The Science of Counting Crowds
Aug31

The Science of Counting Crowds

Event organizers tend to inflate audience numbers at events because it makes the event look more successful. Critics denounce those numbers for the converse. When the shoe is on the other foot, the rhetoric changes, predictably. Enter the science of estimating crowd size. Steve Doig shares how he estimated a crowd size of 80,000 for the Glenn Beck rally; he was commissioned by CBS news. Conversely, the NYT reports 300,000 — the...

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Supreme Court – Not What You Think: Part II, 19th Century Activism
Aug31

Supreme Court – Not What You Think: Part II, 19th Century Activism

After the election of Thomas Jefferson and the routing of the congressional federalists in the 1800 elections, the federalist dominated Congress reconvened in a lame duck session to pass the Judiciary Act of 1801. It expanded the number of federal circuit courts from the original 3 to 16, reduced the number of Supreme Court Justices from six to five to give Jefferson one less to appoint, and added scores of federal judicial positions....

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The Clocks Are Striking 13
Aug31

The Clocks Are Striking 13

On the same weekend that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and insisted they were “reclaiming the Civil Rights Movement,” Frank Rich — in The New York Times — wrote about the weatlthy trinity who are giving Beck and Palin their financial mojo — Rupert Murdoch, and the Koch brothers, David and Charles. And, wrote Rich, these three are not a new species: You can draw a...

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Obama: Embracing the Orphan
Aug31

Obama: Embracing the Orphan

Taking full blame for the Bay of Pigs debacle, JFK fell back on an old maxim, “Victory has a thousand fathers. Defeat is an orphan.” If the polls are right, Barack Obama has an unblessed event due in November, with no other claimants to paternity amid all the analysis of when wrong in his love affair with the American people that looked so promising two years ago. At this low point, he may want to look back at...

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Supreme Court – Not What You Think: The Early Years
Aug31

Supreme Court – Not What You Think: The Early Years

In conversation with others it has been my observation that most people believe that the United States Supreme Court has always been as it is today, nine justices, hearing only those cases they choose, deciding cases at the appellate level, without political ambition, as the unchallenged arbiters of interpreting the Constitution and devoted to their heavy caseload and their extraordinary impact on the law of the land. Not so. The...

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