Per Curiam
-- A man has to do something for a livin' these days

-- Bloggin' ain't much of a living, boy
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Remembering 9/11: Jason Van Steenwyck returns from a hurricane relief mission just in time to post this poem:
First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string
With feathery sorcery; muzzle the note
With hurting love; the music that they wrote
Bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing
Threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing
For the dear instrument to bear. Devote
The bows to silks and honey. Be remote
A while from malice and from murdering.
But first to arms, to armor. Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin wiith grace.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Friday, September 10, 2004
At Ex Parte, I've suggested that quick, decisive action in response to a Beslan-style hostage taking requires setting objectives in advance. As I think about it more, I wonder if one of the lessons of the Beslan attack hasn't been lost in the media (and official) focus on Russian miscues, as opposed to the terrorist tactics.

Consider how the climax of the attack unfolded: Russian officials now believe the first explosion was triggered as the terrorists tried to rearrange the explosives.

And that some of the explosives were reportedly suspended from basketball hoops, high above the gym, while others were planted in such a way as to collapse the structure.

And that the leader of the terrorist showed a willingness to detonate the explosives strapped to individual terrorists.

It's a diabolical setup, really, and anyone contemplating how to "react decisively" to this type of attack should try to envision how the Hollywood ending goes: if Bruce Willis and the Dirty Dozen were trying to kill the terrorists, and free the hostages, what would it take to succeed?

If the terrorists have time to set up this sort of arrangement, I can't figure it out. One possibility is a rapid response, not allowing the terrorists time to set up such a complex explosive arrangement. But it's hard to imagine whether we could really respond that quickly. And so I think this poses a really hard tactical problem, which in turn affects the strategy for dealing with it.

Thursday, September 09, 2004
More lives saved by firearms? The Boston Globe reports that Boston drivers dodged a buffalo yesterday. No, it didn't fly -- it escaped from a livestock trailer. Fortunately, the driver was armed and, alerted by the honking of other drivers, rapidly shot the beast.

The best part of the story? The animal's name: Houdini.

Alas, there's no way to blame this on the incompetence of the state or local highway departments. Unless, perhaps, the trailer became unlatched when it hit a pothole?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Business-trip blogging: While some of my fellow HLS bloggers spent the last weeks of their summer on vacation in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, or simply celebrating blogging anniversaries, I decided to work for my scenery. Most law students are aware that big law firms will treat them to tremendous social experiences over the summer. When my interest in having real responsibility upon graduation and having the freedom to practice in multiple practice areas led me to an in-house counsel's office, I didn't imagine that it would include a business trip to Hawaii. And it almost didn't -- it required extending my work commitment by a week and cancelling my vacation plans. Like those on vacation, however, I do have pictures to share:
Sunrise over Maui, viewed from Haleakala

Trees at sunset on Makena Beach

HLS Classes Begin Tomorrow: And if you didn't know that, and you're reading this blog right now, you've got some time on your hands.

I'm back... perhaps Greg will be soon, too.

Whatever this headline means, it can't be good:
One in Five Germans Wants the Berlin Wall Back

From Reuters:
Fourteen years and a trillion euros after reunification one in five Germans would like to see the barrier that split the country during the Cold War put back, a survey found Wednesday.

A poll by the Forsa institute found a quarter of western Germans wishing the 15 million east Germans were cut off again by the Berlin Wall, living in a different state, while 12 percent of eastern Germans wanted out of the united Germany.

Many westerners said they were disgruntled because they have had to foot the bill for reunification -- 24 percent said they had suffered financially as a result.

In the formerly communist east, which has twice the unemployment as in the west and where wages are still below western levels, one-third said they were no better off financially because of unification and the end of communism.
I suppose it's a good sign that more West Germans favor returning the East to the repressive, totalitarian state of Erich Honecker. And it's good news that 2/3 of East Germans consider themselves better off financially. Hmm.

Hat tip: BlackFive