Simon van Zuylen-Wood

Larry Lessig, Off the Grid

The superstar law professor is marching across New Hampshire to save democracy. Are you with him?

The jeans were a mistake,” says Lawrence Lessig, the superstar Harvard Law professor. The jeans were a mistake because it’s pouring rain and freezing cold, and despite the best efforts of a billowing green parka his legs are now encased in wet black denim, with another few hours of slogging ahead of him. “I had snow pants,” he says. “I should have just worn them.”

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Paterno owes its success to our preposterous sepia-toned ideal of the coach.

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This year’s Republican Party platform included some unusually harsh anti-porn language. While previous platforms had only gone so far as to condemn child pornography, this year the RNC held that “current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.” Though many in the adult film industry attacked the GOP for its stance, at least one Republican porn star—32-year old Mary Carey, who ran for governor of California in 2002—isn’t yet ready to give up on her party.

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The GOP's embrace of the gold standard isn't just a reversion to nineteenth century monetary theory. It's also a regression to psychological infancy.

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Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker,

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Sitting on my desk is the new book by Time reporter Michael Grunwald called “The New New Deal” all about the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, better known as the "stimulus.” I’m as interested in the Obama administration’s economic programs as the next guy, but I’ve not yet gotten to the first page. Why?

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If Republicans take the White House and both chambers of Congress in November, there’s a good chance they will repeal most, if not all, of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, the law is safe from legal challenges, right? Not so fast. We may see one more last-ditch conservative effort to gut a major portion of the law. Right now, there are small challenges to Obamacare that are making their ways through the courts.

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The investigations were fixed. How else to explain this week’s news that the demonic Roger Clemens was acquitted of lying to Congress about taking steroids, while cancer survivor and national hero Lance Armstrong is now being investigated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency? Depending on what USADA finds, Armstrong could be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles. In fact, neither of these outcomes is altogether surprising.

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We’ve all gotten used to emails from Michelle, Barack, and Sarah Jessica, but starting soon, it will be our cell phones that we’re checking for those dinner invites. On Monday, the FEC allowed political campaigns, PACs, and super PACs to receive cash donations via text message for the first time. There’s good reason to believe such impulsive texts could be a windfall for political campaigns; a January PEW study on text-message donations to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake found that three-quarters of the gifts were spur-of-the-moment and conducted without much deliberation.

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As you know by now, The Plank is back from a two-year hiatus. To mark the occasion, I’d like to set the record straight about some ancient New Republic history. The infamous “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” a headline TNR brought to prominence, is not getting its fair shake. First, some background. Every so often, a savvy journalist introduces an item about Canada with the headline ‘Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.” The joke dates back to 1986, when then-TNR editor Mike Kinsley spotted the headline in the New York Times and defied readers to find one that was more boring.

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