Monday, March 30, 2009

Is the ABA biased or are republicans?

A recent newstory by the New York Times questions the ABA's neutrality on advising the president on the qualifiactions of federal judges. The story brings to light evidence that the ABA is more likely to favor judges nominated by democratic presidents than republican presidents. It then goes on to make the claim that the ABA favors liberal judges over conservative judges.

The New York Time's logic is flawed and they ommit several other considerations which may also account for the disparity. Below are several other reasons why the ABA may favor judges by democratic presidents rather than republican presidents.
  • Republicans are more likely to nominate right-wing judges than democrats are to pick left-wing judges
Republicans have been in power longer than democrats and they may feel that it may be easier to push more ideological candidates through Congress than democrats. Furthermore, there is something about the liberal-tone which is more concilatory. Democrats are therefore more likely to pick centrist judges than extreme ones.
  • Ideologically liberal judges are, on average, more qualified than ideologically conservative judges.
Law professors tend to be liberal. It is clear that they have a strong influence on their students. There are probably more liberal lawyers than conservative ones. Therefore there is probably a larger candidate pool to choose from for democratic judges, and thus better qualified judges.
  • The ideals of the ABA are better matched to liberals.
The ABA highly value equal protection and compassion, ideals that are much more associated with liberal values than conservative ones.

The New York Times article jumps over all of these other factors. The reporting reeks of bias.

Conficker Day is Coming

On April 1, 2009 the Conficker virus will activate and start unleashing its malware on the internet. The virus is already running on over ten million computers, silently awaiting orders. No one knows what those new orders will be, but it can potentially be devastating. Some have hypothesized that Conficker could launch a national cyber-attack or even take down the entire internet.

Up until today, Conficker has been undetectable by anti-malware software and it seems unlikely that a mainstream fix will be available before April 1st. The virus is incredibly powerful: it uses multiple attacks to infect a computer, a genious encryption system to protect itself, and a p2p network to spread its malicous code. Read more about this amazing worm here, and hope that on April 1st the internet keeps on running.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I had the right idea....

In a very strange coincidence, Carnegie Mellon released a report last month that basically did the same analysis that I did in my previous post (with significantly more robust analysis). They basically came up with the same conclusion... that the Volt won't really save you money. Without too much explanation, they took it further doubting that the Volt will significantly reduce emissions too. Read the paper. When you're done, read GM's response.