Thursday, March 30, 2006

Newspaper of the Year!

Today I bought the The Times, as they are the only newspaper that publishes law reports and I wanted to read the report of the House of Lords decision in Regina v. Jones and others. I normally buy the The Guardian and occantionally The Independent, as they pander to my center-left prejudices.

Standing in queue to buy the newspaper I noticed the legend "Newspaper of the year." Odd, I thought, since The Independent also claims that title. So I checked, and sure enough: The Times, The Independent and The Guardian all claim to be "Newspaper of the Year."

Maybe I should claim Non-denial denial as "Blog of the Year"?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Computer Rage.

I wonder what it is I'm really angry at when I scream and yell at my computer?

Like today, when I lost 3 hours of work. Its not the computers fault (it didn't crash, its a mac!). It was me who failed to save the work correctly. I don't know how it happened, I pressed the save button many times, but something went wrong and half my paper is gone.

I guess my anger is really directed at myself, for being incompetent and useless. Maybe it is alright to be angry.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Its official, I'm radical (but not alone).

In today's Times there's a an article about a speech delivered by Michael Mansfield QC on humans rights. The article can be read here.

I'm in complete agreement with the views expressed by Mansfield.

The Times calls Mansfield radical, so I guess I'm also radical!

We radicals rock!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fukuyama article.

Maybe I've judged Francis Fukuyama (author of The End of History and the New Man) without really understanding what he is really is saying.

There is very good comment by Fukuyama on the consequences of instability in Iraq to international relations in today's Guardian. Fukuyama warns against the what he calls "European indulgence in feelgood anti-Americanism" and "bipartisan rise in US nationalism and populism."

Although he uses the label "anti-Americanism" he does so much more intelligent way than most American commentators. He seems to recognize that such feelings arise from a fear of American unilateralism and its use of force.

Fukuyama also states that "By invading Iraq, the Bush administration allowed what should have been characterized as a fight with a narrow extremist ideology to escalate into something the Islamists could claim was a clash of civilisations."

The consequences of this "clash of civilisations" paradigm will, according to Fukuyama, be felt strongest in Europe, which was the breeding ground for both the September 11 leaders and July 7 bombers.

The full comment can be read here.

European Law Lecture

Last night I went to a law lecture at Southampton University with Anthony Borg Barthet, who is a judge in the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ is the court of the European Community and should not be confused with the European Court of Human Rights, which is a court not connected to the EU.

It was an interesting lecture, but very hard to follow as Mr Barthet simply read out a paper he had written. Mr Barthet gave an inside account of how the ECJ deliberates and laid out the recent development of EC law in the field of criminal law.

Especially the question and answer session was very good and I thought it was very interesting to hear a judge from highest court in Europe answer questions of EC law.

Not everyone, however, liked the lecture, perhaps because of Mr. Barthet's non-spectacular speaking style. As one (British) student said on his way out: "No wonder the ECJ is so bad when people like him run it!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Nuffield Theatre

I know no other person who makes more mental errors and 'Freudian Slips' than I do.

Today, in a seminar, I just couldn't pronounce the word 'preparatory', no matter how hard I tried. This is a word I normally can say without much difficulty, although I do speak with a predominantly American accent having been born in the US. The class had a good laugh. I felt stupid.

A feeling which was only strengthened when I discovered that the Nutfield Theatre is in fact the Nuffield Theatre and consequently the Nutfield Theatre Cafe, where my tutorial group hangs out every day, is the Nuffield Theatre Cafe.

Hey, it only took me 6 months to find out the right name!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Grand Inquisitor

I've just come back from a theatre production of 'The Grand Inquisitor' at the Nutfield theatre, which is located on the campus of University of Southampton. The Guardian's review of the play, when it ran at the Barbican in London, can be read here.

The play, which was really good, was a dramatization of the passage of the same name in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

What really hit we was the inquisitor's question/accusation to Christ:

"Or dost Thou care only for the tens of thousands of the great and strong, while the millions, numerous as the sands of the sea, who are weak but love Thee, must exist only for the sake of the great and strong?"

I really wrestle with the thought that God only is interested in the "great and strong", i.e. whose who are able follow Jesus in is love and suffering?

Although it might not be an answers to inquisitor's or my question, I find hope in looking at the disciples of Jesus. They were not "great and strong". The only thing special about them was that they, unlike the other disciples, didn't leave Jesus. They stayed close to the person who had the words of life.

So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." - John 6:67-68. New Revised Standard Version.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic (WBC), which presently is underway, is an attempt by Major League Baseball to create a national team competition in which the best players can participate. The event has given rise to some negative comments in the British press. See for example the comments of Gerald Baker and Bill Center in The Times and Kevin Mitchall in the The Observer.

This is a response to the criticism made by Gerald Baker.

1) "But such is the lack of geographic diversity among the sport’s participants that the traditional nationality requirements for representation seem to have been stretched."

Response: Only the Italian team has taken advantage of US born players to strengthen their team. Also, the eligibility rules of the WBC are not that dissimilar to FIFA rules which allow English football players to play for Wales, Ireland or Jamaica.

2) "After the deeply disappointing showing of the US in the Winter Olympics, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Classic has been devised simply to produce a sporting event the world's superpower is actually guaranteed of winning."

Response: Disapointing showing in the Winter Olympics? The US won 25 medals in Torino 2006, second most ever by the US at a Winter Olympics and second most of any country in Torino 2006. Not that I am counting.

3) The presence of the US territory of Puerto Rico "demonstrates that the organizers have had to stretch not only nationality requirements but even the definition of a nation."

Response: This is a strange comment of two reasons: 1) Puerto Rico already represents itself in the Olympics and in FIFA competitions, and 2) neither England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are independent nations, but are allowed individual representation in most sports. Expect of course in the Olympics!

I admit that the WBC is not a perfect tournament and in my opinion lacks some baseball merit. Not because of player eligibility rules, but because of the pitching rules. I do wonder, however, why he British press always have to be rude and condescending towards everything that does not originate in Britain?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Following the right thing.

Even though I no longer live in Denmark, I still hurts inside every time FC Copenhagen looses a game. Yesterdays 3-0 loss to rivals Brøndby really hurts!

Being a football supporter is, in my opinion, a search for identity and a desire to be part of something bigger than one self.

The writer Nick Hornby states, in the film version of 'Fever Pitch', that becoming a football fan is like joining af family, except in this family every person likes the same people and cares for the same things. He is right.

There is, however, no lasting joy in football. Neither is the identity that supporting a football club gives a real identity. I've followed FC Copenhagen/KB for 26 years through the best of and worst of times.

I willingly leave it all behind to follow the one who was nailed to a tree, died and three days later walked out of the grave! I want to follow Jesus!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Rumsfeld v. Fair

The US Supreme Court ruled today that the Solomon Amendment, which denies federal grants to universities that do not give equal access to military recruiters as they would to civilian recruiters, does not violate the US Constitution. The case was brought by an organization of Law Schools that wanted to restrict access for the military because of discrimination against homosexuals.

The opinion for the majority is written by Chief Justice Roberts and is very good. Especially convincing is the argument that the Constitution actually grants Congress 'broad and sweeping powers' (US v. O'Brien) to 'provide for the common defense' and to 'raise and support armies' (Art. 1 of Constitution). Congress therefore has the right to demand access for military recruiters to campuses directly, or as is the case in the Solomon Amendment, indirectly.

The Chief Justice is, however, a little arrogant when he wrote that the Supreme Court previously have "held that high school students can appreciate the difference between speech a school sponsors and speech the school permits because legally required to do so... Surely students have not lost that ability by the time they get to law school."

Although this is a good judgment, the Solomon Amendment is in my opinion a bad law, as it seeks to force military recruiting into Universities where their policy of discrimination is disliked.

For more about the case see the New York Times here and the opinion of the Supreme Court here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The sky really is falling!

Here's another reason to be discouraged about the future for representative democracy and liberty: the UK governments "Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill."

I am way to tired and depressed to write about it, but check this article from The Times on Tuesday.

The most depressing thing about this Bill is that the newspapers are hardly mentioning it (The Guardian did have an editorial about it on Monday). I really only became acquainted with it at a lecture at my University by a Government Lawyer.

I guess this type of Bill doesn't get very much media attention because it deals with relative boring legislative procedures and does not contain proposals, such as the introduction of ID cards, that will directly affect our lives.