Friday, April 03, 2009

Quote of the day...

And perhaps my new favorite Foucault quote. (No, I don't recall having had an old favorite Foucault quote.) From Security, Territory, Population, p. 304, lecture of 22 March 1978.

We should never forget that Europe as a juridical-political entity, as a system of diplomatic and political security, is the yoke that the most powerful countries (of this Europe) imposed on Germany every time they tried to make it forget the dream of the sleeping emperor

Less pithy follow-up:
So, if the emperor never really wakes up, we should not be surprised that Germany sometimes gets up and says: "I am Europe. I am Europe since you wished it that I be Europe."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hither and yon, Santa Fe edition

Tomorrow at the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law conference I'll be presenting Three Perversities of Indian Law.

Monday, March 30, 2009

GRIPP year-end conference: "The Bouchard-Taylor report, one year later: international perspectives/ Le rapport Taylor-Bouchard, un an plus tard: perspectives internationales

* This conference will provide an opportunity to critically reflect on the Commissioners' report, their analysis and recommendations, as well as the broader lessons we might draw from the process. Drawing on their diverse national experiences of multiculturalism, the invited speakers will extend the Québec debate on "reasonable accommodation."

* May 1st and 2nd, 2009
* Université de Montréal (Salle 1035, Pavillon J-Armand Bombardier)

Participants include:

* Tariq Modood, Bristol University
* Jeff Spinner-Halev, University of North Carolina
* Avigail Eisenberg, University of Victoria
* Monique Deveaux, Williams College
* Will Kymlicka, Queen's University
* Éléonore Lepinard, Université de Montréal
* Manuel Toscano Méndez, Universidad de Malaga and CRÉUM
* Jacob Levy, McGill University
* Dominique Leydet, Université du Québec à Montréal

Tentative Program:

Friday MAY 1

8.45-9 Registration, Coffee

9-9.30 Welcome
Daniel Weinstock

9.30-12 Perspectives from English Canada
Avigail Eisenberg
Will Kymlicka
Commentator: Dominique Leydet

12-1.30 Lunch (catered)

1.30-5 Perspectives from Europe
Tariq Modood
Éléonore Lepinard
Jean Bauberot
Commentator: Jacob Levy

Saturday MAY 2

8.45-9 Coffee

9-11 Perspectives from the U.S.
Monique Deveaux
Jeff Spinner-Helev
Commentator: Manuel Toscano Méndez

11-11.30 Break

11.30-12.30 Synthesis
Anna Carastathis

* Please note: Although most presentations will be made in English, we encourage passive bilingualism, and individuals may request simultaneous translation as needed.

Please RSVP!

* Admission is free and open to all, but advance registration is required. Please register by Monday, April 20 at the latest by e-mailing Will at

* For more information, please contact Anna by e-mail at or by telephone at 514-343-6111 extension 2932.

* Note: To access the Bouchard-Taylor report, which can be downloaded in French or in English, visit

* Organized by Daniel Weinstock and Anna Carastathis, with assistance from Will Colish and Martin Blanchard, Centre de recherche en éthique de l'Université de Montréal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bush, Obama, and the size of government

As my old friend Todd Seavey details, he and I have made a bet on the growth of government under the Obama and Bush administrations, by three measures, in each case comparing Obama's [first] term with GWB's first term: the change in federal expenditures as a % of GDP over four years, the change in total government expenditure at all levels over four years, and the change in the federal budget, in percentage terms from its starting point, measured in constant dollars.

As will surprise few of either Todd's readers or mine, he's predicting socialist apocalypse under Obama, and I'm... not.

Discussing Obama's budget reminds me to link to this NYT profile of Peter Orszag, who I certainly can't call an old friend since we haven't been in touch at all since high school, but who was a friendly acquaintance from the high school debate team and my partner for one or two tournaments. I liked this bit:

As he heads to his job as White House budget director, he already seems to pulse with energy, but he asks his driver to stop at Starbucks for enormous doses of iced and hot tea. His epic caffeine intake concerned him until he solved the problem with typical Orszagian efficiency: he underwent genetic testing, confirmed that he could safely metabolize large amounts and happily moved on to the next worry.

They can test for that? And what, precisely, counted as "epic?" Peter's probably almost a foot taller than I am; I'm now curious how my intake compares.

And that, in turn, reminds me to finally blog about the most important article from the NYT in the past several days, mentioned to me by several sources. If I were putting up a separate post about it, its headline would of course be "I'm going to live forever... and break some Olympic records while I'm at it: part of a continuing series."
So even as sports stars from baseball players to cyclists to sprinters are pilloried for using performance enhancing drugs, one of the best studied performance enhancers is fine for them or anyone else to use. And it is right there in a cup of coffee or a can of soda.

Exercise physiologists have studied caffeine’s effects in nearly every iteration: Does it help sprinters? Marathon runners? Cyclists? Rowers? Swimmers? Athletes whose sports involve stopping and starting like tennis players? The answers are yes and yes and yes and yes.[...]

Now, Dr. Tarnopolsky and others report that caffeine increases the power output of muscles by releasing calcium that is stored in muscle. The effect can enable athletes to keep going longer or to go faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain’s sensation of exhaustion, that feeling that it’s time to stop, you can’t go on any more. That may be one way it improves endurance, Dr. Tarnopolsky said.

The performance improvement in controlled laboratory settings can be 20 to 25 percent, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. But in the real world, including all comers, the improvement may average about 5 percent, still significant if you want to get your best time or even win a race.[...]

The beneficial effects on exercise, though, remain. Even if you are a regular coffee drinker, if you have a cup of coffee before a workout or a race, you will do better, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. “There is no question about it,” he added.

He puts the caffeine research to use when he trains and competes. Dr. Tarnopolsky is an elite triathlete, ski orienteer and trail runner who has competed at national and international levels. And, he said, he loves coffee: “I love the smell. I love the taste. It’s heaven.”

And before a race? He always has a cup.

I've gotten steadily more athletic over my adult life. I think we now have an explanation as to why that is.