Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day thought from our friend David Polyansky

One of our best friends, David Polyansky, has written this beautiful piece about Memorial Day and what it really means (here). My husband, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law (and my late mother-in-law) have all served our country proudly, and I count myself so fortunate to have married into the Van Niel family.

Thank you to all of those who have served and who are serving right now, and to the families of those who have and are serving.

For those of you who would like to send some good thoughts to another friend of ours, Danny Phillips, who is currently serving, you can send him email at

HELP! Calling all computer gurus!

Hi, all--have a question for you: I use a MacBook at home and a Windows XP at school. I have an external hard drive, and when I copy things from my MacBook to my Windows, I see a lot of these types of files:

.* (no prefix--just files that look more faint than "real" files).

When I search for these and then try to delete them, my external hard drive won't delete them. Any advice for how to get rid of them or for what causes them? Thanks!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fun reads--Richard Mendales's Collateralized Explosive Devices: Why Securities Regulation Failed to Prevent the CDO Meltdown, and How to Fix It

You can download Richard's paper from SSRN (here). Richard's got strength in both the commercial (Contracts through Bankruptcy) and corporate (Agency & Partnership, Corporations, and Securities Regulation) sides of business law. One of his courses looks at the ethics issues for transactional (non-litigator) lawyers. I've always enjoyed his stuff.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NYT is absolutely correct about Yucca Mountain

One of today's New York Times editorials points out (here) correctly that the administration's budget for Yucca Mountain, cut almost to the bone, doesn't give anyone the ability to learn about the science of storing nuclear waste. What we need is a real, non-partisan, blue-ribbon panel of scientists to determine what the U.S. should do about storing the waste--not a group of politicians, but people for whom scientific inquiry is a way of life. Bravo to the NYT for recognizing that it's time for scientific inquiry, not for speechifying. It's also important to note that cutting Yucca's budget doesn't move the policy issues forward. Cutting the budget means that the inquiry has to be done on the cheap, which in turn means that we run the risk of not getting the right information about the best approach for storing the waste.

Reasonable minds can differ about the advisability of storing waste, but reasonable minds should be open to scientific study. Let's give scientific inquiry a chance.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court

Personally, I'd love to see U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal (see here) nominated. She's everything I'd want in a USSC Justice: she's exceptionally intelligent & experienced; she's not an ideologue (on either side of the spectrum); she writes like a dream; and she's a thoughtful jurist.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Our latest take on Nevada's budget crisis

We still love it here, but we're concerned about Nevada's future (see here for yesterday's op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun).

Of course, not everyone thinks that we should wait until retirement to leave. My University email inbox had this, um, testy response from a Mr. Ed Chapman (

.......don't you just love the Review-Journal and the Sun when they frequently print pieces by people who whine and compalin [sic] about the"system", [sic] but offer no solutions. If Houston is so wonderful, why don't you move there. Move now, we do not want you here. Just another academic with a law degree. Too many attorneys in Las Vegas anyway, just like there are too many dentists. Go away. No one has asked you to stay here.


Dear Mr. Chapman: It's nice to know that you read the Sun and the Review-Journal. I have actually suggested solutions to the crisis--cut some expenses and add some taxes. Reasonable minds can disagree as to whether a combination of cutting and raising revenue can work. But Jeff and I haven't given up on Nevada yet.