Monday, October 31, 2005
If its true (and I think it is), things are going to get ugly real fast on Capitol Hill.
I'll be backing the Prez to the hilt on this one..
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Today's new and improved stupid regulatory trick hails from Connecticut. It appears that state booze regulators in "The Constitution State" have taken a dislike to a certain seasonal farmhouse ale called "Seriously Bad Elf," imported from England by Shelton Brothers of the delightfully appropriate village of Belchertown, Mass.
At a whopping 18 proof, Seriously Bad Elf is the big brother of two other Ridgeway Bad Elf brews, and this case is going to require a lot of SBE to get through. It appears that Connecticut regulators have an issue with SBE's label, which depicts a somewhat evil looking elf taking aim at Santa's sleigh with a slingshot. Why is this stupid picture a problem? Well, because it might promote underage drinking, that's why. The regulator's thinking must be that every youngster who sees Santa Clause getting his ass shot off by a drunken elf will want to be just like that drunken elf. Consequently, a nine year-old boy will promptly buy that particular brand of beer and then guzzle it down before drunkenly wrapping his big wheel around Mom's prize rose bush. Or, at least, so it would seem.
"There are certain symbols and images that appeal more strongly to children and this regulation includes the most obvious among them," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "The state has wide discretion to regulate the sales of alcohol."AS stupid as that statement appears, don't start laughing yet. It gets better.
Of course, Bad Frog Beer had other image problems as well; notably (1) it tasted awful, and (2) the frog was flipping you off.
Shelton [Brothers] has enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and demanded a hearing before the Liquor Control Commission.
At that hearing this week, ACLU attorney Annette Lamoreaux argued that the regulation has serious constitutional flaws.
Not only does it violate Shelton's free speech rights, she said, but protecting Santa Claus is a violation of the Constitution's establishment clause, which prohibits government endorsement or disapproval of religion.
She also cited a decision in another beer-label case, Bad Frog vs. New York. A court ruled that the potential for an image to attract a child is not reason enough to ban it from a beer bottle because there are already laws against selling beer to children.
So here we go, folks. Its stupid beer names and the First Amendment versus stupid regulators and the Twenty-first Amendment in a constitutional tag-team battle royale.
Hand me the opener. It's a booze lawyer's dream.
UPDATE: Everybody wants to get into the act.
Friday, October 28, 2005
"Omission" is here taken to be the failure to do something one can and- The Catholic Encyclopedia
ought to do. If this happens advertently and freely a sin is committed.
Now read Michelle Malkin's post on the selective quoting of Marine Cpl. Jeffery Starr's letter by the N.Y. Times in its "memorial" piece on American's who have given their lives in Iraq.
Here is the email information for the The New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame, who represents the readers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
If this keeps up my already-short blogroll is going to disappear altogether.
Michele Catalano, one of my favorite Yankee fans and a fellow Long Islander is hanging up her pop-culture blogging cleats at ASV.
And just before Halloween, too!!!!!!
It's just not fair.
Well, at least she'll still be popping up around the net with good reads from time to time...
I shouldn't have been so harsh about the president's using the internal documents issue as cover for the withdrawal. There wasn't a chance in hell of the Dems voting for Miers, and the battle over the release of privileged presidential papers was going to be real, long, and bloody. But the spin coming out the Senate demoncrats right now is making me ill.
I just watched Harry Reid on the news talking about how "the radical right wing" killed the nomination of this, fine capable and thoughly wonderful woman. Talk about your bullshit. I didn't support Miers nomination, and neither did many other conservatives. But at least we're not COMPLETE AND UTTER PHONIES about it like the Dems. And the worst part about this is that the Dems got their cake and now can eat it without having to spend a single cent of political capital. They'll be tanned and rested and ready to pluck out the eyes of the next nominee.
Two words, buttheads: "nuclear option." remember them well.
Now the little old liberal lady in the office is running around like a chicken without her head awaiting Bush to nominate Adolph Hitler to "appease the radical right wing." Oh please. Don't be so gullible. Bush has to please his conservative-moderate base, not the looney-toon fringe. But don't let me stop you from jumping off the ledge.
AND ANOTHER THING:
I am sick and tired of hearing the talking heads drool on about how "this is going to damage the presidency." Maybe...if the disaffected were Democrats. Those types eat their own. This was a family fight. Watch and see if you don't see a real re-unification of conservative support for the president.
Starting right here.
I understand and share her concern, however, about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of he Constitutional separation of powers - and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.
*cough* bullshit *cough*
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
[B]ullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves
without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly
change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about
truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can
take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine
the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not.
Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this,
Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
By the way, I stroked a three on that last hole.
How'd you do?
Monday, October 24, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful pick,
that led to a right-wing backlash,
and caused his polls to dip.
The Prez was a mighty fightin' man,
the Skipper shrewd and sure,
but soon enough they sailed alone,
up a creek without an oar,
up a creek without an oar.
To be continued..........
Friday, October 21, 2005
Anyway, enjoy yourself. Hell, it's Friday!
I haven't yet seen them all, so if you find a gem, please put it in the comments.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
You just can't make this stuff up:
VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) - Mr. Floatie, a community activist who dresses up in a feces costume to decry the pumping of raw sewage into the waters off British Columbia's capital, has withdrawn his name as a candidate for mayor.
The city had planned to challenge Mr. Floatie's candidacy in court.
James Skwarok, the man inside the costume, said the city apparently took issue with his candidacy because only real people can run for municipal office.
"Of course I'm not a real person," Skwarok said earlier this week. "I'm a big piece of poop."
Skwarok was not available for further comment.
Mr. Floatie has become a regular sight at public gatherings.
He passes out pamphlets drawing attention to Victoria's practice of pumping sewage directly into the Juan de Fuca after only a screening to remove solids.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Perhaps a correction in today's edition offers a clue (6th item):
A museum entry in the Spare Times listing of Weekend on Friday, about television programs that inspired the film "Good Night, and Good Luck," at the Museum of Television and Radio, misstated the given name of the CBS broadcaster who made them. He was Edward R. Murrow, not William.Good lord. What are they teaching in journalism school these days? When a national newspaper of record can't get the name of "the most distinguished man in the history of broadcast journalism"right, how can I trust them to get the news right?
Oh, that's right. I don't.
Monday, October 17, 2005
It is, it is a glorious thing,
To be a Pirate King.
-Gilbert & Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance
I have always been fascinated by pirates. The allure began when a worn copy of R. L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island fell into my young hands and its cover illustration (boy-centrically rendered by N.C. Wyeth) beckoned the rascal in me to abandon the dull security of the
My childhood interest in this motley lot was heightened by proximity of Gardiner’s
Over time, my youthful dreams of piracy gave way to the harsh reality of adulthood. The more I studied the histories of these famous buccaneers, the less I identified with them. Soon I regarded them only as the cowardly, blood-soaked thiefs that they were. Well, kinda. Growing up sucks, sometimes, but we also make allowances for our dreams.
And our dreams are often girded by reality. Stevenson’s tale of treachery and redemption was not entirely fictitious. It made ample use of the best known source for pirate lore: A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the most notorious Pyrates . First published in 1724, Captain Charles Johnson’s account of the lives of infamous English and Welsh pirates provides the foundation for nearly every tale ever woven about piracy in the
The identity of Captain Johnson remains a mystery. Although he was once widely thought to be Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, that enchanting theory has in recent years, unfortunately, been debunked. Nevertheless Captain Johnson knew a great deal about these scourges of the
While the “Golden Age” of piracy has long since slipped its cable and drifted into the dreamy man-made
reveals that piracy is still rampant in many parts of the world – particularly in the islands of
As was true in that “Golden Age,” however, the plodding response to this international threat to commerce by complacent or complicite governments seems destined to prolong and exacerbate the menace these criminals pose. Captain Johnson wrote succinctly of this pendent danger in his introduction to Pyrates some 270 years ago:
It has been the case heretofore, that when a single pirate has been suffered to range the seas, as not being the worth the notice of the government, he has by degrees grown so powerful, as to put them to the expense of a great deal of blood and treasure, before he was suppressed.
In other words, and as any dog will tell, a single flea is just an annoyance…but there is never just one flea.
Which brings me to the point of this exercise: This past summer the magazine Legal Affairs ran a piece by lawyer and historian Douglas R. Burgess, Jr. entitled “The Dread Pirate Bin Laden: How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror.”
I must admit that I was immediately on guard: By any basic measure of law, pirates are common criminals – right and wrong and the law of the sea and all that. If not deserving of such, at least pirates squeak through entitled to the form of justice served by the very courts established by those they have wronged.
Terrorists, on the other hand, or at least by my thinking, are vile, fanatical animals who seek to subjugate through fear and death those whom they can not convince by faith or reason. As these villains profess no fear or repentance towards the death of others, then plain justice should mete only the same to them.
Upon reflection, however, Mr. Burgess' idea has become more palatable to me. Can nations create a unified body of law that would not only cast those practitioners of terror into hell, but also provide for universal response to those who harbored or succored such criminals – or as
The vageries of "criminal" versus "piratical" acts has long been a feature of civilized diplomacy. Again, from Captain Johnson's Pyrates comes "an abstract of the civil law and statute law now in force in relation to piracy:"
A Pyrate is Hostis humanis generis, a common Enemy, with whom neither Faith nor Oath is to be kept, according to Tully. And by the Laws of Nature, Princes and States are responsible for their Neglect, if they do not provide Remedies for restraining these sorts of Robberies. Though Pyrates are called common Enemies, yet they are properly not to be term'd so. He is only to be honoured'd with that Name, says Cicero, who hath a Commonwealth, a Court, a League: but when they have reduced themselves into a Government of State, as those of Algier, Sally, Tripoli, Tunis and the like, they then are allowed the Solemnities of War, and the Rights of Legation.
Are terrorists "criminals" in the justicable sense of the word? Is there an international compact capable of responding to terrorism effectively against boththese enemies of the human race and their diplomatic supporters? Is hanging enough?
I want to explore this with you further, and I will.
But right now, this pirate has got to go to bed.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal***
"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in an interview Friday.
Neither The Times nor its cause has emerged unbruised. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, declined to back Ms. Miller. Critics said The Times was protecting not a whistle-blower but an administration campaign intended to squelch dissent. The Times's coverage of itself was under assault: While the editorial page had crusaded on Ms. Miller's behalf, the news department had more than once been scooped on the paper's own story, even including the news of Ms. Miller's release from jail.
Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."***
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.
- Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
St. Petersburg Announces Plans to Create Tourist Police
Authorities in the North Russian city of St. Petersburg, one of the country’s major tourist attractions, announced on Monday that a special tourist police will be set up in the city by summer 2006, the Interfax news agency reports.The agency quoted the chairman of the city’s committee for external relations and tourism, Aleksander Prokhorenko, as saying that the tourist police is set to start working next summer and that it will be manned by students. He said that employees of the new force will be dressed in uniforms and equipped with “special communication devices”. Foreign tourists could address them for information and also report any crimes or misdemeanors. The official said the planned wage of a tourist police employee will be 500 rubles (about $18) per shift.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
BRUSSELS - Oct 9, 2005 - HH News Service
Reports of heavy fighting are emerging from eastern Belgium as European troops and fighter-bomber aircraft under the control of the United Nations have begun a systematic annihilation of the of blue forest-dwellers known in the west as "Smurfs." The diminutive Smurfs, known for their pure-white clothing and turban-style headresses, have long been suspect in Belgium (German for "doormat") for a radical lifestyle that is becoming increasingly incompatible with that of a rapidly changing Europe.
"You have to understand," said one E.U. diplomat on the condition of anomynity, "There are dozens and dozens of tiny blue shirtless men out there, all living in the same village with only one female between them! You figure it out." Said another, "Look at the size of their noses, mon ami. They are nothing but blue jooooos!"
Although reports are still sketchy, it is reported that the spiritual leader of the raucous fundementalist sect, known only as "Papa Smurf," escaped the bombing and is reported to be holding up with a cadre of hardcore fighters in the hills bordering Luxemburg and Germany.
Combined U.N. and Belgian forces are pressing the fugitives Smurfs from the west, while the Code Pink armies, led by Cindy Sheehan drive down from the north. "We'll get those little fascist bastards," Mother Sheehan told the assembled crowd of reports. "No little blue people are going to knock me off the front page. I've got absolute moral authority!"
Meanwhile to the south, three French armies have returned home after failing to find any Smurfs to surrender to. "It was scary," said one French commander. "We could hear them out there singing and playing thier little instruments...in the dark! At one point we all got lost foraging for mushrooms, but we still couldn't locate the little fellers." No word yet on whether the mushrooms were tasty.
Meanwhile, back at U.N. Headquarters, Secretary General Kofi Anan held a news conference calling for a full investigation into reported atrocities carried out by U.S. forces in occupied New Orleans. "The United Nations will not rest until there is a full accounting of the thousands of people killed, raped and starved at the Convention Center," he said. "Moreover, it is the responsibilty of the U.N. to make sure that sufficient no-bid reconstruction contracts are awarded to companies in developing nations, a list of which I have in my pocket."
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
But before I go, I want to share this story with you:
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) - Normally, a fight between two children over a pacifier might be resolved by their mothers. But in Pawtucket, the police had to step in.
It all started Monday afternoon, when a 6-year-old boy dropped a pacifier. Another 6-year-old boy picked it up and refused to give it back, allegedly prompting the first child to deliver a punch. Police said the boy with the pacifier then punched back.
Pawtucket Police Detective Donti Rosciti said one of the mothers called police, saying she wanted the fist fight documented because her son had three minor scratches on his face, and she didn't want his school accusing her of abuse.
A patrolman wrote up a report, then went to the home of the other child to speak with his parents, Rosciti said. He called the case very unusual. "I've never seen a report with two kids this young," he said.
Rosciti said that as far as police are concerned, the matter is over. "A 6-year-old can't be held criminally responsible," he said.
For a second, just skip over the fact that we're talking about two SIX YEAR-OLDS fighting over a pacifier, and that one SIX YEAR-OLD punched the other SIX YEAR-OLD in the face over a pacifier, and that the mother of one had to call the police to protect herself from being accused of child abuse by her son's school, and you're left with this golden nugget:
"A 6-year-old can't be held criminally responsible."Perhaps the only actors in this entire drama entitled to such deference.
There's a political allegory lurking here.
But I'll be damned if I'm going to go that route.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
That is not to say that I don't have an initial reaction to the nomination, I do: I am underwhelmed. But whereas others have put forth forceful arguments as to why the choice of Ms. Miers is not only mistaken based upon her experience, but is also a tacit admission by the President that he has no stomach for a ideological fight, I am willing to be convinced otherwise.
There are those only too willing to take on that task. For example, Senator Cornyn, who shockingly hails from Texas himself, had this to say in today's Wall Street Journal
Others have criticized the president because Ms. Miers is a close confidante, implying that she would not be qualified but for their relationship. I could not disagree more. Of course, the president is going to be inclined to nominate someone he knows, likes and has confidence in. He is not going to nominate someone he does not know or someone he does not like. So long as she is otherwise qualified to the Supreme Court, Ms. Miers's [sic?] long and valuable service to the president should count in her favor, not against her.
Far be it from me to judge the president in matters personal, but simply because he and Ms. Miers have have got a history doesn't rack up the votes for an easy eight-in-the-corner-on-break. It's not that I don't trust the president's skill at picking personal counselors, but the Constitution belongs to us all, and its conservation is so dear to me that it requires more than a mere denial of cronyism from a Texan named "Cornyn." What else have you got Senator?
And, moreover, there is little question that she is up to the job. She has been a true trailblazer for women in the law. She was the first woman hired by her law firm--one of the most prominent in Texas. She was the first woman to serve as president of her law firm. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Dallas Bar Association. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas Bar Association. And her accomplishments do not end at the Lone Star border.
Decoded: "She is a really pushy chick." Good for her. Nevertheless, merely being "the first" at anything is scant proof of a person's qualifications in these days of diversity and affirmative action. Erstwhile quarterback Tim Couch was the first pick in the 1999 NFL draft. Heard much about him lately? Only a fool would believe that Ms. Miers is the most qualified person to assume the role of a justice of the Supreme Court. So what is it, Senator Cornyn, that makes Harriet Miers qualified at all other than her gender and her relationship with the president?
Furthermore, Harriet Miers's background as a legal practitioner is an asset, not a detriment. She has spent her career representing real people in courtrooms across America. This is precisely the type of experience that the Supreme Court needs. The court is full of justices who served as academics and court of appeals judges before they were nominated to the bench. What the court
is missing is someone who understands the consequences of its decisions on the American people.
Pretty strong words, but essentially what's been bothering me about the whole process. When the Executive Branch starts out by confining its pool of nominees to a particular gender, race, ethnicity, or other ACCIDENTAL personal attribute, it has automatically compromised any trust the American people might have that the best interests of the country, rather than the political party, will be served. When eminently qualified individuals from that narrowed field are bypassed for a personal aquaintance, any "presumption" granted to the Executive's choice should rightly be dismissed.
Under the rubric of "diversity" -- nowadays, the first refuge of intellectually disreputable impulses -- the president announced, surely without fathoming the implications, his belief in identity politics and its tawdry corollary, the idea of categorical representation. Identity politics holds that one's essential attributes are genetic, biological, ethnic or chromosomal -- that one's nature and understanding are decisively shaped by race, ethnicity or gender. Categorical representation holds that the interests of a group can be understood, empathized with and represented only by a member of that group. The crowning absurdity of the president's wallowing in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is, like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a president who, introducing Miers, deplored judges who "legislate from the bench."
Minutes after the president announced the nomination of his friend from Texas, another Texas friend, Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was on Fox News proclaiming what he and, no doubt, the White House that probably enlisted him for advocacy, considered glad and relevant tidings: Miers, Jordan said, has been a victim. She has been, he said contentedly, "discriminated against" because of her gender.
Her victimization was not so severe that it prevented her from becoming the first female president of a Texas law firm as large as hers, president of the State Bar of Texas and a senior White House official. Still, playing the victim card clarified, as much as anything has so far done, her credentials, which are her chromosomes and their supposedly painful consequences. For this we need a conservative president?
But here is what it costs: Don't ask me to "trust you" ever again, Mr. President.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Weird Contraception: Don't Try This at Home
NEW YORK (AP) - People have come up with bizarre, and often totally misguided, methods to prevent pregnancy over the years. Like wearing the testicles of a weasel on their thighs. Or amulets with desiccated cat livers or shards of bones. Some were advised to use elephant dung as a spermicide. And others used wads of seaweed as a female condom.
And remember, folks: Teaching your children about abstinence is just plain unnatural!
You sick freaks you!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Hold on kiddies! It's down the rabbit hole we go!
Editor -- To Chip Johnson, "Berkeley has earned a national reputation for being a place that is far left of just about anywhere else" ("Let Berkeley pay homage to its own," Sept. 30). In fact, Berkeley would not rank as particularly liberal compared to most European countries and many other places around the world.
As an example, Berkeley turned down propositions to name a Gaza refugee town a sister city, or to declare that the Geneva Conventions applied to the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.
Former Berkeley Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek made her mark in Berkeley in spite of its powerful right-wing elements by espousing issues and causes that resonated with all fair-minded, and yes, progressive citizens. The truth is that, when compared to the rest of the world, everywhere else in the United States would fall to the right end of the scale.
RAIF HIJABSan Mateo
Cue the "fair minded, and yes, progressive citizens!"
"Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country? Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream... giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we're sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it's about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know every-- They're gonna say some Palestinian being too radical -- well, you haven't seen radicalism yet!"
-U.C. Berkely lecturer Hatem Bazian, April 10, 2004
No, no! I mean the other "fair minded, and yes, progressive citizens!"
These folks certainly look suspiciously right-wing to me.
How about we just zoom in the arch-conservative movement luking just below the surface of this plainly "fair-minded, and yes, progressive" citizenry?
Mr. Hijab's point is well taken. It is clear that Berkely is just a few french fries short of becoming a Republican Happy Meal. That is, when compared to "the rest of the world."
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Do not be listening to the comments in the previous post of Portia, a running lacky dog of the imperialistic hedgemonic pin striped purveyors of pap! Do not be believing that the Red Saox and Yankees will begin part two of the Mother of All Basball Battles at 1:25 this afternoon (EST). You must believe that the evil Bombers from Bronx will play at 7 this evening, where the glorious Red Sox will rip the stomachs from the Yankeees and roast them with garlic and a bit of balsamic vinegar! Do not tune in at 1:30 today for the baseball game, because you will find nothing! Nothing at all!
What did you think of the game last night, Joe?
screw up the throw to home.
go through his legs, and if Posada had brought his bat
and if Torre didn't intentionally walk Papi to get to Manny
and if and if and if... Let's face it, your team looked as sharp as a marble.
We're rolling out the Big Unit for tonight.