The Jury Talks Back


Awesome line from Jake Tapper

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 3:45 pm

From his Twitter feed:

POTUS honors LGBT Pride Month by being out-gay-rights’ed by Cheney

I like this guy more and more each day.  I think he’s the only fair journalist left anymore…

Update: Here’s a link to his story about TAO getting pwned by the angry, hateful old man…

E3 Xbox Press Briefing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 11:23 am

Ok, I though I would write something up about this.  It’s still going on as I type, and has been going for almost an hour, so if I forget something, please forgive.

Beatles: Rock Band – Eh.  I like the addition of harmonizing vocals, but I have yet to buy ANY of the “Band Kit” games, and I don’t see me buying this one either.  I like the Beatles, but not enough to shell out what will likely be $250+.

Crackdown 2 – Eh.  Wasn’t a big fan of Crackdown, but this one does look pretty…  I’d have to see some actual game-play video, but this will probably be a pass for me.

Forza 3 – Looks amazing, but I’m not a racing game fan.  The ability to take HD video from game-play is cool, though.

Left for Dead 2 – set in New Orleans, a classic zombie game from Valve (Counter-Strike, Half-Life games).  This is a very strong maybe for me.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – This game looks AMAZING.  This is a pre-order, release-date shipping for me.  Love First Person Shooters, and Infinity Ward does it as good or better than anyone else.  Definitely a “Limited Edition” pickup.  Release date of 11.10.09

Halo 3: ODST – It takes place in New Mombasa a few weeks before Halo 3, and looks really nice.  Instead of master Chief, you play a member of a spec-force group called Orbital Drop Shock Troops.  I love the Halo franchise, so this is a definite buy for me.  I’ll wait to see what the “Limited Edition” version has, but it’s a strong likely-hood I’ll pick up the “special” edition.  Release date of 9.22.09

Halo: Reach – the back-story to the Original Halo.  No solid date, but 2010 target (likely Fall).

Final Fantasy XIII – First time for the franchise to be on Xbox.  Last year there was a LOT of butthurt from the PS3 fan-crowd, which was awesomely funny to watch.  Not a fan, but it sell big.  Spring 2010 target launch date.

Alan Wake – some kind of supernatural thriller/shooter, which looks amazing.  Game-play looks tight, so it’s a strong maybe for me. Spring 2010 target release date.

Tony Hawk Ride – Yeah, whatever.  I’ll pass.  Skateboard controller?  *rolls his eyes*  I would punch in the face any family member who got this game for me, I would be that offended.

Some stupid Xbox Live Arcade game from EPIC – No thanks.

Joyride – some kind of car racing/stunt game that uses Xbox Live Avatars.  Looks silly, and maybe fun, but I’ll pass.

Splinter Cell: Conviction – Sam Fisher breaks from Echelon, and goes after the people that killed his daughter.  Looks awesome.

Announced partnership with – later this year all Gold members get it at no charge.  This might be neat.

Netflix news – Adding the ability to add movies to your que from the console, without needing to use your computer.  Also, Skye partnership to allow movies and TV in the UK and Ireland, and streaming live sports (cricket and soccer).

Relaunch of Live’s movie service – All HD movies upgraded to full 1080p.  No download delay (streaming?).  Expanding from 8 countries to 18.  Relaunch will tie in with Zune HD marketplace.  Ability to finally to watch with friends over live (Live Party), Movies, TV, and music.  This was announced to be available when the New Xbox Experiance, but the feature was delayed.

Facebook integration on the 360 – friend updates, pictures, “friend-linker” (ties in Gamertags and Facebook friends), Facebook Connect (screen shots from games to Facebook Profile in real time). Comes this Fall.

Xbox integration of Twitter – My life is over.  I will never see the sun again, let alone interact with people face-to-face.  Also hits a console near you this Fall.

Metal Gear Solid Rising – MGS!!!! The entire line of games will come to the 360.  Another Sony Exclusive comes to the Xbox.

Motion control – 360 motion controller?  Better.  Sensors take your body movement as the inputs – full-body motion capture.  A fighting game, a racing game (that includes others as your pit-crew), skateboard game that scans in your board to use (eh), facial recognition, video conference (showing shared shopping?), quiz game (voice recognition), browsing movies with a wave of the hand.  I’ll dig up a link to the video for “Project Natal”.  It’s a peripheral like the HD player, but better.  :)

They give a live Demo of Project Natal – First, the project director looks…  Well, he looks like a tool (receding hairline, zip-up fleece jacket, big sunglasses).  Auto sign-in from facial recognition.  MoCap is used to browse the menus, no controller needed.  “Breakout” type game that allows you to move in game exactly as YOU move (including forwards and backwards.  This looks HUGE.  Slight dig at the Wii (you have to move, you can;t end up on the couch using pre-programed waggle controls).

There’s a lot of demos for this.  There’s a “paint” game.  Voice recognition to pick colors (“grey”, “white”, “Dark brown”).  MS Paint 2.0, basically.  name a color, and you can splash paint around.  Looks silly, but it could be kinda fun (you can use a “stencil” option to have your body make shapes…  the guy and a gal did a pretty good elephant, actually).

Peter Molyneux (fable 2) – talking about how controllers effectively act as a barrier to making a real connection between the player and the game.  Demo about a game actually recognizing voice-based emotion cues. Basically its a proof-of-concept of how Project Natal can add a level of connection to a game.  Actually adds what the system sees and adds it as part of the game (reflection off water).  System looked at a drawn picture, scanned it, and the game recognized the image on the paper…  Peter talks about how this will make games far more immersive (that RP game?  you can SAY the responses instead of just picking from a list).

Well, that’s it….  Press-thingy over.

Update: Added the Project Natal video.

Sotomayor is Going to Embarrass Obama Either Before The Senate or Once She is On the Court — She Is A Legal Lightweight

Filed under: Uncategorized — WLS @ 6:57 am

Posted by Shipwreckedcrew:

As I’m typing this post, I’m listening to the oral arguments before the Second Circuit in Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven firefighters case, which is linked over at the Weekly Standard Blog.   As a veteran of 18 arguments before a federal circuit court of appeals, and the author of 40+ briefs before that court, I’m confident in my judgment that Judge Sotomayor is a legal lightweight.  

[UPDATE:  The link here at has the one hour argument — this is the site that the Weekly Standard blog connected to.]

A simple example — based on my experience — she repeatedly uses incorrect legal terms when precise legal terms are called for.  On numerous occasions she used the phrase “adverse impact” when the precise term under the Title VII jurisprudence is “disparate impact.”

Further, her questions are not penetrating or probing — she simply challenges the advocate with whom she disagrees with her own view and says words to the effect of “Why am I not right?”

I juxtapose this oral argument against the transcript of the oral argument of the same case before the Supreme Court.  What is most striking is that at NO POINT in the 2nd Circuit argument does any judge mention the Supreme Court decisions over the last few years on the question of race-based or race-conscious decision making by governmental entities  — the Michigan law school case (Grutter) and the Seattle Schools case (Parents Involved).

The impact of those decisions on the invalidation by New Haven of it’s firefighters promotions test was the subject of much questioning by the Supreme Court.  The Grutter case upheld the use of race-conscious decisions in some circumstances, and the Seattle Schools case struck down the use of race-conscious decisions in that case, with Justice Kennedy writing a concurrence that laid out a series of race-conscious decisions that would be acceptable to him.  

In Ricci, the Supreme Court justices asked the attorneys for each side to explain whether the New Haven case was more like the Michigan Law School case or the Seattle Schools case.  Their questioning is insightful, challenging, and thought provoking.  Sotomayor’s “questioning” in the 2nd Cir. argument would barely make a first year law school class interesting.

She also regularly misuses the phrase “begs the question”.  She uses it in the fashion of “your answer leads to another question.”    

In fact, “begging the question” is a reference to a circular argument where the conclusion of an argument is found in one of the premises upon which the argument is based — usually implied — and the conclusion relies upon the assumption of that controversial point as being true when it is not conceded by the opponent.   For example — and I’m borrowing this from another website — “Murder is morally wrong. This being the case, it follows that abortion is morally wrong.”  That argument “begs the question” that abortion constitutes murder.  

There are other examples of a laziness in the use of speech when she seems to reach for the use of words that are are an unnecessary flourish, only to use the wrong word:

“We’re not suggesting that unqualified people be hired … but there is a difference between where you score on the test and how many openings you have, and to the effect and to the extent that there is an adverse impact on one group over another so that this first seven who are going to be hired only because of the vagrancies of the vacancies at that moment, not because you are unqualified but because the pass rate is the pass rate, but if your test is always going to put a certain group at the bottom of the pass rate so that they are never ever going to be promoted and there is a fair test that could be devised that measure knowledge in a more substantive way then why shouldn’t the city have an opportunity to try and look and see if they can develop it?”

Again, she uses “adverse impact” when the test under Title VII is “disparate impact”.  Also, she says the “vagrancies of the vacancies” — and its very clear on the audio that she said that – when the word she seemed to want to use is “vagaries.”

Finally, as for her question to counsel as a whole, Justice Alito put a very probing question to the City’s attorney in the Supreme Court on this very subject.  He asked what would happen if the lower court judgments were upheld, and New Haven devised a new test which it validated as being an appropriate test of substantive knowledge that should have no disparate impact — yet the results were exactly the same on the second test.  Could New Haven throw out that test too or would it be stuck?  New Haven’s justification for throwing out the first test was a fear that the failing firefighters would bring a Title VII “disparate impact” suit against the city if it used the first test.  It would run the same risk if it used the second test which produced the same results.

New Haven’s first test — the one that is the subject of this suit — was “validated” prior to it being given, and shouldn’t have produced “disparate” results.  Yet it did.  That led Justice Scalia to wonder if maybe it wasn’t the test, but simply this particular group of test takers.  If the same test takers produced the same or nearly same results in a second test that was validated in the same manner, then there was no “disparate impact” caused by the test — it was caused by the test takers — yet New Haven would have engage in actual discrimination against the white firefighters by forcing them to take the test a second time for reasons of their race.  What if not all the same white firefighters scored at the top the second time, but it was still all white firefighters who scored at the top?  What would the City do about those who should have been promoted under the first test by missed the cut on the second test?

Scalia had one of the best comments in the Supreme Court case when he asked how it was that New Haven could call its decision to throw out the test results as “race neutral”.  The attorney for the city said “We through out everyones’ scores, not just the white firefighters, so our action was “race neutral”.  Scalia mocked — “So, because you threw out the failing scores of the minority candidates that made the decision race neutral”?

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