Conservatives Liberals Libertarians and the Art of Seeing and Believing

A fried of mine sent me the following bumper sticker:

Conservative: Seeing is Believing
Liberal: Believing is Seeing

Our reply went something like this:

The distinction between Seeing and Believing is an artificial one.

Belief, verily, is the Absence of Proof.
Not Everything we Believe is True.
Not Everything we See is Accurately Perceived.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson so accurately observed:

People only see what they are prepared to see.

Belief and Seeing are thus two sides of the same coin, toss it as you will.

To take a line from computer-speak:

The human doesn’t see things as they are, but as HE is. – Racter

Such is man’s attention to political issues that he neither sees nor believes that there is an invisible elephant. That is, unless of course, that elephant is standing on HIS own big toe.

Hence, people with no income do not complain about taxes. People with income do.

The Conservative “Sees” the Past. Usually, with an outdated pair of spectacles.

The Liberal “Sees” the Future. Usually, with a buggy beta-version of the newest sight improvement gizmo.

The Libertarian prefers to go blind throughout the world rather than accept the obvious.

The REALIST sees the world from the perspective of age, experience, necessity and wishfulness.

In other words, we live in an imperfect world. And thank goodness for that. It makes things ever so much more interesting.

How is the Economy Doing? One Way to Judge is to Check Out the Increasing Crowds at Discount Supermarkets : German Discounter ALDI Surges in the USA

When world leaders or Presidential candidates in the USA make statements about the state of the economy, who is telling the truth?

One way to judge how the economy is doing is to look at the clientele shopping at discount supermarkets. This Week in Germany points to the rising success of food discounters ALDI and Lidl throughout Europe:

Rising food costs surely explain much of the discounters’ success: As in America, the middle classes are trying to save money and are flocking to the cheaper stores to buy their groceries, which can cost some 30 to 50 percent less than at ordinary supermarkets.

But there is also an upcoming surge of ALDI in the United States, starting this fall in Florida, as written at Shopping Centers Today:

In August Aldi announced a major U.S. expansion, promising at least 20 new stores for the central Florida cities of Orlando and Tampa.

Supermarket News calls it the Florida Invasion, with 100 new stores planned in the US this year, and Texas next in 2010.

Doris Hajewski at JS Online pointed to the state of the US economy in connection with the new Aldi surge:

The low-profile, no-frills German grocery chain sees opportunity in the sagging U.S. economy, and Aldi is stepping up both its U.S. expansion plans and its profile.

One US Aldi shopper has described her shopping experience at Aldi this way:

I can honestly say, after that first shopping experience to my local Aldi grocery store, I changed the way I looked at grocery shopping forever. My husband and I left Aldi that day with a loaded shopping cart full of grocery items as well as an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our grocery receipt was almost half of the amount we would have normally spent for the same amount of groceries.

We can confirm that this is also true in Germany, where the current economic realities are the same as in the USA. As written by Carl Cronan:

“People are focused on saving money, and Aldi is perceived as good value,” observes Patrick Berman, senior director, retail brokerage with Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. in Tampa.

David Behm, vice president of Aldi’s Florida division, based in Orlando is quoted as follows:

“Once people see the way we operate our stores and the success of our stores….” he says. “We’ve never pulled out of a single market in the United States.”

The United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts

Via the August 2008 edition of Law@Stanford, a monthly e-newsletter for alumni and friends of Stanford Law School, we were directed to an article by Jeffrey Rosen at the New Republic on the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts, suggesting that Roberts is becoming more successful in getting a more united Supreme Court in terms of their decision-making.

Landmark Federal Circuit Decision holds that Open Source Copyrights are Legally Enforceable

Here is a great Federal Circuit decision on Copyrights in Open Source which the New Media & Technology Law Blog (Jeffrey D. Neuburger) describes as follows:

There are so few judicial opinions dealing with open source licenses that any single one is of great interest, but the pro-open source ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Jacobsen v. Katzer, No. 2008-1001 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 13, 2008) easily goes to the top of the charts of this small category. This is a highly significant opinion that will greatly bolster the efforts of the open source community to control the use of open source software according to the terms set out in open source licenses.

Straight from Information Week and read the rest there:

Open Source Copyrights Legally Enforceable, Appeals Court Rules

The federal appeals court said open source users that do not comply with the software’s strict licensing terms can be sued for copyright infringement — even if the software is free.


A federal appeals court has struck down a lower court ruling that found that open source copyrights may not be legally enforceable if they’re licensed under terms that are “intentionally broad.

Ruling on an appeal brought by software developer Robert Jacobsen, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Wednesday that open source users that do not comply with the software’s strict licensing terms can, in fact, be sued for copyright infringement — even if the software is free.

In the opinion for the Federal Circuit, District Judge Hochberg stated simply and clearly:

“We consider here the ability of a copyright holder to dedicate certain work to free public use and yet enforce an “open source” copyright license to control the future distribution and modification of that work…..

Copyright holders who engage in open source licensing have the right to control the modification and distribution of copyrighted material.“

That takes care of that.

Read the rest at Information Week and at the New Media & Technology Law Blog.

Top 100 Most Prestigious Law Firms in the World According to Vault.com

[This posting has been updated from a previous version.]

Vault.com has just published its annual list
of the Top 100 Most Prestigious Law Firms,
as determined by the Vault.com associate survey.

Our former law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which, in our opinion, remains the top litigation, telecommunications and entertainment law firm in the country, remained at the same overall 13th spot – in the eyes of the surveyed law associates everywhere – that it held last year.

The rest of the Top 100 can be viewed at Vault.com.
Many may want to buy Vault Guides (we have copied the descriptions and links below from the Vault.com site – see the originals with graphic here):

Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms, 2009 Edition

Based on surveys of more than 18,000 associates at over 167 top law firms. It includes profiles of 167 of the nations’ top law firms compiled for jobseekers, as well as exclusive Vault rankings of the Top 100 Law firms, the Best 20 to Work For, the Best 20 Law Firms for Diversity, and regional, practice area, and quality of life rankings.


Get your guide now

Vault Top 100 Law Firm Survey Corporate Research Report, 2009 Edition

Get complete prestige rankings of firms by law school, location and practice area. See how your firm ranks against competitors at law schools, locations, and practice areas most important to your firm. Complete charts for salary, billable hours, bonus rate, and bonus policy with respect to billables, broken down by firm, location and department.


Get the research report now”

There are other Guides as well, such as these:

Vault Guide to the Top New York law firms:
Vault Guide to the Top Boston & Northeast Law Firms
Vault Guide to the Top Chicago & Midwest Law Firms

Vault Guide to the Top Washington, DC Law Firms
Vault Guide to the Top Southern California Law Firms

Vault Guide to the Top Northern California Law Firms

Other blogs posting on this topic:
Above the Law
MarketWatch.com

The Million Dollar Blawg : Calculate the Value of Your Weblog with Dane Carlson’s Business Opportunities Blog Worth Calculator

Dane Carlson’s Business Opportunities Weblog has a blog valuation service – the Blog Worth Calculator – whereby you merely plug in the respective URL and it calculates the value of almost any blog based on “Data from Technorati and inspired by research from Tristan Louis. Photo CC by Cmiper.” The valuation is made on a “link to dollar ratio” based on Louis Tristan’s Doing the numbers on the AOL-WeblogsInc deal.

We now apply the Blog Worth Calculator to a specific selection of blogs on the Internet.

The Million Dollar Blawg
is a near tossup between the Volokh Conspiracy, valued (today) at $1,300,135.62
and the Lessig Blog, valued at $1,243,681.62.

The Wall Street Journal Online Law Blog is stretching toward the million threshold value at $885,763.26 while Balkinization trails at $732,208.38 followed by Instapundit at a value of $597,283.32.

But these are mere valuation lightweights compared to popular political, technological or homespun mass media blogs such as these below (values are subject to change, day to day):

Business Opportunities Weblog – $2,832,297.18 (this amount conflicts with blog’s own widget)
Gawker – $3,929,762.94
Official Google Blog – $4,713,909.00
Seth Godin – $4,802,541.78
Gigazine (ギガジン) 携帯電話を無線LANルーター化してFONのアクセスポイントにできるソフトウェアが登場 – $5,516,120.34
Smashing Magazine – $5,686,046.88
Daily Kos – $5,757,178.92
ReadWriteWeb – $5,963,236.02
Mashable – $6,204,294.60
icanhascheezburger – $6,672,298.26
Ars Technica – $8,185,830.00
Lifehacker – $8,918,602.92
Tech Crunch – $12,785,701.92
Engadget – $11,516,616.00
and, the champion under all blogs,
The Huffington Post – $15,457,669.74

– at least we were unable to find any blog that was valued higher than that:
update, unless one values the worth of Bloglines – $27,878,678.82,
but that is not really a pure blog but rather a blog service)

– using the Blog Worth Calculator, we could not, however, get values for sites like e.g. Gizmodo, Boing Boing, NYT Caucus Blog)

More on this topic at Susan Gunelius, Have You Calculated Your Blog’s Worth?

Networking for the Legal Profession + Ways to Get Wild About Work, Increase Energy, Raise Kids & Improve the Environment, Reducing a Family Footprint

Building a Solo Practice has a posting titled Networking for Shy Lawyers, linking to 25 posts as compiled by the M.A.P. Maker on networking for shy people.

DO LOOK at both those websites.

Building a Solo Practice by Susan Cartier Liebel is very popular among solo practitioners

while M.A.P. Maker Curt Rosengren is a self-named Passion Catalyst

who has written a book aptly titled 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work
and links to blogs like Organicasm
which posts about things like
69 Natural Ways to Increase Your Energy

or (to improve family life after days in the office)
Go Green Early: 100 Tips, Resources, and Networks for Raising Kids the Environmentally-Friendly Way

or (to do your share to improve the environment)
Consumption Culture: 50 Easy Ways to Curtail Your Family’s Footprint

Our favorite in that last list is number 41,
which applies to nearly EVERYONE,
as a means to do a little bit against climate change:
Travel light:
Whenever possible,
walk or bike instead of taking your car.