Tuesday, December 26, 2006
What really gets me is the resistance of pro-business types. I understand ideological conservatives' resistance to state-run health care: they're OK with the casualties caused by the vagaries of the market, believing that there are fewer casualties in the long run through the magic of the marketplace. Although they may not like the characterization, the law of the jungle is fine with them. I think that this perspective is simpled minded and idiotic and clearly contradicted by the evidence. But at least they're clear on the ramifications in the short term.
But business types, what's the downside? Rid yourself of the Sisyphean task of paying your employees' health care costs. How many times in the last few years have people publicly griped about the cost to business of skyrocketing insurance premiums? I have a good professional job and my insurance coverage has gotten notably crappier from year to year in the last ten years. So lay down your burdens. The health insurance system now is desperately anti-entrepreneurial. With a wife in school and a 3-year-old, I can not start my own business no matter how badly I want to. Can government-run health care really do any worse than what we've got now?
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Residents who live nearby say that Miller is trying to force the city to buy his land by raising the specter of a development that would make the hillside unsafe and unsightly... Miller's game plan, [critics say], is similar to one he successfully used four years ago in Monrovia, about 25 miles west on the 210 Freeway, where a plan for hillside development met with fierce local opposition. Ultimately, Monrovia citizens voted to tax themselves to buy the property from Miller and preserve it as open space.You got that? He conned people to sell the land with various promises, immediately turned around and evaluated the land at 150% more than he paid for it, then betrayed his promises to blackmail the city into buying the land off of him. And he's supposedly a libertarian-leaning conservative. More like a true welfare queen, if you ask me.
Miller told [the people from whom he had bought the land] that he would build a $1-million bridge spanning a drainage ditch on the property and name it after their brother, Barnard Carrari, who had just died, if they would lower their price by $1 million. Still grieving... they agreed and sold him the land for about $2 million.
Five months later, Miller reported on his congressional financial disclosure statement that the land was worth at least $5 million.
Miller initially told the Carraris he was only going to make modest adjustments to the land and build about 30 homes, Fernandez said. When the family saw his plans for 110 homes — and no bridge named after Barnard Carrari — they were distraught, she said.
"That farm was a family tradition where people went up there and made a day of it," Fernandez said. "And when he broke his word and didn't do all the things he said he would, it just broke our hearts."
Friday, December 22, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Well, no one can accuse The American Conservative of being some squishy soft human-rights-devoted liberal rag. And what do they have to say about our Johnny? Well, it's good stuff:
Yoo’s new book, War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror, reads like a slippery lawyer’s brief submitted to a dim judge who gets all his information from Fox News...A particular juicy quote goes: "Yoo suggested that 'an American attack in South America or Southeast Asia might be a surprise to the terrorists,' since they were expecting the U.S. to target Afghanistan." Yeah, an attack on Iceland also would have been a surprise and for pretty much the same damned reason: South American, Southeast Asia, and Iceland all share the distinction of being in no way related to the attacks of 9/11 nor any of the other terror attacks that have occurred before, on, or since 9/11.
Let's be clear: in the wake of 9/11, there was going to be a war. I was cool with that, seriously I was. I thought the war in Afghanistan was justified and necessary. You can't just allow someone to harbor and support an attack like that and then allow them to say, nah we really don't feel like coughing up the guys that did it. It's like getting malaria from mosquito bites but not dumping out the water puddles because your buddy keeps his goldfish in there. The goldfish gotta go.
And creative thinking is awesome! It's given us Starry Night, the light bulb, and Pop Rocks. But there's creative thinking and then there's plain old making shit up. The idea of attacking South America or Southeast because they would be surprised sails way past the mark of even making shit up: it's just profoundly stupid. Explain to me, please, how this at best dishonest and disingenuous and at worst stupid and evil person merits a professorship at Boalt Hall?
Now, hear me out on this one. It may not really be so, but I think this thought...
This particular series of commercials actually works more to the advantage of the PC than the Mac.
Well, everyone already knows PCs are stuffy, staid, and boring. They're for, as one of the commercials alludes to, balancing your checkbook. Or, as this particular commercial refers to, writing C++ GUIs (never mind that of course the same thing happens on Macs or... no Mac GUIs; but let's just accept the point). We already know this divide: Macs are for creative free spirits, PCs are for stick-up-your-ass fuddy duddies who wear bad sweaters.
But the flaw in these commercials is that "Mac" makes being a creative free spirit seem dull and boring. He's a generic "hip" guy, young with a little scruff, about as alternative and out of the box as back tattoos and belly rings. If you walked past him on the street, you wouldn't think, hey, there goes a creative free spirit, you'd think hey, there goes half the under-30 population of Seattle (he writes from the 39th floor of a tall office building in downtown Seattle on a cold but relatively clear Puget Sound morning). And yes, I'm referring to, basically, the entire male half of the population.
Now look at PC. Yes, he's portly, pasty, with a bad haircut. He's also subversively funny. He's not self-assured and hip, but people can react to the glib and facile superiority of the Mac fellow by feeling more, not less, sympathetic to the PC character. Yes, he's a dork. But he's kind of a fun dork. And putting a sympathetic human face on the PC makes it seem less daunting and less... well, faceless than it otherwise might. Add in the fact that the PC is played by John Hodgman who is quite funny and able to make being a geek seem, if not attractive, at least not quite as bleak a fate as these commercials would want to make it, then I wonder about the actual effect of these commercials on viewers.
And add ironic? I think that iTunes is mildly passable software and QuickTime is utter dreck. As if to prove my point, when I went to the Apple site to check the URL for the ads, QuickTime crashed my browser and I had to start this post over again. As Borat would say: nice.
Update: There's an article on Slate by Seth Stevenson making pretty much the same point.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
What am I talking about? Well, did you know that the U.S. had an airtight plan in Iraq? Oh yeah, it's true! See, when we went in, "we had hoped to have 150,000 to 200,000 Iraqi army forces to help in the security proposition, and those forces melted away at the close of the war." They just melted away!
Or we, uh... fired them. Or something. Guess that took us by surprise, eh?
Really, truly, if you can read this transcript (or better, watch the video) of the interview between Russert and Hadley, you'll be amazed. Russert's normally a total kiss-ass with top-level members of the administration, but he goes all bulldog on the meat wagon on Hadley. And Hadley had... nothing, he's got nothing. Not because Russert was so devious. But because there's nothing for Hadley to have. It has a real last stand kind of feel to it. After this, the administration's protestations to the contrary become a lot like a drunk covered in vomit with the smoking heap of his car wrapped around a pole declaiming his sobriety and ability to drive.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Not really. I don't condone beating people to within an inch of their life. But he's really pushing me.
And yes, I know he changed his fucking name. Stop releasing crap-ass sell-out corporate whore songs like that and maybe I'll pay attention. 'Til then, he's little Johnny Cougar, the corporate fellatist whose small moment of near-significance has long since passed and who now exists only to torment us.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
[I]n many ways this wasn’t about individuals — certainly not in these instances. This was a throw-the-bums (re “Republican”) -out election — even if the guy I am voting for is not a bum... An injustice, but here we are.O, cry me a river, sister. What a whiner. An injustice? Being blamed for the cookie your brother stole is an injustice. Finding yourself accused of leaving a dog turd that your dog didn't actually leave is an injustice. Getting beaten in a democratic (small d) election because people were tired of your bullshit and complicity in unpopular government policies is not an injustice, it's getting fired. You dipshit.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Here's a quick chronology:
- The terror detainee bill was passed and sent to the White House on September 29.
- Congress officially adjourned on that same day.
- The President signed the bill on October 17.
So what's the problem? Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.That's inconvenient.
Update: The problem is in the bit about presented to him. I thought that passing the bill and sending it out of the committee counted as that. Instead, there's a formal parliamentary action for presenting the bill and this bill was presented to the President on October 10. Crap.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Then after that is some work-at-home scam. I didn't really see what they were selling. But their site is www.18work.com.
These are both fairly nonsensical URLs. In fact, it's fair to say that they're obfuscated, deliberately chosen to be cryptic and incomprehensible to non-technical audiences. Go Daddy is kinda incomprehensible (what does it have to do with domain hosting?), but it's simple and it's godaddy.com. If you tell someone to go to gogdaddy.com, they're probably not going to screw it up. www.18.dotsterdots.com is an OK URL for an internal corporate address, to support a particular technical structure, or whatever. But as a consumer site?
Basically only someone who sees the commercial would know what the URL is. No word of mouth, basically. 18work.com is just strange.
But they both have "18" in the URL and fairly conspicuously in the Dots URL. I've seen some other late-night commercials with just Web site addresses. So.. is it just obfuscation to prevent people from being able to tell the address where they were scammed? I don't really have any theories besides that, but it doesn't take a total rocket scientist to know that it would be extremely simple to figure that part of the mystery out.
It's late. I wonder about such things.
Update: The Dotster Dots are named Cool Dot, Smooth Dot, Sweet Dot, Sassy Dot, and Mini Dot. The guy is John. All for less than a dollar a day.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
What it comes down to is that Karl Rove or whoever came up with this is a clever bastard. They put the Democrats in a lose-lose situation. The Democrats' choice came down to this:
- Don't filibuster and/or throw obstacles in the way of these legal debacles. Make a pro forma show of resistance by voting against it. This will lose you votes on the left
- Filibuster and lose votes in the center and even on the right from those who are pissed about the myriad Republican failings in many areas (economy, Iraq, Katrina, general incompetence, etc.) but would still rally back to the GOP if scared with the "weak on terror" shibboleth.
I'm not saying I could have been Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi and stomached not doing everything I could have to stop these betrayals of American principles and morals. Those of us who believe we just had a Reichstag fire moment—with the detainee and torture bills our very own Enabling Act—find it impossible to view such a batch of horribly cynical and damaging provisions through a strictly tactical lens. The unfortunate problem is that the current administration has no such moral foibles. The only defense I can offer the Democratic leadership is that it's hard to wrestle pigs without getting muddy.
Now, I'm not at all confident that Democratic control of Congress will mean that they'll do what's required to stop these measures. After all, even if they take both houses, Bush is still the President and the Democrats will hardly have a veto-proof minority. But, for those of us who oppose the administration, these measures that sell out the very meaning of American tradition, and our on-rushing dictatorship, let's be clear that the blame rests squarely on the GOP. So, on Election Day, drag your heavy heart out of the house and vote Democratic anyways, if not for the Democrats, then against the Republicans.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I also got a nice e-mail from Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report. Apparently, he put a link to my original post in the Daou Report on Salon.com, which is quite nice. My main concern in this instance isn't really driving traffic here, but getting people to make the calls to the so-called leadership of the Democratic Party to try to get them to make a stand on this issue. But however that works is OK with me!
I'm going to write up my experiences on the phones later on...
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
“We’re going to do what we can to limit the amount of daylight between us and them on national security issues in order to neutralize this as a political issue,” a senior Democratic aide said.Why the hell don't the Democrats make it a political issue? Why don't we scream from the highest rooftops, Republicans support torture? I understand not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, tactics and all that, but this is allowing torture to be legalized.
The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. Who do we call? Who do we get to change this wrong-headed notion that allowing torture to be legalized is not an acceptable strategy? If the Democrats' slogan is A New Direction For America, couldn't that new direction include not legalizing torture?!
I strongly urge everyone to contact House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,2 Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Howard Dean at the Democratic National Committee, and Rahm Emanuel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.1 Also, be sure to contact your own representative and senators!! Tell all of them that this is unacceptable.3 They are our last hope to prevent this cynical and horribly un-American legislation from becoming law.
If Democrats don't stand for no torture and no ex post facto legalization of the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the CIA black prison, and extraordinary renditions, then what the hell do they stand for?
Please contact these "leaders" of the Democratic Party and let them know that not opposing these bills is unacceptable. I also plan to contact each of these "leaders" by phone today to press them to action. I urge, beg, plead with you to do the same. Let's flood their offices with protests! Here's the letter that I'm sending to these people, edited for each person of course (this is for Rahm Emanuel; his contact form has an "issue" drop-down list that doesn't include "Torture" as an issue). You're more than welcome to grab this, add your own thoughts to it, and send it on.
Really the issue is TORTURE, not Iraq. But I have noticed that neither you, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, nor Nancy Pelosi has TORTURE listed as an issue on your contact forms.Please let me know about your contacts and what responses you get in the comments here! Thanks!
I am writing in regards to the story in tpmmuckraker.com (http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001601.php) regarding the Democrats' decision to not block the torture and spying legislation. I am absolutely OUTRAGED by this decision. As a loyal Democrat, I have defended instances where the party did not let the perfect be the enemy of the good and made tactical decisions to not press on particular issues with the understanding that this would enable the party to eventually implement more of our agenda.
But if we do not stand against TORTURE, what do we stand against? If we do not stand against the absolute derogation of Americans' 4th Amendment rights, what do we stand against? If the Democrats do not stand up against these bills and stop them in the short amount of time left, then the Democratic Party stands for NOTHING. If this party sells its soul in the cravenly cowardly way on this, the most important moral, ethical, and legal issue in front of Congress, then I have no part in this party. I will cancel the donations I was preparing to make in the run-up to the election. I will cancel my partipication in GOTV efforts (how will answer someone who asks me why they should vote for the Democrats when the party didn't even have enough of a backbone to oppose TORTURE?). I will stay home from the polls this election day. Not taking action on this issue is simply unacceptable, immoral, and despicable.
Update 1: Rahm Emanuel's site doesn't accept e-mails from people outside his district, so you have to go to the contact page of the DCCC. Note that there are no such restrictions on the phone for his D.C. and district office phones (202-225-4061 and 773-267-5926, respectively).
Update 2: Nancy Pelosi's site has the sam restriction as Emanuel's. Her's refers you to the Minority Leader's site, but there's no contact information there. So you can send her e-mail with the express disclaimer that her site says they'll ignore e-mail that doesn't have proof that you're a constituent (for those in S.F., this isn't an issue of course). That means resorting to phones then! Oh, well, not a problem. S.F. is (415) 556-4862 and D.C. is (202) 225-4965. Have at 'em.
Update 3: OK, this is the last update like this. All of the Congresscritters have restrictions on their e-mail forms, so nuts to that. Just call.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
In short, in How the Presidency Regained Its Balance is a stunning tour de force of double-talk and scare tactics in the service of the argument of President as dictator. Yoo conflates the conjectured powers of a war-time President with the antediluvian potentate that supposedly existed before the stranglehold of post-Watergate reforms.
[T]he president... has long intended to make reinvigorating the presidency a priority... But the inescapable fact is that war shifts power to the branch most responsible for its waging: the executive...Yoo basically blows his cover here: oh, we were planning on this anyways; the war just came along and gave us an initial justification. Because note well that the rationale appeals to the President's war efforts, but that the overall motive is a peace-time one. The root of this problem lies in the complacency of a torpid and secure body politic:
The changes of the 1970’s occurred largely because we had no serious national security threats to United States soil, but plenty of paranoia in the wake of Richard Nixon’s use of national security agencies to spy on political opponents.Let's think about that: no serious national security threats. Not like now, where someone might be able to kill 3,000 people! Back then, all you had was the Soviet Union, which we were assured repeatedly by the conservative ancestors of today's was the Evil Empire with thousands of nuclear-armed ICBMs pointed at us. Not to mention burgeoning Red insurgencies in this hemisphere, Castro still peeking through the keyhole, and so on.
But that dang ol' paranoia just got the best of us. Let's not mention the adage that says, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you," which was certainly true back then. No less than Barry Goldwater, no weak quisling in search of a Prime Minister instead of a (real-man) President, believed that Nixon's actions were beyond the bounds of legality and propriety. So let's be clear: there was real cause to place limits on the office of the President. Harkening back to the halcyon days of LBJ and Nixon is hardly likely to rally a groundswell of support for the powers Yoo wants to invest in the President.
These statutes have produced little but dysfunction...Yeah, and allowing open-ended "interpretation" of Congressional statutes through the use of signing statements, where interpretation has ventured so far afield as to result in the statute actually being implemented in almost precisely the opposite manner intended by Congress, that has resulted in smooth functioning and coherency.
Later, I'll have a bit more to say on two topics related to this:
- Proponents of unitary executive always try to date the supposed neutering of the Presidency back to the post-Watergate reforms. In fact, this is bollocks: the unitary executive concept of the President is strictly modern, expressly defined out of the picture in the U.S. Constitution, and is a profoundly un-American and ahistorical concept.
- The appeals to the post-Watergate reforms really create a coded message that refers back to the cultural divide of the '60s and '70s, with support for the unitary executive equating to support for God, country, and all of the other nationalist symbols of the pro-war anti-left conservative movement.
In fact, if the concept of the unitary executive becomes established, we've in effect become a-Constitutional, entering territory that was voided by George Washington when he declined to become king. The checks of laws and courts on the desires and programs of the executive branch are not just inconvenient restrictions placed to test the mettle of our President. Instead, they're part and parcel of our system, these limits on absolute power part of the very woof and weave of our nation's fabric. The actions, justifications, and rationalizations of bomb throwers like John Yoo threatens to tear and sunder this fabric, with consequences that will destroy everything that it truly means to be American.
Let me be direct: John Yoo is a horrible detestable person. He is no way qualified to teach law. His book is entitled, War By Other Means. I agree that he's found a way to conduct civil war and insurrection against the U.S. Constitution by means other than war. He has provided a rationalization for a horrible cabal of incompetent, evil men to begin the project of destroying our democracy. For all of the crimes and moral depravity he has caused and aided and abetted, John Yoo should be deeply ashamed of himself.
Monday, September 11, 2006
This also speaks to something that just bugs the crap out of me. I was in the military and was in the Drum and Bugle Corps in boot camp and tech school, had friends in the Honor Guard, did plenty of ceremonies and all that. I have a pretty decent amount of respect for the flag and would never burn it or desecrate and so on. I'm not in favor of a flag-burning amendment, because that sort of expression is exactly what the flag is supposed to stand for. So why are the assholes who are supposedly so in love with the God-damned flag always so completely and totally violating the protocol that defines what it means to respect the flag?
- You can't wear the flag.
- You can't just slap it anywhere on your car.
- When it gets tattered or abused, you can't just keep driving around with the pathetic last few threads streaming from your radio antenna, there are rules
- And you sure the fuck can't step on it!
Monday, August 28, 2006
Not that it really matters. Not that the glimmers are anything more than passing mirages. If there ever was a chance of "winning" this thing, with a united relatively peaceful relatively free Iraq (and I don't think there was, but for the sake of argument...) that train has long left the station.
No, seriously, neocons. We're sorry we kicked your pencil-necked asses in high school. You really are macho. Please don't invade another country.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Can we discuss this man? Has there ever been a person who more clearly illustrates the principle of failing upwards better than him? From his trashing of arms control treaties to his fevered insistence on ignoring international treaties and laws to his knee-jerk resort to military solutions to pretty much any problem that might arise, from Soviet expansionism to Korean missiles to Iranian nukes to Middle Eastern dictators, Perle has never met a situation that couldn't be resolved by shit talking and threats. He fancies himself a foreign policy intellectual, but he's really just an internationalist thug. I'm not one to scream accusations of imperialism willy-nilly like the staff of KPFA on an organic masala chai binge, but Richard Perle is a driven imperialist who just coincidentally happens to be a war profiteer.
So what's my point, besides the fact that I think Richard Perle is a reprehensible and loathsome human being? Well, given all that we know about Perle and especially the outcome of his preferred solution to the "Iraq Question," I find it particularly galling that he can still summon the audacity to accuse Condi Rice of incompetence and a lack of understanding of the Middle East.
Now, frankly, I wouldn't argue in favor of Rice's competence. But I argue against her competence primarily because she allied herself with Perle and his minions in the run-up to the war in Iraq. That is, I believe that she is incompetent mainly because she took advice in the first place from the guy who's now accusing her of being incompetent.
The fact that the architect of the biggest failure of foreign policy in American history—and let's not be shy, it's a failure in every regard—still feels free to open his arrogant yap and spout this idiocy demonstrates that the concept of shame in this country is dead. It also illustrates that the ability to deceive yourself into believing what you want to believe is uncurtailed by the repeated failure of reality to match those beliefs. Lastly, it's apparent that the staggering personal, societal, and national costs of Richard Perle's incompetence has failed to even dent his thick-headed solipsistic perceptions of the world.
In the end, I can accept that Richard Perle lives in a world of his own making and imagining. What I really don't understand is why anyone outside of that world bothers to listen to anything he says any more.
Monday, July 24, 2006
That said, I know that William F. Buckley, the father of the National Review, has been a long-time critic of the WoD, so maybe that's the position of most common taters on The Corner, I dunno...
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
But Yoo's quote from an article entitled The Court Enters the War, Loudly, about the possible effects of the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld decision, seems to be both the most egregious thing I've ever read from this veritable font of egregiousness and the key to the major malfunction in Yoo's head:
"What the court is doing is attempting to suppress creative thinking," said Professor Yoo... "The court has just declared that it's going to be very intrusive in the war on terror. They're saying, 'We're going to treat this more like the way we supervise the criminal justice system.' "Suppress creative thinking? First, let's be clear on the purpose of the legal counsel to the President of the United States. It is not to be creative. Instead, it's to make sure that the policies pursued by the administration conform to the limits imposed by legislative law, case law, and the Constitution. In fact, what the court was doing—and for the sake of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law in this nation, we have to hope that they were doing it and not just attempting to do it—was declaring that Yoo's "creative thinking" was actually rubbish, legal gyrations "rebutted by ordinary principles of statutory construction," in the words of the decision. In fact, the majority opinion stated that Congress clearly didn't intend to offer the administration carte blanche legal authority to do any damned thing they decided:
Congress’ rejection of the very language that would have achieved the result the Government urges weighs heavily against the Government’s interpretation.It's important to remember that people are often forced to think creatively precisely because of limits imposed by the milieu in which they are operating. A creative thinker can come up with many good ideas for ways to make money. This is an acceptable result of creative thinking, while this is not. John Yoo's "creative thinking" amounted to simply ignoring the strictures imposed by custom, law, and basic human morality. That's not creative, that's simply cheating.
Yoo's "creative thinking" has now been exposed for the failure that it is in every facet, as sloppy legal thinking, as un-American policy, as a shameful shortcut around American legal procedure that has brought us fatefully close to an American dictatorship and treated the founding document of our Republic as so much inconvenient claptrap to be circumvented and avoided. Yoo's name, legacy, and body of thought is stained with failure and rejection by the supreme legal body in this land. Here's hoping they stay there and no one ever asks Mr. Yoo to be creative again.
From Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
- This compilation of views on obsoleting the whole idea of the Global War on Terror.
- A discussion of the need for professional constabulary operations in the aftermath of the Haditha tragedy (and yes, innocent until proven guilty, but regardless of the status of the Marines involved, it's still a tragedy).
- A discussion of the "Bush Doctrine," what that even means, and some historical parallels.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Anyways, check 'em out and enjoy. More changes coming soon hopefully...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
GONZALES: Well, three of my grandparents were born in Mexico. They came to Texas. My parents — both my parents were born in Texas extremely poor. My mother…Huh. For a lawyer, Gonzales is somewhat unclear on the law (and I'm not referring to the torture memos or any of the other arguably tortured readings of the law he's provided as fig leafs for administration actions). He didn't need to go to his parents, he just needed to go to the law itself.
BLITZER: When they came to Texas, were they legally documented, were they un-legally documented?
GONZALES: You know what? It’s unclear. It’s unclear... And I’ve looked at this issue, I’ve talked to my parents about it and it’s just not clear.
Well, let me help Alberto, Andrew, Wolf, and anyone else who's curious out. Simply by looking at Alberto's biography, we can determine that his parents, who were born in the United States, were born sometime before 1955, since Alberto himself was born in 1955. That means that Alberto's grandparents immigrated to the United States sometime before 1955. And consulting the law, we can see that the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965
"plac[ed] a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigration (120,000) for the first time."
In other words, since Gonzales's grandparents definitely came to the United States before 1965, by definition they came here legally, since prior to that year there were no restrictions on migration from south of the border.
Glad I could help clear up your family history, Alberto.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
No Da Vinci Disclaimer: A pity, I think. It's hack fiction. People might actually believe it.... But on its own, it's fictional dreck and Hollywood hooey.No kidding! Of course it's fictional dreck (full disclosure: I listened to The Da Vinci Code on audiobook on the long roadtrips between L.A. and Phoenix and L.A. and S.F.). So why does it need a disclaimer? Its very existence is its own disclaimer.
People might actually believe the story laid out in the book and movie? Then those people are stupid.
People might actually claim that it is "'blasphemous' because it spreads 'lies' about Jesus Christ"? To some, it's "lies," to others it's "fiction."
"One Roman Catholic activist has gone on what he says is a 'hunger strike until death' unless the film is banned." You know what? That's his business. I'm offended by the sentiment expressed in the Left Behind books, but I'm not going to go on hunger strike until Tim Lahaye and Kurt Cameron are banned from polite society. Do you know why? Because I AM NOT AN IDIOT. And if you are not an idiot, you do not need a disclaimer to distinguish fiction from lies. You don't have to read the book. You don't have to watch the movie. You don't have to listen to the heated blathering of some fool who uses the material as the launching point for his own fevered conspiracy theories. You are completely free to ignore anything and everything to do with the material! And this does not require a disclaimer so that you can determine once and for all whether or not the work in question is a silly summer beach read or the recounting of a sinister historical plot.
A novel does not require a disclaimer distinguishing it from reality. And the novel's relative literary quality (or lack thereof) plays absolutely no part in whether it needs to distinguish itself for people. Shame on Sullivan for siding with morons and zealots and suggesting otherwise.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I'm not sure that I'm as non-chalant as Steve in regards to the military guy heading up the CIA, but I do think the idea that he's been selected specifically to thwart DoD's schemes on the CIA is interesting...
Monday, May 01, 2006
And, as noted here, the coverage of this has been a bit slow in coming, as compared to when Imus skewered Clinton in '96. But some stuff is trickling out. Fox News, surprisingly, didn't find it amusing. One of the guys quoted in there says: "Today in Lloyd Grove’s column, he says that Colbert 'bombed badly.' It was not very funny." From what I heard on Stephanie Miller's show today, it did bomb badly, but that does not mean that it wasn't very funny. However, take a bit like this:
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!I'm not saying that the White House correspondents don't deserve this type of skewering (I also suspect that there are many of them that are not the tools they appear to be, but the gig is such that you can't do much pro-actively; investigative reporting is another thing entirely). I'm just saying that that's why it bombed. The live audience was not going to be amused. But many people outside that auditorium are...
Update: Chris Durang on the Huffington Post makes an observation that I sort of intimated but didn't say directly and that needs to be said: "Colbert stood on the dais near the President and kept making eye contact with him as he said truly biting comic remarks.... It's very witty when you read the text; but actuality as Colbert says these things to the President's face, it's very uncomfortable. Watching it, it's like Hamlet forcing King Claudius to watch the play that accuses him of murder... Colbert's was a brave and shocking performance..."
I absolutely agree. The chance to figuratively spit in the eye of Bush or Cheney, to tell them to their face what evil and reprehensible people they are, is something that occupies my daydreams pretty frequently. Stephen Colbert just did that last Saturday night.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
This type of deep analysis seems to be the current administration thinking. Don't worry about throwing out the guy who's made a hash of Iraq. Nor the guy who blew one of the more promising diplomatic openings with Iran. Or the person who helped sell the misbegotten war in Iraq and now acts as America's top diplomat even though she's a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment wherever she goes. No, let's get rid of the freaking press secretary.
As usual, this administration thinks the problem is not with its incompetence, corruption, fumbling execution, arrogant hubris, or complete lack of grounding of anything like what the "reality-based community" likes to call, y'know, "reality." No, the problem is just a matter of perception. Fucking amazing.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The bit about Gillette is pretty funny. Unfortunately for me, I hate having a full beard more than I hate shaving, although I do hate shaving. So I let it grow out a bit, get all scruffy, piss off my wife, then finally begrudgingly shave once the scratching and "flavor saver" aspects of facial hair outweigh the inconvenience and pain of shaving (I have fairly sensitive skin, 'cause I'm a sensitive motherfucker).
The nice thing is that, as soon as the blood stops flowing and the swelling goes down, there are few things that don't involve genitals that feel as good as a newly shorn face.
Again, I don't agree with it across the board (I'm a fairly radical civil libertarian, supporting 1st and 2nd Amendments, gay and plural marriage, across-the-board drug decriminalization, blah blah blah), but I can respect it.
So under that guiding principle, how do you explain the position of the "conservative" Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas in this case? Now Scalia and Thomas claim to be "originalists," hewing to the text of the Constitution as originally intended without the skewing influence of intervening case law. Well, the text of the 4th Amendment seems pretty straightforward:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.Now, many things can turn upon the definition of "unreasonable." But allowing that to become the defining limitation on the elucidated right (especially when the nature of that limitation is determined by post-Amendment jurisprudence) certainly contradicts the standard "conservative" take on the 2nd Amendment, where the "well regulated Militia" qualifier at the beginning of the Amendment is considered to be mere window dressing, providing explication and context for the straightforward right laid out thereafter: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
I don't ask a lot of conservatives. I don't have to agree with them. We don't have to share the same bases for our opinions. I simply ask them to be consistent. Do you want government out of our lives to the greatest extent possible? If so, then quit supporting as "conservative" decisions that strike full force at the security of people in their person, home, and property. Don't support full-house searches when the resident doesn't permit it and the cops don't have a warrant. Don't support warrentless wiretapping. Don't support the government's ability to detain a person indefinitely without trial.
Or don't call yourself a conservative. Call yourself what you really are: a hypocrite.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
- Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
- John McCain (R-AZ)
- Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
- George Voinovich (R-OH)
That's funny. See, 'cause the Senators who are voting to restore fiscal accountability are the Republicans who are considered apostates by the mainstream GOP establishment, while the GOP establishment claims fiscal accountability as one of its attributes, cf. "tax and spend" liberals.
My response is, maybe I am a tax and spend liberal (I'm not really, but let's let that slide for the purpose of an imaginary zinger retort). But at least I'd bother to tax and get the money to spend, instead of just borrowing it. "Borrow and spend" conservatives, we have to get that phraseology to become as inculcated a meme as "tax and spend" liberal...
Monday, March 13, 2006
And, y'know, there's a lot more out there. Donald Rumsfeld is an oblivious idiot.
Not much posting lately because I've been busier than... uh.... something really busy. Like a beaver or something. Way busier than that.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
- Cheney Takes Full Responsibility for Shooting Hunter
- Cheney Takes Full Responsibility for Shooting
- Cheney: 'I'm the Guy Who Pulled the Trigger'
One thing for which Cheney was not apologetic was the way the news of the shooting was delivered to the media.I think I'm much less concerned about how the news of the shooting was delivered to the media than I am about how Dick Cheney deigned to speak to law enforcement for 14 or more hours about how he shot a dude in the face. And I don't really care to hear an apology, I care to see the guy hauled up on charges of obstructing justice. He claims "he had one beer at lunch, but that no alcohol was consumed during the late afternoon outing." It would have been interesting to hear what someone who's not directly in Cheney's employ or sycophantic circle of cronies thought about that.
I'm not fooling myself: I know this won't happen. But it's fucking infuriating. What an arrogant piece of shit. If I shot someone in the fucking face and tried to make an "appointment" to talk to the Sheriff about it tomorrow, how far do you think I'd get with that? Not very fucking far. Alberto Gonzalez says no one is above the law, but here's a clear illustration that that's bullshit.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Well, while hardly a scientific survey, Josh Marshall got feedback from hunters and their reply is... eh, not really. My suspicions were, on the basis of this, correct: Cheney fucked up. Bad.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Of course, the thing is that Kristof is right: O'Reilly has enough of an audience that his attention to the issue really would make a difference. And, although this issue is often characterized as something only namby-pamby liberals would care about, it's actually an issue that is very important to many evangelical and other faith-based groups, which of course is a very important constituency for the Republicans. But the Republicans find evangelicals feeling their oats and getting involved in issues besides gay marriage and prayer in schools, including environmentalism and human rights. This would give the Republicans a gold star on the human rights card and could also conceivably help save the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of people.
I challenged [O'Reilly] to defend traditional values by joining [Kristof] on a trip to Darfur... A few days ago... Mr. O'Reilly declared in his column: "I do three hours of daily news analysis on TV and radio. There's no way I can go to Africa..." [M]aybe Mr. O'Reilly's concern is cost, so I thought my readers might want to give him a hand. You can help sponsor a trip by Mr. O'Reilly to Darfur, where he can use his television savvy to thunder against something actually meriting his blustery rage.
If you want to help, send e-mail to email@example.com... and tell me how much you're willing to pay for Mr. O'Reilly's expenses in Darfur... Don't send money; all I'm looking for is pledges. I'll post updates at nytimes.com/ontheground.
Sure, this is a desperate measure. But with several hundred thousand people already murdered in Darfur and two million homeless and living in shantytowns, the best hope for those still alive is a strong dose of American outrage.
Look, I'm not about helping Republicans. But I am about saving people's lives. If it takes getting Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, and the GOP a gold star, I could care less. Unfortunately, Kristof's challenge is behind the pay wall at the NY Times, so I'm hoping to help spread this news.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Mona Omar Attia, Egypt's ambassador to Denmark, said after a meeting with Rasmussen that she was satisfied with the position of the Danish government but noted the prime minister had said he could not interfere with the press... "This means the whole story will continue and that we are back to square one again. The government of Denmark has to do something to appease the Muslim world," Attia said."Appease" is the perfect word. Appeasement. Just like Bush using the term "crusade" exposed the disconnect between the Western perception of the Islamic world and the reality of the Islamic world, the user of the term "appease" exposes the disconnect between the Islamic world's perception of the Western world and the reality of the Western world. Kowtowing to Muslim concerns on this issue would be just that: appeasement, a debasement of, I would argue, the core value of the Western world, the freedom to speak your mind and express yourself and your opinions, however discomfiting, offensive, or outrageous someone else might find them. Attia and the others demanding that the nation of Denmark apologize for what citizens of a free nation say or write completely miss that point.
Now, if one of those girls was my daughter and got her picture in the paper like that? I'd whip her ass and be all, whaddup with being a whore? I know things are different from when I was in high school, but I have a fair amount of contact with high school girls who aren't whores, so I know that that's not just "how it is" or something (and no, there's nothing nefarious going on with my contact with high school girls; they're relatives and babysitters).
I'm not saying I didn't wish that more girls were whores or whorish or whore-like when I was in high school. But just because a high-school boy wants high-school girls to be whores doesn't mean they should be whores.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Man oh man. So many things to say about that that I don't even know where to start.
Light, light posting lately. I've been really busy. Heh, initially typed "busy" as "busty." To quote Butthead... if I had boobs like that, I'd never leave the house...
Monday, January 30, 2006
Now, there's a follow-up article to this one, pointing out that the application is actually not a patent on emoticons themselves, but for a button that lets you select a multicharacter emoticon with a single keystroke. That makes zero difference to me in terms of judging the stupidity of the thing. Have you used Yahoo Messenger or just about any other IM application? They all have the same... fucking... thing. In fact, let's see... a single keystroke that does the work of multiple keystrokes... that's really similar to... oh yeah, a macro! Are macros patentable? Can every macro be patented on the basis of what the macro actually does? I don't fucking think so, so stop wasting everyone's fucking time with such idiotic and greedy attempts at revenue generation. Assholes.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
But for Christ's sake people (pun intended), render unto Caesar. That was good advice back when JC said it and it still holds. Keep your morality close to yourself, but keep it out of the agora. Thanks much.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
So now you're sitting there and there's someone sitting next to you and it's not like European toilets, which are called water closets for a reason, because they're all isolated and self-contained with some expectation that you should have privacy for your unprotected moments, no, there's a big ol' gap between the bottom of the wall and the floor so you can see the guy's shoes and his pants all piled on top of his shoes, and you know that he can see yours...
Note that, whenever I say "you" here, what I mean is me. I'm pretty clear that this is mostly my own neurosis. And the odd thing about it is that I'm generally pretty mellow about bodily functions. But something about defecation causes me all kinds of bashfulness. I could pee into a fountain in the middle of a shopping mall at the height of the Christmas rush if not for the full body tackle sure to be administered upon me by the well trained security staff. But not when it comes to dropping the kids off at the pool, no sir.
Here's my defense, though. Dogs. Because a dog will do anything without the slightest hint of self-consciousness, anything, a dog will fuck your leg or a couch, dogs caught in flagrante delicto primarily amuse us as they try to disengage but not because of the blushing way in which they try to cover up the act, a dog will lay down in front of the Queen of God Damned England and lick its genitalia in a slow deliberate fashion, dogs do not give a fuck.
Except for when it comes to taking a crap. This is the only time dogs look at you like, man, are you really gonna sit there and watch me take a shit? Can't you go watch Pat Robertson or something else embarassing to your own species? What the hell man?
If an animal that will stick its nose in others' asses while chasing farts is shy about others witnessing its acts of excrementation, I feel pretty OK with this bit of modesty.
That's what I was thinking about a little while ago while I was waiting for the jackass that was crapping in the bathroom stall next to me to fucking leave.