The next-best thing to getting Guitar Hero III for the holidays (no, we didn’t get it): blending it!
A new website, Open-Government.us, proposes three “open transition” principles for President-elect Obama’s transition to the office of the President. The site, set up by Lawrence Lessig and others, notes the importance of openness and accessibility for the transition process. For example, although Obama’s Change.gov transition site is generally subject to a Creative Commons license, his videos are made available through his Transition Project YouTube account. In turn, YouTube is a proprietary site that does not permit downloading of user content. As noted in the principles, open government requires that citizens be able to copy, remix, and excerpt such materials unfettered from undue proprietary or format restraints.
Here’s a short explanatory video from http://open-government.us/:
Below the break is text with the three principles, also from http://open-government.us/:
When engaging in legal analysis, avoid being conclusory. As I tell my 1Ls, always follow the advice of Dorothy from the song Follow the Yellow-Brick Road (emphasis added):
If ever, oh ever, a Wiz there was the Wizard of Oz is one because
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does.
Always give the “because.” If you state a conclusion (that the Wizard of Oz is a “Wiz”), make sure you give the reasons — i.e., state the issue, rule of law, analysis, and counter-analysis — that support the conclusion. Thus, always make sure you’ve given the “because, because, because.” Why is he a wizard? Because of the wonderful things he does.
Of course, Dorothy’s analysis is still lacking. She says the Wizard of Oz is a Wiz because of the wonderful things he does. What are those things? Explain. Why are those things wonderful? Because . . . . And so on. So Dorothy shows what should be done: always give the “becauses.”
An illustration of what not to do can be found in Monty Python’s classic sketch Argument Clinic. When I was in law school, one of my professors would mock students who engaged in what he called “Monty Python” arguing. In the sketch, Michael Palin buys a five-minute argument. John Cleese, in turn, simply contradicts everything Palin says. Exasperted, Palin argues with Cleese over what is a proper argument:
Palin: An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.
Cleese: No it isn’t.
Palin: Yes it is! It’s isn’t just contradiction.
Cleese: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
Palin: But it isn’t just saying “No it isn’t.”
Cleese: Yes it is!
Palin: No it isn’t!
Cleese: Yes it is!
Palin: Argument’s an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
Cleese: No it isn’t.
Advice part I (life and stress) here.
Advice part II (studying and attitudes) here.
Advice part III (back up your data) here.
Advice part IV (essay exams) here.
Advice part V (conclusory argumentation) here.
Advice part VI (incomplete argumentation) here.
After long day of exam-related stuff, time for a change. Found this: in reaction to Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself in the leg, Morning Joe counts down “Athletes’ Dumbest Moments.” Among the highlights: athletes who can’t play because they injure themselves playing Guitar Hero and Game Boy (ok, video games provides a thread, albeit a mighty tenuous one, to the theme of this site). And Pete Rose, of course.
My addition to M.J.’s list: Superbowl XL QB Big Ben’s near-fatal motorcycle ride.
The piece also recounts some of the antics of Dock Ellis, the colorful Pirates pitcher who admitted (years later) to pitching a no-hitter in 1970 while on LSD. I actually own two Dock Ellis baseball cards. I got them when I was a little kid, years before Ellis admitted to the drug use.
I actually know almost nothing about Ellis (I was young and have never been a big BB fan), but he was quite a character. Here’s an excerpt from a well-written piece from the Dallas Observer:
When the Cincinnati Reds taunted the Pirates after beating them in the 1972 National League Championship Series, Ellis decided to motivate his team by hitting every single batter in the Reds’ lineup. He hit the first three and walked two before he was pulled. He had, in short, that certain combination of raw talent and insanity that very rarely creates Hall of Famers but almost always creates legends.
Later in life, Ellis gave up drugs and focused on helping others:
After more than a decade striking out batters in the majors and turning heads with his infamously surprising behavior and comments, Dock Ellis dedicated his life to making sure kids took a path that leads away from alcohol and drugs, which he struggled with throughout his career.
H/T to Huffington for the vid.