Daily Office:


Matins: Same-sex marriage will soon be on the books in Maine — barring a wingnut referendum. The governor, previously opposed to the idea although he is a Democrat, had a change of heart. Meanwhile, it’s now up to the governor of New Hampshire to sign a similar bill that has just cleared the Concord legislature.

Lauds: Hey, you’ve been to San Francisco. You love it! What a great city to walk around! Would it surprise you to learn that local architects deplore the lack of “singular iconic buildings”? Would it surprise you to learn that architects from everywhere else are just as fond of San Francisco as you are?

Prime: Marc Fitten, an Atlantan from New York City, has a new book coming out this month, Valeria’s Last Stand. In the course of promoting it, the author will be touring 100 of the nation’s independent bookstores — and blogging about it. (via Maud Newton.)

Tierce: The Marshall-Morrissey defense won two important motions today. As a result, prosecution may look a bit more gratuitously nasty than it have done if jurors had heard the excluded testimony.

Sext: A neat WaPo video on robotic bike parking in Tokyo. Not a joke! (via Infrastructurist)

Nones: Now hear this: foreign nationals will not be permitted to “live off their ill-gotten gains in the US.”

Vespers: Maud Newton reprints “an open letter from a local librarian.”

We are here working for you, New York City. Come in and use the library, check out books, get on the computers, tell everyone how great it is and how much you love the institution, but make sure you tell your politicians that this is an important issue for you — and excuse us if our smiles are a little bit tight.  

Compline: I didn’t even know that the concept had a name until today, but, boy, I’m all for it: Seasteading. You know, camping out on a big oil rig and declaring yourself to be the sovereign state of Wingnutzembourg.


§ Matins. Maine Governor Baldacci’s remarks announcing his change of heart are soundly rooted in the language of civil rights.

“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,” Mr. Baldacci, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview. “But at the same time I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”

It’s worth noting that term limit laws prohibit the governor from seeking another term.

§ Lauds. I’d take San Francisco’s architectural “fabric” any day. I quite often wish that I could. New York may have dozens of “iconic” buildings, but it is home to thousands and thousands and thousands of utterly uninspired dumps, most of which can be borne only because they’re old.

§ Prime. Marc Fitten will almost certainly be visiting a bookshop near you, or at least one that you’ve visited.

§ Tierce. Annette de la Renta was not allowed to repeat Brooke Astor’s explanation for selling the Childe Hassam that was to have gone to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (hearsay?); nor could she discuss the situation that led to her replacing defendant Marshall as Mrs Astor’s guardian in 2006 (technically “irrelevant,” I should say).

A feeling that the prosecution may have overdone its case a bit surfaced in the Times this afternoon. John Eligon’s background piece about Charlene Marshall, “Not on Trial, but Judged,” suggested that sympathies may be tilting slightly in the operatrix’s favor.

Ms. Marshall, 63, has been sitting mostly stone-faced as prosecutors — apparently unconcerned that such testimony might actually make jurors sympathize with her husband, or with her — have invited witness after witness to talk about her.

That’s a memo to prosecutor Elizabeth Loewy if I ever read one. I hope that she reads it.

§ Sext. They don’t say what happen when the thing breaks. Is this the wave of the future? Or another instance of “What craze in Japan, stays in Japan”?

§ Nones. You can just imagine what would have happened to the two Bank of China and their wives if they had been tried at home.

It sounds juicy, but then I always salivate when I hear the phrase “masterminded an elaborate scheme to embezzle.” Will there be a book? A movie? If there is a movie, will we be rooting for the masterminders, and leaving the theatre depressed?

§ Vespers. Regular readers know that I am not a library person. But there was a time in Houston when I almost become one. I spent a lot of time in the old “Spanish” building on the edge of Downtown, roaming the stacks as if the library were a vast used bookstore from which I make occasional borrowings — which in fact is just what it was. And I spent most of my third year at law school in the library, poring over pleadings in law French and trying to get to the bottom of “fines” — precursors of the modern trust.

For the most part, though, libraries make me very uncomfortable. If you ask me, they need a serious re-think. Certainly they ought to appeal to everyone in the community, not just to those who cannot afford to buy their own books.

§ Compline. Christopher Shea writes about it at Brainiac, offering a glimmer of hope that I’ll have an alternative to Australia when calling for the deportation of antisocial reactionaries whose every waking thought is either retrograde or treasonous.

Two hundred years ago, these frisky, restless misfits would have emigrated to the United States, which was big and empty. Sadly, it was a one-off; there is no equivalent territory today. I used to dream about blasting libertarians into space, but there’s no telling what trouble they could get us into from that perch.

In case you think I’m being a bit cross, just read what Patri Friedman, at the Cato institute, has to say about democracy.

Democracy is the current industry standard political system, but unfortunately it is ill-suited for a libertarian state. It has substantial systemic flaws, which are well-covered elsewhere,[2] and it poses major problems specifically for libertarians:

1) Most people are not by nature libertarians. David Nolan reports that surveys show at most 16% of people have libertarian beliefs. Nolan, the man who founded the Libertarian Party back in 1971, now calls for libertarians to give up on the strategy of electing candidates! Even Ron Paul, who was enormously popular by libertarian standards and ran during a time of enormous backlash against the establishment, never had the slightest chance of winning the nomination. His “strong” showing got him 1.6% of the delegates to the Republican Party’s national convention. There are simply not enough of us to win elections unless we somehow concentrate our efforts.

2) Democracy is rigged against libertarians. Candidates bid for electoral victory partly by selling future political favors to raise funds and votes for their campaigns. Libertarians (and other honest candidates) who will not abuse their office can’t sell favors, thus have fewer resources to campaign with, and so have a huge intrinsic disadvantage in an election.

Seasteading sounds just right for these omadhauns. What do you think? Is Somalia (ie, cholera) too good for them?

Bon weekend à tous!

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Quatorze says:

    Architects elsewhere recognize San Francisco’s merit precisely because it is an urban fabric of tightly-knit buildings of very good quality that, while separately very good to OK stylistically, together form a perfect environment for gracious urban life. And what a novel picture heading today’s “hours”