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Sunday, May 04, 2003  

Sunday in Bloggersville

•PBS does bloggers

Angry Bear has the transcript to a PBS broadcast about blogs, I, and maybe you, missed. He also has an opinion: Bloggers don't need editors. Bear says the blogger herself, other bloggers and readers fill that function. He considers the blogging episode on PBS middling.

Josh Marshall posted yesterday that PBS's Newshour would run a piece on blogs last night. Not reading TPM yesterday, I missed the show, but the transcript is up now. Who got the big plugs? Instapundit, Sully, Marshall (also quoted extensively), Salam Pax, John Irons (of ArgMax, but they don't mention the name of his blog). The piece was actually filmed several months ago, possibly explaining why angrybear.blogspot.com didn't make the cut. The story did cite an estimate that there are 5 million blog readers, which means there are approximately 4,999,800 blog readers not yet reading Angry Bear.

The estimate of readers seems low to me. Consider that Atrios' Eschaton had more than two million visitors in less than a year.

•Immunity bill for gun makers fisked

Victor at Balasubramania is keeping us up-to-date on new gun legislation. The bills would make it impossible to hold gun manufacturers liable for injuries or deaths caused by their products most of the time.

The bill requires dismissal of a "qualified civil liability action." A "qualified civil liability action" is defined as an action against (i) a manufacturer or (ii) seller of a qualified product [not sure about this definition] or a trade association, for damages from the use of a gun. The following are excluded form that definition [i.e., may be brought subsequent to the bill's passage]: (i) actions against transferrors (who furnish guns knowing that the guns will be used in violent or drug-related crimes), (ii) actions against sellers for "negligent entrustment" and "negligence per se," (iii) actions against manufacturers who knowingly and willfully violate state or federal statutes re sales and manufacture; (iv) actions for breach of warranty re purchase of the gun; and (v) actions for a design defect re the gun. While negligence per se is not defined (presumably violation of some state gun-related safety statute) the legislation defines negligent entrustment as the supplying of a weapon when the "seller knows or should know" that the person acquiring the weapon is likely to use the product to cause injury.

The proposed legislation can be read here.

•Clueless 'legal experts'

Brad DeLong is nonplussed by bloggers from my neck of the woods who are so Right Wing they don't see the value of procedural protections in the criminal justice system.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the piece I just read by Jack Balkin is the oh-by-the-way revelation in the middle of it that Juan Non-Volokh thinks that the Supreme Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona is "outrageous." It is--Juan Non-Volokh seems to think--appalling that the Supreme Court should make police inform suspects of their rights:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to talk with a lawyer before being questioned, and to have the lawyer present during the questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you before questioning begins.

Much better--or so he seems to imply--to have the pre-Miranda system, in which the well-educated who hung with lawyers knew what the Fifth Amendment meant in terms of what they had to tell the police when, and the rest did not.

Can't say I'm surprised. I haven't added many blogging lawyers or law profs to my blogroll because their Rightward biases are just too apparent. The ideas the blog readership is getting about legal issues are very slanted, with minority positions such as believing the Second Amendment protects private gun ownership considered the norm. (Yes, I know I am supposed to genuflect to Eugene Volokh in the name of politeness, but I am not going to do it.)

Bill Bennett: Gambling man

Rick Heller at Smart Genes has quite a revelation -- a self-appointed crusader for morality has a gambling Jones.

Bill Bennett doesn't do drugs or have extramarital affairs, but he loves to gamble

William J. Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues" and one of the nation's most relentless moral crusaders, is a high-rolling gambler who has lost more than $8 million at casinos in the last decade, according to online reports from two magazines.

This is pretty shocking.

The magazines said that in one two-month period, Mr. Bennett wired one casino more than $1.4 million to cover his losses.

The news has led Rick, who sometimes votes Republican, to limit the offices Bennett is eligible for. He would "oppose his nomination for Secretary of the Treasury."

11:26 AM