Daily Archives: April 9, 2017

Marlon Brando Nearly Ruined My Favorite Film

The Passion of Christopher Pierznik

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I’m a huge fan of The Godfather trilogy, so much so that the prevailing negative opinions about the third film led me to write an entire book defending it and other projects and people I think are unfairly criticized. The Godfather Part II is not only my favorite film of all time, but I truly believe it is the greatest American film ever made. It is perfect in every way.

And it was nearly all undone.

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The Passion of Christopher Pierznik

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In January, a big deal was made when HBO began braodcasting The Godfather Epic, a film that combined The Godfather and The Godfather Part II into a single film told in chronological order, from Vito’s early childhood to Fredo’s death. However, it was not the first time this had been done. Far from it.

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6 Reasons Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea

Robert Kelly --- Asian Security Blog

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This is a local re-post of an article I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago.

Even though we are bombing Syria now and Trump wants to look tough and presidential, I do not think we will bomb North Korea. We’ve thought about it for years and always demurred. Trump, for all his bluster, has not changed the long-standing reasons for not attacking, so I still think we won’t do it. Maybe Trump really is erratic and unpredictable, but I’d bet McMaster and Mattis are telling him a lot of the same stuff suggested below – the huge risk of war, Seoul’s vulnerability, trashing of the relationship with China and so on. Are we ready to gamble all that on strikes that might not even work?

The full essay follows the jump:

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A Vision of a Class-Free Society – California Suit Against Uber Makes Little Sense

Truth on the Market

Uber is currently facing a set of plaintiffs who are seeking class certification in the Northern District of California (O’Connor, et. al v. Uber, #CV 13-3826-EMC) on two distinct grounds. First, the plaintiffs allege that Uber systematically deprived them of tips from riders by virtue of how the service is presented to end-users and how compensation is given to the riders in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. Second, the plaintiffs claim that Uber misclassified its drivers – all 160,000 of them in California over the last five years – by failing to give them the legal definition of “employee” and, following from this, deprived said “employees” of reimbursement for things like mileage, gas, and other wear-and-tear on their vehicles (not to mention the shadow of entitlements like benefits and worker’s comp).

Essentially, claim one is based on…

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How Uber uses innovative management tactics to incentivize its drivers: A critical commentary on Noam Scheiber’s “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons”

Truth on the Market

In a recent long-form article in the New York Times, reporter Noam Scheiber set out to detail some of the ways Uber (and similar companies, but mainly Uber) are engaged in “an extraordinary experiment in behavioral science to subtly entice an independent work force to maximize its growth.”

That characterization seems innocuous enough, but it is apparent early on that Scheiber’s aim is not only to inform but also, if not primarily, to deride these efforts. The title of the piece, in fact, sets the tone:

How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons

Uber and its relationship with its drivers are variously described by Scheiber in the piece as secretive, coercive, manipulative, dominating, and exploitative, among other things. As Schreiber describes his article, it sets out to reveal how

even as Uber talks up its determination to treat drivers more humanely, it is engaged in an extraordinary behind-the-scenes experiment…

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The Semantics of “Sanctuary”: Why Sanctuary Cities are no safe haven

English Legal History

Ben Darlow and Charlie Eastaugh*

Westminster AbbeyTalk of “sanctuary cities” has become flavour of the day in recent months, with a growing interest in their legality and—to the contrary—the unconstitutionality of federal attempts to attack such havens (as demonstrated by a January 2017 Executive Order, analysed by Garett Epps here). Volokh Conspiracy bloggers at the Washington Post have provided insightful commentary in line with the growing interest in this complicated area of constitutional law, including a helpful overview from Ilya Somin here, and executive order analysis here. This week David Post cited the English Legal History Blog, in arguing that the moniker “sanctuary” is misapplied and misleading. We will attempt to support such a claim in more detail.

Contemporary American legal context
Decades-old Supreme Court precedent gives us constitutional context for this issue. First, New York v. United States (1992) made clear that the 10th 

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1867: When democracy came to the Isle of Man?

English Legal History

Peter Edge*

manxcrestThe Isle of Man holds a unique place in English Legal History. From 1266 to the late 14th Century, the Island was alternatively ruled and vied for by Scotland and England. Eventually, the Island came under the rule of the English Crown, but never became part of the United Kingdom, and retained its own legal system, albeit strongly influenced, and at times determined, by English law. The Island today therefore is a self-governing Crown dependency.

The UK Government is responsible for the management of the Island’s defence and external relations generally. The UK Parliament maintains the power to legislate for the Island, although it is disputed whether Acts of Parliament are superior to Acts of Tynwald, the Manx legislature.

Manx Legal History and its inter-relationship with English Legal History is fascinating and is worthy of close study.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the Isle of Man…

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What “Permanent Drought”? California Governor officially declares end to drought emergency

Watts Up With That?

From the “but the media told us the drought was permanent in California” fake news department.

Wired, May 2016: “Thanks El Niño, But California’s Drought Is Probably Forever“. “California is still in a state of drought. For now, maybe forever.” The article gives no support — none — for this clickbait claim. In January Wired attempted to weasel away from their claims by defining drought to mean needing more water than nature provides (“A Wet Year Won’t Beat California’s Never-Ending Drought“). Orwell nodded, unsurprised.

The NYT did no better in “California Braces for Unending Drought“, May 2016. The closest the article comes to supporting their headline is an odd statement by Governor Brown:  “But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence…”  Drought has always been a regular occurrence in California. The governor also said that “California droughts are expected to…

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