > Should Jewish (and for that matter Muslim, Hindu,
    > or Buddhist) military chaplains be required to
    > wear a cross? The Navy says yes.

    The Navy has a good point … if the “Jewish” chaplain in question is a “Messianic Jew”, meaning he believes that Jesus was the Messiah!

    How’d you like to be a Jewish sailor and suddenly have this Jewish-star-wearing Navy-approved chaplain start preaching to you that Jesus was the Messiah and if you don’t believe too you’ll be going to Hell? Confusing to say the least!

    Down hereabouts we have a word for people who believe that Jesus was the Messiah. We call them “Christians.”

  • Barak, you appear not to have really read the story — it’s about Christians who are ethnically Jewish (sometimes) but whose religion is simply not Judaism. It has nothing to do with whether the Navy has a stock of insignia for Jewish and other chaplains.

  • The religious insignia case should get a second look from the blogger, as the other two posters have stated, I’m not sure it says what is being presented here.

    The ruling is that Messianic Jews must wear a Christian Cross rather than Jewish regalia; a much finer point than presented, and a decision which has no bearing on the other faiths listed in the post.

  • My bad on the name — Barak P. obviously did read it; I mean SSFC seemed to have missed it.

  • Thanks Ron, as you can see I had already dismantled the bullet after reading your first comment. I’ve directed readers here for discussion.

  • Indeedy I did! No false light here! (Particularly on Chanukah!)