LawPundit is Time Magazine Person of the Year (inter alia)

The phone rang imploringly on Christmas Day.

YOU“, the voice (whose anonymity we protect) said on the phone in a definite and perspicacious tone, “have been selected Time Magazine Person of the Year in this year’s Christmas issue.”

WHAT?” WHAT??

That is the former “Man of the Year” award – it is BIG, although its selective qualities of goodness are questionable given some of the past recipients.

Of course, the LawPundit was incredulous at the news of having been granted this momentous award. The LawPundit is not the type of person that one would count as a gullible sort, never. Quite the contrary, he belongs to the category of law-trained persons whose character is marked by skepticism and autonomy – just ask the gullible archaeologists, Egyptologists, historians of astronomy and Biblical scholars of this world.

In any case, what we lacked here in the instant case were sufficient facts. We simply needed more information. Not wishing to offend the caller, we asked diplomatically:

What was the basis for this award?

The answer, the voice said, was found written in Time itself:

Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I’m going to mash up 50 Cent’s vocals with Queen’s instrumentals? I’m going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you.”

I was flabbergasted.

OK, to be fair and balanced and accurate, it was actually a distant acquaintance who had the 7-foot long pet Iguana that he recently sold because it was terrifying the neighborhood on his evening walks – always on a leash, mind you – but given the recent news about the pending parthenogenic virgin Komodo Dragon “Christmas” births, he had played with idea of getting one of those cute little Indonesian Komodo Dragons as a house pet – until he saw THIS photo, so that he is now settling for a Siamese cat. We note here that the Gallup Poll on this December 21, 2006, released a (pay for play) report on Americans and their Pets, by Frank Newport, Jeffrey M. Jones, Lydia Saad, and Joseph Carroll. Generally, they conclude, things are going to the dogs.

But much of that description of the Person of the Year at Time is otherwise very true. We certainly blog about our state of mind and the state of the nation even moreso, especially since opinions on that latter subject are so diverse and divergent (see State of the Nation with Calvin Ayre of Bodog Nation, Daily Kos: State of the Nation, State of the Nation’s EcoSystems, STAT-USA).

Furthermore, we are definitely among the world champions in “working for nothing” here at LawPundit. We may not be listed yet in the Guinness World Records, but we will be. Never was so much done for so little, but perhaps that is in the nature of blogging, yet.

How right Time is. Could this award be for real? And what did it all mean?

To be on the safe side, we concluded that the Person of the Year award could most assuredly have been given to LawPundit on the merits, and so we thought we would check it out by going to the original sources:

Well, that could fit us. It surely could. We need to check this out. Can you give us an online source on that?

And indeed, the voice told us, there was a direct online connection to TimeHERE.

In fact, it corroborated what the voice had told us on the phone when it said:
YOU have been selected Time Magazine Person of the Year“.

Happy New Year 2007 ! Our Secret Doodle !

Dear Readers,

Father Christmas!

What a wonderful holiday season, especially for J.R.R. Tolkien fans:

It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there ever has been. It turned the North Pole BLACK and shook all the stars out of place… The tap turning on the Aurora Borealis fireworks is still in the cellar of my old house. The North Polar Bear knew he must never, never touch it… Anyway he was nosing around the ruins this morning soon after breakfast (he hides things to eat there) and turned on all the Northern Lights for two years in one go.

Yes, the Sun really took a shot at us in December of 2006. It lit up the sky like the celebrations of fireworks that will be taking place on New Year’s Eve.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year 2007.

In honor of the occasion, we have designed a “Secret Doodle” which contains several secrets.

secret Doodle

1) What is the message of the “Secret Doodle”?

You should be able to ascertain this without too much difficulty as we have made it easy for you to get an Inkling. Be HAPPY. Did we not just post on Happiness? But you might have to take a NEW look. In a pinch this YEAR, you might even engage in a Gobelin count (at least in French).

2) Where do the symbols of the “Secret Doodle” come from?

Is this the writing of a prehistoric “rock art” culture of the type we discuss at some of our other websites? You may want to ask your local mainstream archaeologist or resident expert decipherer for clues to clues, which is their profession. Perhaps these symbols were used by the small, Lilliputianpreviously namelesshobbits (modernly baptized Homo floresiensis) that mainstream science recently claimed to have discovered in Indonesia? Alas, a pipedream species in an academic area of study where fantasy, fiction and myth unwillingly meet the hard hand of evidence. A story for J.K. Rowling?

Another way to find out why the LawPundit’s Secret Doodle “rocks” is to consult your local linguist about rocs and orcs and arks, or as written about Noah’s Ark and rocs in 1604 by Michael Drayton – who in his youth worked as a Page boy for which you have to have a Brain (well, nearly so) :

All feathered things yet ever knowne to men,
From the huge Rucke, unto the little Wren;
From Forrest, Fields, from Rivers and from Pons,
All that have webs, or cloven-footed ones;
To the Grand Arke, together friendly came,
Whose severall species were too long to name
Which may be why we’ve waited ’til this day
Floresiensis as a species to portray!

3) What other special “coding” does the message contain?
You might just try some Google search words for local color or Yahoo some other clues you have already been given to arrive at the doubled rainbow at the end of a pot of gold. What are words to the hues of nature?

Is there really any perceptible difference between a Yahoo and an Orc? and it is not far from Google to Goggle to Gobble to Goblin, now is it? But that is just a play on the alphabet.

We repeat, Happy New Year.

2007. Make this world a better place, if you can.

P.S. We will post the solution in the New Year to our LexiLine Newsletter.

Happiness Is … Living in the Right Country

Adrian G. White, a psychologist at Leicester University in the United Kingdom, has produced a world map of happiness by country which is called A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being (SWB) – see the map at that link.

The New Scientist explains:

According to the analysis, a country’s happiness is closely related to its wealth, along with the health and education levels of its people.

As White writes:

The search for happiness is not new and neither is academic interest in the topic. In 1776 the American Declaration of Independence argued for “certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (The American Declaration of Independence, 1776, as cited in Hawke, 1964). As such, nations have been formed on the basis of the search for happiness, and this desire has been put on a par with the right to life and the right to freedom. In the U.K. interest in happiness was brought to widespread attention with the moral philosophy of Jeremy Bentham (1789) who argued that the purpose of politics should be to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

Political interest in happiness has not diminished in modern times. A recent survey (Easton, 2006) found that 81% of the UK population agreed that the Government’s primary objective should be the creation of happiness not wealth. Earlier this year David Cameron, HM Leader of the Opposition, put happiness firmly on the political agenda by arguing that “It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being” (BBC, 2006).

Just what happiness is, however, may not be so clear….
See, for example:

Finding Happiness – Sunday Times Magazine
Authentic Happiness – Dr. Martin Seligman
The Happy Planet Index by the New Economics Foundation
Interesting there is the Bhutan Study of GNH (Gross National Happiness) using these nine domains as indicators:
living standard, health, education, eco-system diversity and resilience, cultural vitality and diversity, time use and balance, good governance, community vitality and psychological well-being“.
Happiness is mostly Genetic (at Forbes.com you get an ad screen here first)
Happiness is Back – Prospect Magazine
Happiness is the Best Medicine – Wired News
Happiness and Public Policy (blog by Will Wilkinson,
commented by Tyler Cohen in Marginal Revolution)
Happiness: the hippies were right all along – New Economist
Guidelines for National Accounts of Well-Being – Edward Diener
Happiness Quotes
The Happy Guy

Stanford to Hire former Michigan great and former NFL QB Jim Harbaugh of the University of San Diego as its New Head Football Coach

According to an article by AP sports writer Josh Dubow featured at Yahoo Sports, the current head coach of the University of San Diego non-scholarship Division I-AA football team is to be announced later today as the new head football coach at Stanford.

Although our first choice was Larry Kehres of Mount Union, Harbaugh meets the major criteria that we thought Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby should follow in selecting a replacement for former coach Walt Harris: pick a winner and pick someone whose coaching success is not entirely dependent on recruiting or a particular system of football.

In other words, the object was to get someone who can coach football well, who can adjust the style of play regardless of the players available to him, and – although Harbaugh is also an experienced and successful recruiter – someone who is not totally at the mercy of the difficulty of recruiting players to Stanford, where few high school graduates have the academic credentials required to be accepted to Stanford’s academic program.

In other words, Stanford needs a coach who can get maximum performance from his team, retain the fun of the game, and bring spectators into the stadium, even though his recruiting hands are more-or-less tied by the admissions office. No easy task.

Harbaugh may be just the man to do this. The former University of Michigan quarterback – who finished 3rd in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1986, and who played successfully 15 years in the NFL – put up a 29-6 win-loss record as coach of the San Diego Toreros, winning 27 of the last 29 games, including championship of the Pioneer League and an 11-1 record this season, with only a 37-27 loss to the nationally ranked California-Davis Aggies to mar the perfect season. Gaining respect for his coaching prowess at a higher level of college football is, however, another matter, and only time will give us an answer on that question.

San Diego scored 68 touchdowns this year as opposed to only 21 by opposing teams, putting up nearly 500 yards total offense per game – nearly twice that of the opposition – and outscoring the other teams on average by nearly 43 to 13.

The Toreros closed out the year in the inaugural Gridiron Classic with a 27 to 7 win over the 10-2 Monmouth Hawks, champions of the Northeast Conference. As reported by Yahoo:

…this gave San Diego (11-1) the mid-major national championship for the second straight year.

As written at the site of Sean Mayers of St. Peter’s College, 2005 Brooks-Irvine 1AA Player of the Year:

Division I-AA Mid-Major is an unofficial grouping of 22 programs that compete in Division I-AA with limited athletics-related or need-based financial aid. The teams that are included are members of the MAAC Football League, the Northeast Conference and the Pioneer League, which is based mostly in the Midwest. The Sports Network is a wire service that has a long background conducting awards programs and polls for I-AA football.

(Note that the Wikipedia entry “Mid-major” is in need of a mid to major revision).

See the final rankings of the Division I-AA Mid-Majors this year at the Sports Network.

We do not know how long Harbaugh’s biography will remain online at the University of San Diego website, so we reproduce it below for the record from the Torero site:

Jim Harbaugh begins his third year as the University of San Diego head football coach and quarterbacks coach. Last year he guided the Toreros to a program-best 11-1 overall record, the PFL North Division title, the outright PFL Championship, and to the No. 1 ranking for all I-AA Mid-Major programs. The Toreros received the Sports Network Cup for being the No. 1 ranked team in the final poll. Additionally, Harbaugh was the PFL North Division Coach of the Year and a nominee for the I-AA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. Under his direction the Toreros enter the 2006 campaign having won 16 of their last 17 games.

In 2004, his first year, he directed the Toreros to an overall mark of 7-4, including 5 straight wins to end the season. USD finished 3-1 in the Pioneer Football League North Division, good for a 2nd place finish. Five of his players were recognized as All-America; twelve were recognized as All-PFL; eight players were selected to the PFL All-Academic Team; and quarterback Todd Mortensen, the PFL co-Offensive Player of the Year, signed a free agent contract with the Detroit Lions.

Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback who played 15 seasons in the league, played locally with the Chargers between 1999-2000. The 41-year-old Harbaugh, who resides in nearby Coronado, played in 177 league games with 140 starts since originally entering the NFL as a first round pick by the Chicago Bears in 1987. For his career, he completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 yards with 129 touchdowns.

Harbaugh played seven seasons for the Bears and passed for a career-high 3,121 yards for Chicago in 1991. He played for the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-97 and in 1995, achieved career highs in completion percentage (63.7) and touchdown passes (17). While with the Colts he led the team to the AFC Championship game; was voted to the Pro Bowl; was named the 1995 Comeback Player of the Year and the AFC Player of the Year; and was runner-up in the NFL MVP voting. Harbaugh played for Baltimore in 1998, and following his two-year stint with the Chargers closed out his NFL career with Carolina in 2001.

In January, 2005, Jim was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor. Harbaugh, one of the most successful and popular players in the club’s 21-year Indianapolis era, played from 1994-98 with the Colts. He was inducted at halftime of the Colts-Denver Wild Card playoff game. Jim started for the majority of his Colts career, completing 746 of 1,230 passes for 8,705 yards and 49 touchdowns. He won the NFL passer rating title in 1995 at 100.7. Harbaugh joins the late Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Ted Marchibroda and Chris Hinton in the Colts Ring of Honor.

Harbaugh was a four-year letterman at the University of Michigan and finished his college career in the top five in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes. Playing for Bo Schembechler, he was a three-year starter and led the Wolverines to appearances in the Fiesta, Holiday, and Rose Bowl games. As a senior in 1986 he guided Michigan to a No. 2 national ranking while earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors and finishing third in the Heisman balloting.

Over his final eight seasons in the NFL (1994-2001), Jim was an NCAA-certified unpaid assistant coach under his father, Jack, at Western Kentucky University. Serving as an offensive consultant, he scouted and recruited high school student-athletes throughout several states including Florida, Indiana and Illinois. He was involved in recruiting 17 players on WKU’s 2002 I-AA National Championship team. His dad was a football coach for 41 years, including 14-years as Head Coach at Western Kentucky. His brother, John, is currently Special Teams Coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles; and his brother-in-law, Tom Crean, is Head Basketball Coach of Marquette University.

Harbaugh has been very active in Community Service ventures. He has been actively involved with the Harbaugh Hill Foundation, the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children (Indiana University), Western Kentucky University, the Jim Harbaugh Foundation, the Uhlich’s Children’s Home and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Jim, who resides in Coronado, is the father of three kids – sons, Jay and James, Jr., and one daughter, Grace.

NATO Summit in Riga Latvia

We posted recently on the NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia, and would like to point to the blog Science and Technology on the Hill by Brent Eastwood.

Eastwood has a detailed posting with lots of great photos about that Summit, which is well worth a look.

Stanford : our Product is the Future

The December 15, 2006 Stanford Newsletter contains the following great quotation:

“————————————-
HEARD ON CAMPUS
————————————-
“Stanford has a product. A lot of people don’t know this. We produce a product, and our product is the future.”

Brian Carilli, lab designer in the School of Engineering, and one of two recipients of this year’s Marsh O’Neill Award.”

Stanford : our Product is the Future

The December 15, 2006 Stanford Newsletter contains the following great quotation:

“————————————-
HEARD ON CAMPUS
————————————-
“Stanford has a product. A lot of people don’t know this. We produce a product, and our product is the future.”

Brian Carilli, lab designer in the School of Engineering, and one of two recipients of this year’s Marsh O’Neill Award.”