quasi in rem

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Small Minded People?

Over at Instapundit Glann Reynolds : is calling those on the Bioethics Panel "small minded" because of their slow rolling of embryonic research.

Is the fear of playing God "small minded"?

Hey, if human embryonic research is no big thing then why are we focusing the research on Parkinsons Dsease and paralysis? Why don't we branch out?

I bet, for example, that human embryos might make an excellent salad toppping. Or sprinkles on ice cream. Or glued together they might make an excellent substitute for those plastic things at the end of shoelaces. We could hire poor immigrant women and grow embryos by the truckload. Use them as fertilizer in tomato fields. Or use them to replace gold stars on children's report cards.

Or even better yet, here's a new idea. Let's take a gross of human embryos and make soap. I understand there is even a history to that type of practice so we wouldn't be starting entirely from scratch. You could even market it at upscale apothecary shops as "Scrubbing Babies"

The idea that we might want to pause and rethink the idea of creating and then destroying an entity that may constitute life, strikes me, as a former embryo, a quite good idea. To call it small minded is scientific hubris to say the very least.

That's a whoooole lot of Jesus....
Box Office Mojo Daily Box Office reports that the: "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
has brought in $117,538,000"

Wow. One small reminder, this blog predicted $42 milion and thought it would be tough at that.

But still at 4000 screens, that is $30,000 per screen over 5 days. Or $6,000 per screen per day. Figure 3 showings per day, and $7 per ticket, that is an average of almost 300 people per showing since it opened.

New York Yankees News: "Lieber to test groin on Monday"I think Lieber will pretty lonely in the shower on Monday.

Good thing there's no law against arrogance...
Howard Stern does have the right to say whatever he wants anywhere, but he doesn't necessarily have the right to say it on that station if the people who run the station don't want him to," Kerry said while campaigning in New York, where Stern's show is broadcast.

The truth is that Clear Channel was directly responding to Congressional pressure. These are public airwaves and Congress has the right to have input, but this was a little different and would not have happened were it not for the fact that it was an election year.

John F. Kerry: The F stands for Friggin Condescending
Two answers so far in the debate from JFK and both of them he has been patronizing as heck.

He would make change from Washington because "Congress is there and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is there."
"John, I think you would have learned by now not to beleive everything you read in the newspaper."

Way to Reverend Al by the way for taking Dan to task.

And remember this statement for John Kerry:"Labels are so silly in American Politics."

Needed New Dictator: No Duvalier's Need apply: "Haiti's beleaguered President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned and flew into exile Sunday. Gunfire rang out through the capital, and the United States said an international peacekeepers - including Americans - would be deployed soon.
The head of Haiti's supreme court said he was taking charge."

An issue for Nader?

Nader's big problem with this election is his lack of a definite motive for people to vote for him. The anybody but Bush vote a the far left of the spectrum doesn't want him in the race and those n the comfortable middle don't agree with msot of his views.

So far a "Vote for me becuase we need more than two parties and I am a third party" platfrom is recieving about as much support as it deserves.

But what about intensive voting reform? It would play well to all of those interested and focus the campaign pn an issue that actually deserves meritorious attention:

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos: "

Once again atop his soapbox, Nader has an opportunity to make his message heard. And this would be an excellent time for him to plug voting reform -- the very issue that brings to mind his name. Nader is on the record for supporting preferential ballot methods like instant runoff voting, and a man of his prudence could certainly bring the issue up with a minimum of humiliation. Certainly there are many other issues that deserve attention, but if there were ever an issue calling out to Nader and his remaining supporters, it’s got to be this.

Nade's legacy is a proud one; he's a man who has fought tirelessly for many years in the interests of the people. As a man whose political career has been fashioned from the same cloth, his symbolism cannot possibly be overlooked. Whether he will choose to throw his weight behind the Democrats is ultimately irrelevant -- this kind of pressure can, in the end, only help them face up to their own responsibility and learn to work together. And isn't the spirit of grassroots democracy and cooperation the message Nader is trying to spread? "

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Rosie? Speaking out? Get out of here!

As long as Scrappleface and Doonesbury are getting into the web contest act. Here's one of my own.

Can anyone find a picture of this woman with her mouth closed?

Daily Kos has an odd idea...

In commenting on the potential "I'd say it's because that Kerry/Edwards ticket is looking increasingly good. Though I'm also liking Kerry/Cleland."

Kerry Cleland?

Kos doesn't know much about politics or Max Cleland.

Cleland couldn't carry Georgia much less any other Southern State.

I think Bob Graham has already been picked.

Sixty Five Million Before the Weekend.

Box Office Mojo reports that Passion has almost totalled the Box Office of every other Christian themed
movie produced by Christians outside the Hollywood system to promote their principles from 1980-Present, Other movies in this genre include:

Jonah:A VeggieTales Movie, The Omega Code, Megiddo: The Omega Code II, Luther, The Other Side of Heaven, Left Behind
and Book of Mormon Movie, etc...

Did some one say "One China" policy?

Millions join anti-China protest in Taiwan: organisers: "More than 2.5 million people joined hands to form a 500-kilometre (310-mile) human chain stretching the length of Taiwan in a huge anti-China protest ahead of the island's presidential elections next month, organisers said.
The high turnout for the government-backed protest highlighting the threat posed to the island from Chinese missiles was likely to boost the re-election chances of President Chen Shui-bian, analysts said."

Your order on that falt screen LCD screen, may be a day late...

New Kerry Campaign Website?

www.wintersoldier.com -

Friday, February 27, 2004

For Haiti Updates Visit Haiti Pundit

Good up to date info. And interesting note:
"2004 marks Haiti's 200th anniversary of independence from France . Recent violence in the Island nation clearly demonstrates that the situation is becoming increasingly complex. Chaos continues to be the norm as Aristide’s popularity fades and people on both ends of the political spectrum have become caught in the ensuing violence. The country appears further than ever from achieving a peaceful democracy."

Hastert O.k.'s extension of 9/11 Commission

=The Hill.com reports.

How much arm twisting did that take?

They're getting married in California! In New Mexico! In Massasschusettts and now their getting married in New York! Yeaaaahhhh!
"A gay couple has been married in the village of New Paltz in a ceremony presided over by the mayor. The marriage of the male couple was the first of a dozen that Mayor Jason West -- a 1995 graduate of Shaker High School -- plans to officiate this afternoon outside the village offices."

Today's Comic:

In response to Mike Luckovich.

Click here for full image.

Fighting Proceeds to Haitian Capital

My Way News: " Haiti's rebel leader said his fighters were advancing on the capital Thursday and awaited an order to attack unless President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns. The United States questioned whether Aristide could 'effectively continue' in office.
With Haiti's ill-equipped police force not expected to put up much resistence against a rebel assault, goverment loyalists threatening death and torchings began building defenses in front of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince."

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Quasi was on the story months ago...

There has been talk on the blogosphere concerning this article: Kerry Donors Include 'Benedict Arnolds' (washingtonpost.com)

But in January we posted this story:
quasi in rem: "John Kerry: Benedict Arnold?

John Kerry has made a point in every stump speech and every debate to lay part of the blame of America's economic woes on companies that outsource part or all of their operations to foreign countries. Just last night in the South Carolina debate John Kerry stated that we must seek a ' prosperity where we create jobs here at home -- and where we shut down every tax loophole, every benefit, and every reward for any Benedict Arnold CEO or company that sends jobs and profits overseas.''

John Kerry has shown that he talks the talk, but does he also walk the walk? Not so much.
An analysis of John Kerry's tax return on Open Secrets reveals that while Senator John Kerry is railing against these corporations on the campaign trail, he is simultaneously pocketing the profits those companies produce.

CNN has done a significant amount of research on the Exporting of America and has compiled a list of those companies
at their website. A simple comparison of the list and John Kerry's tax return reveals a generous crossover of companies.

Medtronic, SBC Communications, Verizon, ExxonMobil, Intel, Microsoft, 3M, General Electric, Wyeth, Citigroup, Proctor and Gamble, American Express, Monsanto, Emerson Electric, AT&T, AT&T Wireless, Comcast, Pfizer, Equifax, IBM Johnson and Johnson, Oracle and others all hold a proud place on the senators tax return.

So does this mean that Kerry, as stockholder, and therefore part owner, of all of these companies is himself a 'Benedict Arnold'? I would not say so, but according to Kerry's own language it appears that he might be."

Which is worse, accepting campaign donations from someone you call a Benedict Arnold, or personally profiting from those companies?

Tom Friedman, You are My Hero

Op-Ed Columnist: What Goes Around . . .: " Which is why we must design the right public policies to keep America competitive in an increasingly networked world, where every company � Indian or American will seek to assemble the best skills from around the globe. And we must cushion those Americans hurt by the outsourcing of their jobs. But let's not be stupid and just start throwing up protectionist walls, in reaction to what seems to be happening on the surface. Because beneath the surface, what's going around is also coming around. Even an Indian cartoon company isn't just taking American jobs, it's also making them. "

I am starting to get sick and tired of all of this anti-indian sentiment being thrown around by the Democrats. Thank you, Mr. Friedman for standing up for what is right.

No Criminal Wrongdoing in Senate Judiciary Memo Case

Bill Pickle, Senate Seargent at Arms, will release a report on Monday stating that there was no criminal activity in the Senate Judiciary Committee memo affair. Because the files were stored on computer in an manner accessible by anyone with access to that computer, no untoward effort was necessary to access the files. Manuel Miranda, who was on the Senate Judiciary Committee and then moved to Senator Frist's personal staff, was suspended over the incident.

No word yet on the investigation into the leaks at the Sargent at Arms office which resulted in the early release of this report. Undoubtedly that will be the next topic of his investigation.

It was not me nor anyone I know.

Vile, Vicious and hateful?

Rosie O'Donnell just got married in San Francisco, to the cheers of the gathering throng. (Ed. for some reason the words Rosie O'Donnell and throng seem wrong in the same sentence)She said she was inspired to do so based on the "vile vicious and hateful" words of the President on Tuesday.

That seems a little over the top but lets see for ourselves:

"THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. "

So far so good. Nothing but an honest recounting of history.

"The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage. "

This is just the news so far. Nothing that can't be denied. Nor really opinion based.

"In recent months, however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year. In San Francisco, city officials have issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. That code, which clearly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters of California. A county in New Mexico has also issued marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty."

Alot more news and a prediction which is likely true. His prediction is not too far off base considering that it is the goal of Human rights watch. Now the word "arbitrary" is somewhat up to debate. There is little support to state that marriage is only based on "intimacy" as the Massassachusetts court stated, so in that respect it is arbitrary. But as a legal opinion of the decision it is not vile or vicious in any sense of the word.

After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization. Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity.

Another mostly factual statement. There is confusion. Now whether or not marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, I don't know. But it is true that this is brand spanking new idea about marriage.

On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed, because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country.

Ok. Here is the real deal. By stating the voice of the people must be heard and then stating that we must protect marriage in America the President has cast the argument in his favor. But has he done so in vile or vicious way?

The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.

This is nothing new. And all true.

Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.

Well this is somewhat contradictory to his first statement that the voice of the people must be heard. What if the people of a state do in fact vote for gay marriage? So in that sense this statement is definitely confrontational.

For all these reasons, the Defense of Marriage requires a constitutional amendment. An amendment to the Constitution is never to be undertaken lightly. The amendment process has addressed many serious matters of national concern. And the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.

Well this seems to be proprounding the custom of marriage. Nothing Ms. ODonnell would disagree with.

Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.

This statement indicates that he welcomes civil unions. A statement propounded by the vast majority of politicians. Is everyone vile vicious and hateful?

America is a free society, which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions. Our government should respect every person, and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.

Ok, this is the opposite of vile vicious or hateful.

In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and goodwill and decency.

Thank you very much.

That's it.

with all due respect to Ms. O'Donnell and those who are propounding gay marriage. This is something completely new to our society here in America and in the vast majority of populations around the world. There should be no surprise that there is some institutional pause to accepting the institution.

But does that make those who disagree with you "vile vicious and hateful"? It certainly does not serve your cause.

I would tend to believe this more than the global warming argument
Yahoo! News - Smoke Pollution Makes for Stronger Storms - Study: "Smoke drifting from burning forests in the Amazon is affecting the climate across the entire continent -- drying up rain but making the storms that do develop much more violent than usual, scientists reported on Thursday. "

These effects on a smaller scale are much more easily measurable than global effects over a period of time. I am sure the same thing is probably going on in China. There are plenty of reasons why mass forests burnings are a bad idea and I hope Brazil and China decide to do something about it, but they probably won't.

Box Office Guru Predicts Bofo Opening Weekend for the Passion

Weekend Box Office: "With a monumental weekend ahead of it, The Passion of the Christ could be able to generate about $67M over the Wednesday-to-Sunday period. "

This should translate to about a $200 million total domestic gross. The record for the highest-grossing foreign language film, currently held by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with $128.1M, should be broken easily.

(My prediciton of $42 million was way off, as usual)

This does not include DVD sales, which should be out of hand.

"Kerry For President: He Barely Even Knew Jane Fonda"

Wonkette has a list of Kerry campaign slogans, and the above is my favorite. Here are some of my oiwn:

America "Hart"s John Kerry
Votez-vous pour John le Kerree'; C'est magnifique!
John Kerry: Bush-free since '73!
John Kerry: Elect a bore in aught four!

AP News reports that Blair Hit by Annan Spying Claim, U.N. Cries Foul:

Oops. Our bad. "The Observer newspaper said the leaked memo showed America asked for Britain's help to bug the offices of Security Council members -- Chile, Mexico, Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan. "

Before this story goes nuts I have to know one thing. Why were spying on the U.N.? I hope Tenet can be tied to this so he get's his ass fired. The U.N. doesn't know anything. OK, let the craziness and vitriol commence.

A short and plain statment of the blog (via Southern Appeal)

Results from my "Which FRCP are you/": "YOU ARE RULE 8(a)! You are Rule 8, the most laid back of all the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While your forefather in the Federal Rules may have been a stickler for details and particularity, you have clearly rebelled by being pleasant and easy-going. Rule 8 only requires that a plaintiff provide a short and plain statement of a claim on which a court can grant relief. While there is much to be lauded in your approach, your good nature sometimes gets you in trouble, and you often have to rely on your good friend, Rule 56, to bail you out"

It's nice to be a positive Rule. I had always thought of myself as a Rule 12 kind of guy until now. Maybe I should join the plaintiff's bar..

Hollywood Concerned about Anit-Semitism? Not when it makes 25 million...
The Times gets a tad pollyannish here when it predicts that the Passion may "harm" Mel Gobson's career:
"Mel Gibson's provocative new film, 'The Passion of the Christ,' is making some of Hollywood's most prominent executives uncomfortable in ways that may damage Mr. Gibson's career.
Hollywood is a close-knit world, and friendships and social contact are critical in the making of deals and the casting of movies. Many of Hollywood's most prominent figures are also Jewish. So with a furor arising around the film, along with Mr. Gibson's reluctance to distance himself from his father, who calls the Holocaust mostly fiction, it is no surprise that Hollywood's Jewish and non-Jewish has been talking about little else, at least when it's not talking about the Oscars."

There has been only one rule in Hollywood over the past several decades.
Make money.
That is why DMX has gotten their shot in the movies.
And Eminem.
And Andrew Dice Clay.

And any number of hateful or hurtful people.

Hollywood just doesn't care. There is no sense of righteuosness. Christian, Jew, Agnostic, Muslim, Scientologist. Noe of them care. Their first credo is to make money.

And if this film makes money, then all will be forgiven.

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

New York Times endorses Kerry...um ..sort of

The New York Times has sort of endorsed John Kerry for the Democratic nomination. But to call this a backhand endorsement is a gross understatement. This is a 95 mile per hour two handed down the line Wimbledon winning Andre Agassi backhand endorsement. Onto the great stuff:
A Primary Endorsement

"The search for a Democratic presidential nominee has been defined by an Anyone-but-Bush sentiment, an obsession with choosing the man who will run the best campaign. But in the end, the party needs to pick the person who is most qualified to be president. That's why this page endorses Senator John Kerry in Tuesday's primary."

In other words, Kerry hasn't run a good campaign, we have no real idea what he's gonna do, and we don't really like him, but based on his resume, and the Heinz cash, he looks better to us.

"Senator John Edwards, Mr. Kerry's only serious competitor, has been terrific on the campaign trail. He has a great speech and enormous discipline, and he makes a direct and genuinely emotional connection with people of all backgrounds. It's easy to envision him as the nominee four or eight years down the line, or on the ticket for vice president this fall. But Mr. Edwards has spent only a few years in public life. When he departs from his stump speech and discusses domestic issues or — particularly — foreign affairs, his lack of experience shows."

We like John Edwards. He's a good guy and he runs a good campaign. And people who meet him like him. But we aren't going to pick him. Oh yeah, and none of that applies to John Kerry.

"It's true that Mr. Edwards has as much or more experience than George Bush did when he entered the White House in 2001. But that was a different era. Now Americans understand better that they live in perilous times, and they aren't likely to feel comfortable switching leaders this fall if the challenger seems to require a lot of on-the-job training. Mr. Bush himself was not well served by the thinness of his résumé when Sept. 11 occurred. "

Remember all that stuff we said in the first paragraph about not just picking the guy who we think has the best shot at beating Bush, well that was all a big lie.

"Mr. Kerry, one of the Senate's experts in foreign affairs, exudes maturity and depth. He can discuss virtually any issue of security or international affairs with authority. "

Kerry is so boring he must be saying something important.

'What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances and shades of gray in both foreign and domestic policy. "

This will work, Americans are reaaal comfortable with a nuanced position inthe wake of 9/11. And for all of those without their Times to English dictionary, nuanced means you, as amember of the public, are too stupid to understand Kerry, but trust us he is taking an actual position.

"While he still has trouble turning out snappy sound bites, we don't detect any difficulty in laying down a clear bottom line. His campaigning skills are perhaps not as strong as his intellectual ones, but they are pretty good and getting better. Early in the race he alienated some audiences with brittle, patronizing lectures. But he has improved tremendously over the last few months. His answers are focused and to the point, and his speeches far more compelling. "

This is a real solid endorsement. Once again they emphasize that it is the listeners stupidity and not Kerry's inability to get his ever changing point across. And I love the "we don't detect any difficulty part." New York times I think your bottom line detectors have been permanently set to nuanced. Move that over a couple of notches to "actual position" and get back to us.

"If Mr. Kerry wins the nomination, the Bush administration will undoubtedly attempt to paint Mr. Kerry as a typical Massachusetts liberal, but his thinking defies such easy categorization. His positions come from mainstream American thought, centrism of the old school."

Ahh the Ivory Towers of East Coast! The old school. This is also a capitulation to the thought that Kerry is not a "new Democrat" ala Clinton. He is an old Democrat in the mold of Johnson. The centrism the Times is discussing is that Kerry is halfway between Mao on the left and Joe Lieberman on the right.

"He has always worried over budget deficits"

Worried? Is that what we are looking for in a leader? A sense of worry? How about, he has always voted against budget that lead to deficit? At least that would differentiate him from Bush. I am sure Bush is worried about the deficit too. Of course he still spends like a hacker with a stolen credit card, but he is worried.

"His record on the environment is extremely strong."

That means extremely left.

"He is a gun owner and hunter who supports effective gun control laws, a combat veteran who, having seen a great deal of death, opposes capital punishment. A sense of balance comes through when he is talking. Unfortunately, so far in this campaign Mr. Kerry has shown little interest in being daring, expressing a thought that is unexpected or quirky on even minor issues. We wish we could see a little of the political courage of the Vietnam hero who came back to lead the fight against the war."

If you have a position, Mr. Kerry is for it, or at least he will be at some time. He is nuanced, not contradictory. And did he "lead" the fight against the war? Was that John Kerry "leading " the fight?

"While Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards have both demonstrated the physical and mental endurance that now seems a requisite for presidential candidates, Mr. Kerry has been the real comeback star this year. His early campaign was disastrous, and his slip from favorite to also-ran was so dramatic as to be embarrassing. But he pulled his organization together and handily won the early primaries. This was not the first time in his political career — or his life — that he has shown the toughness to keep going when things turn sour. That's a quality critical to a presidential nominee — and to a president."

Read, he has plenty of his own and his own wife's money to tap into if things go south. Well not south exactly. We don't really expect anyone to go south.

"The primary contest has now come down to two competing arguments. Mr. Kerry's supporters say Mr. Edwards suffers from a gravitas gap. Mr. Edwards's partisans say Mr. Kerry is on the wrong end of a charm chasm. The senator from Massachusetts seems to us to have warmed up a good deal since the campaign began. He can take the edge off his patrician aura, at least in part, by retelling the story of his Vietnam exploits and bringing back loyal blue-collar friends from the service to attest to his virtues as a leader."

Ahem, cough, uh, did the New York Times suggest that Kerry bring up Vietnam even MOOOORE? Is that even possible? This is the candidate who demanded that Vanity Fair photo op take place in a swift boat like the one he rode on in Vietnam, until they said that his picture wouldn't appear at all. He has adopted poor Max Cleland on the campaign trail for goodness sake. Do you think Cleland would be at all those campaign events if he could walk away? Kerry's probably got some staffer directed to push Cleland back on stage next to Kerry every time he tries to roll away.

"Almost everyone who has been watching the Democratic campaign would love to merge Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards into one composite super-candidate, with Mr. Kerry's depth and Mr. Edwards's personal touch with the voters. In the television era, likability is extremely important. But this is a serious business, and Mr. Kerry, the more experienced and knowledgeable candidate, gets our endorsement. "

In other words, we don't really like John Kery, he is boring, aloof, impassionate, and he can't connect to voters. But if even we find him boring he must be pretty smart. Also we don't really care about the qualit of the next President, we just want the guy who can beat Bush.

Well that's it. Quite an endorsement, that is. I am starting to feel alot better about President Bush's chances this fall.

Is there anything better than good news?

Yahoo! News - Study: Monkey's Protein Prevents HIV: "Scientists say they have discovered why some monkeys are resistant to infection with the AIDS (news - web sites) virus an exhilarating find that points to a new and highly promising strategy for blocking HIV (news - web sites) in people"

This could literally save a continent.

Another NFL Running Back With a 2000 Yard Season Gets Indicted

Yahoo! News - Football Star Jamal Lewis Indicted in Drug Case: " Star running back Jamal Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens (news) football team has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta on drug conspiracy charges, authorities said on Wednesday.

Lewis, 24, was charged with conspiring to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute the illegal drug from June 2000 until July 2002, according to an indictment. He was also charged with using a cell phone to commit a drug felony. "

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Self Policing Themselves Right Out of BusinessHoward Stern has been dropped from Clear Channel stations.

If you listen to Howard Stern in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Rochester, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; San Diego; and Pittsburgh then you will not hear him tomorrow.

I cannot help but think these guys are self policing themselves right out of business. I like Howard and think he could have a big business in satelite radio.

He is going to be livid tomorrow and I will be listening. He hates Bush now for this, and not without good reason. If the the FCC was coming after me I would go after the President as well.

Libya admits Pan Am 103 bombing :

"The statement, which appeared on Libya's Web site, said Libya had helped bring two suspects to justice 'and accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials.'
Referring to the prime minister's statement that Libya had not acknowledged responsibility in a letter to the United Nations, the Libyan news agency said 'recent statements contradicting or casting doubt on these positions are inaccurate and regrettable.'"

The Problem With D.C.'s water supply is Worse than Initially Thought.
Horror of all Horrors! Now we have Real Worlder's showing up in our H2O!

When will the nightmare end!

Quasi Mention in the New York Times!

But With These Words, Can I Thee Quasi-Wed?

The New York Times article on the Bush proposal seems more balanced, shockingly, than most of the stories in the past few days. The article notes:

"In calling on Congress to pass an amendment for approval by the states, President Bush made it clear that he wanted an amendment that would block recognition of same-sex marriages but allow individual state legislatures to recognize quasi-marital same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships."

"Matt Daniels, a lawyer who founded the Alliance for Marriage and who is another drafter of the amendment, said the semantic debate was beside the point. "We, the group that drafted the text and introduced it into the House and Senate," Mr. Daniels said, "are fully open to minor changes to the wording to make it clear, explicit and unambiguous."

Which is interesting. I wonder if an amendment which fully recognizes civil unions will pass?
I do not think the current Musgrave amendment does that, even if Judge Bork does.

And this statement, not quoted but attributed to Judge Bork, has to be a joke right?

"If voters approving the amendment believed it meant one thing, courts would be hard pressed to say it meant another."

Excuse me? Is it possible that Bork was saying that with his tongue firmly implanted in his cheeck?

There is no way this plan could backfireYahoo! News - Iran Proposes War of 'Comb Jellies' in Caviar Sea:Iran on Wednesday proposed introducing a new jellyfish-like species into the Caspian Sea, to devour gelatinous relatives that are wiping out fish stocks in the inland sea.

The "Mnemiopsis," a ctenophore or comb jelly, dubbed "the Monster" by fishermen, has decimated stocks of small, anchovy-like "kilka" by gobbling up the minuscule plankton on which the kilka feeds.

I live in one of these houses. Great.

Yahoo! News - District to Issue Warning on Lead: "D.C. health officials plan to announce today that all pregnant women and children younger than 6 who live in homes with lead service lines should immediately stop drinking unfiltered tap water and have their blood tested, a rare safety measure they say is necessary to safeguard the city's most vulnerable population."

Did Hawaii have a .8% voter turnout?

According to CNN.com's coverage of the 2004 Primaries it appears as if about 4800 people showed up to vote in the Hawaii democratic Caucuses.

(sometimes it is difficult to tell in the caucuses if these are actual voters or electors selected by the voters, let's assume these are vote totals though..)

C'mon people! I know there was a Hawaiin in the race, but seriously. You could have given Kucinich the win!

Got Compelled Speech?
CNN.com - Court: 'Got Milk?' campaign illegally milks farmers - Feb. 24, 2004: "The unanimous 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturns a lower court ruling that dairy farmers Joseph and Brenda Cochran had to contribute to the National Dairy Promotion Board campaign even though the couple felt the ads did little to support sustainable agriculture products, such as milk from cows that are not injected with hormones. "

The Court stated in its 21-page opinion, “[G]overnment may not compel individuals to support an advertising program for the sole purpose of increasing demand for [a] product.” It further stated, “[P]romotional programs such as the Dairy Act seem to really be special interest legislation on behalf of the industry’s interest more so than the government’s.” The Court concluded, “Although the dairy industry may be subject to a labyrinth of federal regulation, the Dairy Act is a stand-alone law and the compelled assessments for generic dairy advertising are not germane to a larger regulatory purpose other than the speech itself.”

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

So how many votes did Bush lose or gain?

If this was a political decision, as accused by many, then exactly how many votes will it cost Republicans this fall?

First let's assume that this will cost Bush the entire gay vote. "Exit polls show Bush took 25 percent of the gay vote, a statistically insignificant increase from Robert J. Dole's 23 percent in 1996. "

First I have no idea how they tabulated that data, if I was asked at an exit poll my sexual orientation I would have said "no thank you."

Next exactly how many votes is that assming around 105 million people vote this fall. Is it 25% of the widely bandied about 10% of the population figure? Or is it 24% of the some what more accepted 3% male, 1.4 % female figure. Let's just say that 5% of the voting population was homosexual and 25 % of those voted for Bush. That means that Bush got approximately 1.3 million votes from homosexuals in 2000.

Let's say those are gone. If any of those votes were in Florida, that hurts him. Let's also assume that this might invigorate the gay community to vote against Bush. Based on high concentration of homsexual communities this will especially hurt in states with lerger urban areas like New York, California, Illinois and Florida.

Next there are those voters who might be concerned with other aspects of Bush's policies and this put them over the edge. I have no idea who that might be, or how many votes that would be but let's throw out a number of about a million.

So, on the high end this could cost Bush approximately 3 million votes.

Will it net him that many?

i doubt it. First this decision is unlikely to motivate a large number of people who voted against Bush in 200 to vote for him now. Maybe some.

Now it might serve to energize his evangelical base to work harder than they would have in 2000. But enough to overcome the 3 million vote deficit?

Tough to say. they obviously know more about this in the White House than I do. But what it does indicate is that this might not not necessarily be a political decision.

Paul Begala is an Idiot
Well that's not really news, but what he said today about the marriage amendment displays a deep lack of knowledge about the Constituion. (Let me add that I do not support such an amendment for a whole host of reasons.) He said that the amendment would be the first in American history to limit individual freedom and expand the power of government into our personal lives.

The first? Well how about the Fifth Amendment which lets the government to take private property.
The 16th Amendment which allows the government to take your personal income. The Eighteenth did the same thing for 14 years.

Does it really matter if the President backs the Amendment?

So the President supports the amendment. So what. At no point does the President have a role in the formal amendment process . He cannot veto an amendment proposal, nor a ratification.
And if you think that a President can cause an amendemnt's ratification, how are those Victim's rights working out?

and to those who raise the federalism issue, remeber this highly federalist amendment was proposed in 1860 and ratified by 2 states:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

It was known as the Slavery Amendment and is still outstanding. This same amendment would have also protected gay marriage.

My New Candidate For President.
His name is Billy Jack and he will just go beserk.

Bush supports amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages

President Bush announced his support to an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages.

First the political note. This a play for the Catholic, the Baptist south and the Ohio vote.

Will it work? Possibly.

I think this is a losing war though. There is no way to win a public relations war when the battle is being fought against those trying to do a positive act, such as getting married.

I think its an unfortunate turn of events. I do not think that these types of social institutions should be controlled in the Constitution.

By the way, the ACLU's argument is that we should not write discrimination into the constitution. I wopuld aer that almost every modern amendment is discriminatory. I need only point out the Fourteenth Amendment whish discriminates against those who are alive but not yet "viable".

"This is the most violent film I have ever seen"

Ebert gives THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST four stars ( **** (R))

Ebrt seems to take a different tack than most reviewers because he evaluates what is on the screen, not is what is not there :"This is not a sermon or a homily, but a visualization of the central event in the Christian religion. Take it or leave it."

He also addresses, though not intentionally, the claim that Gibson has attempted to make a commercial production:

"Gibson has not made a movie that anyone would call "commercial," and if it grosses millions, that will not be because anyone was entertained. "

He also raises this caution:
"I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. It will probably be the most violent you have ever seen."

I think this is important because many church groups are renting out theatres to take their families to see the production. I cannot imagine taking anyone under 12 or 13 to see this movie, as it will likely scare the, well, the bejeebus out of them.

MCCovey Lawyer Predicts Victory in Wake of Fifth Circuit Cancellation of Oral Argument

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Cancels Roe V. Wade oral arguments March 2. The order signed Monday by Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones of Houston offered no explanation for why judges decided against the hearing a week beforehand. "

I think McCovey's attorney is likely incorrect. Granted, Judge Jones os one of the most conservative justices but I find it highly unlikely that the "new" evidence concerned abortion would be sufficient to open this case back up. The more likely scenario is a summary dismissal of the case.

Woman Says 'I Don't' At NBA Game

So this guy proposes at center court during an NBA game, and the woman runs away.Nice.

I wonder how many times in the future this guy will the phrase:"Hey remember that time when you proposed at center court and the woman ran away/ That was funny."

Job Opening: 14 Da-men with an ability to speak Russian and desire to Subjugate the Masses

"Russian President Vladimir Putin abruptly fired Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and the rest of the cabinet Tuesday in a surprise shakeup just 18 days before an election Putin is certain to win. "

You know there are some who wish the same thing would happen in this country.

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I know this is somehow going to be the Republicans fault...

C.I.A. Was Given Data on Hijacker Long Before 9/11: "In March 1999, German intelligence officials gave the Central Intelligence Agency the first name and telephone number of Marwan al-Shehhi, and asked the Americans to track him.

The name and phone number in the United Arab Emirates had been obtained by the Germans by monitoring the telephone of Mohamed Heidar Zammar, an Islamic extremist in Hamburg who was closely linked to the important Qaeda plotters who ultimately mastermined the Sept. 11 attacks, German officials said. "

Condi Index Over 30 for First Time!

Ap New reports Pentagon Opens Halliburton Criminal Probe: "The Pentagon said on Monday it opened a criminal investigation of fraud allegations against a unit of Vice President Dick Cheney (ed. yeah you always have to include that, it's almost become part of the name)'s old company Halliburton Co. including possible overpricing of fuel delivered to Iraq . "

Keep on Rovin' Rovin' Rovin' Rovin'

Yahoo! News - NASA Rover Seeks Clues of Water on Mars: " Spirit rover continued probing a tiny martian trench Sunday that may yield clues about whether there ever was water in the area, and was set to begin a 445-foot drive to a crater. "

Passion Review In Hollywood Reporter

Here is a review of the movie. It is both a positive and a negative review but it contains two interesting statements:

"Indeed, it's doubtful any human being could remain conscious for his own execution were he to endure the level of physical abuse graphically depicted here. "


"More troubling is Gibson's decision to make Jesus into a victim of political intrigue, thus denying him his martyrdom. "

Interesting. I can only think that if Gibson had protrayed Jesus as getting bitten by a radioactive spider at the beginning of the movie, things may have made more sense for this reviewer.

The Hotel Gitmo Prepares for More Guests

Reuters News reports: "The United States is preparing a detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to house tens of thousands of refugees who may flee unrest in Haiti, officials in humanitarian organizations said on Wednesday"

The State Department told us they were getting slots ready for as many as 50,000 at Guantanamo and they would like humanitarian organizations to be involved in caring for these people," said one official, who asked not to be named.

How much space do we have down there in Cuba anyway?

Maybe secularism isn't the answer...

U.N. warns HIV on rise in Western Europe, rampaging through Eastern Europe, Central Asia: "The virus that causes AIDS is spreading again in Western Europe and is rampaging through Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where it infected 250,000 people last year, a United Nations health official said Monday. "

Would the proposed Marriage Amendment Affect the Judge Bill?

In 2002, the President signed a law which extended benefits to be paid to the domestic partners of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty, permanently extending a federal death benefit to same-sex couples for the first time.

There is a significant debate over the extent of the proposed FMA, but I wonder if this bill would immediately be nullified.

So what is a neocon, and why is it pejorative?

This is a months old topic, bu the more and more the phrase gets lobbed around, it seems to encompass more and more people. the good news is that if "neo-con" is considered pejorative, that means conservative is non-pejorative, whereas liberal can still be tossed around with an insulting flair. Of course, no one knows what a liberal is either. And I am really not sure what a conservative is anymore either.

This is a world where the "liberal left" is supporting the homosexual community trying to participate in the squarest and most conservative traditions of getting married and becoming priests.
Getting married and becoming priests? What happened to homosexuals movement? Getting married and becoming a preist doesn't sound very gay to me. If this is a marketing technique, it is a starnge one.

And the far conservative right has symbolized by the press by Roy Moore, a man who, horror of all horrors, tried to put the Ten Commandments in the foyer of a courthouse. Arrggh my eyes! I cannot render justice equally now that I know that God says I should respect my mother and father! How should I rule on this car accident case?

It seems to mean that two groups are battling over who is the squarest of them all.

Where are the love-ins? Hippie filled concerts? Drugs in the streets? Studio Freakin 54?

I went to one of the major anti-war rally's last fall and it was a capitalist paradise. Orderly families buying t-shirts and preztels. Handing out Sprint and Sony fliers.

And where are the reciprocal cop squads with night sticks beating the protesters down? The halcyon conservative days of Tricky Dick's "hit list" and using the CIA to topple regimes and install dictators from within. I know Pinochet, I have seen Pinochet, Mr Pachachi, you are no Pinochet.

Now the conservatives are arguing that we should go around the world and promote democratic liberalism, while the liberals are arguing that American troops are to valuable for that practice and must be kept at home.

Domestically its all wacko too. The conservatives are expanding government entitlement programs, liberalizing our immigration policies and spending like Hilton sister at Barney's. (Well consiering that they are spending on credit, maybe like Winona Ryder at Barney's)

The liberals meanwhile are arguing that the prescription drug benefit is too expensive, the immigration policy is an illegal alien amnesty program and the government should be spending much less.

So what is a neo-con? Well it is a big spending, bigger borrowing, entitlement loving, ten commandment reading, world policing, free trading, pro-drilling, marriage denying, border opening square who are going back to Texas where they belong.

And what is a liberal? Well it is a limited spending, bigger taxing, entitlement restricting, preisthood wanting, national interest over world interest wanting, anti-drilling, marriage endorsing, protectionist, border closing square who are going back to Massassachussetts where they belong.

The only real difference between the Presidential candidates is this:

If you make over 100,000 grand a year and want to keep it that way, and want to drill in ANWR, and don't mind someone who is a little trigger happy when it comes to blowing up Syria, Iran and North Korea, vote Republican.

If you make less than that, and do not plan or forsee on making more than that in the next four years, and don't want to drill in ANWR, and want someone who is not trigger happy (but will end up doing the same thing anyway) then vote Democrat.

I myself am a neo-liberal neo-conservative since I believe in alot of the neo-liberal planks, smaller government, less spending, pro-marriage, pro-religion, and the neo-conservative planks, smaller government, less spending, pro-marriage, pro-religion.

Or maybe I am just horribly confused.

The enemy of my enemy is ...my candidate?

Forget Nader. Draft Moore. Timothy Noah wonders if Roy Moore will be the conservative equivalent of Ralph Nader, and spoil the electon on the right. The problem is that Moore is so far right that he is left.

Judge Bill Pryor, who was just sworn in on the 11th circuit after a recess nomination, has been labelled by the press, and the Democrats ,as a fringe fundy nut bag on the far right.

Well if he is a fringe nut bag on the far right then Roy Moore must be so far to right that he is actually left, because Judge Bill Pryor thought he was enough of a fringe nut bag to prosecute him for violating state laws.

Pryor got the court order to have Moore stop violating the state law and Federal Court decision, and then when Moore refused, he went ahead and enforced the laws himself by removing the ten commandments from the courthouse. Eventually it was his actions that got Moore booted from office.

(Note to Californians, I know this must sound strange, but it turns out that when an elected official considers themselves above state laws, it is actually the Atorney General's duty to prosecute that official. Wierd huh?)

So if a fringe fundy nut job thinks Moore is a fringe fundy nut job then what does that make Moore? Byu the way the New Times could not answer this question so it lied and put the two in the same basket by calling Pryor an inital supporter of Moore. Well if Pryor is a "supporter" of Moore, I don't think many of his other supporters will vote for him.

Moore could run, and get some votes in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, but I don't think he could draw enough supoort away from Bush in any state that would sway the electoral votes to the Democrats. Maybe Louisiana.

Meanwhile if Moore runs it should serve to help Bush by allowing him to distinguish himself from the fringe right. On the other hand if Nader gets press coverage, it will serve only to draw the Democrats farther to the left.

The Apprentice teaches young Exec's the true Trump Techniques

Turns out the kids on the Apprentice are learning alot about the business world inhabited by Donald Trump. Primarily, when a deal is in the works, ethics need not apply.

Last week the two teams were in charge of renting two apartments which they were to refurbish. Problem is, one of the apartments had alreay been leased to a tenant. According to this article, the teneant claims that the show, "showed me coming in to see the place, and signing a lease with a 27 percent markup on the rent.
But I didn't end up paying that inflated "

She had already signed a lease for a much lower amount and the landlord agreed to honor that amount as long as she played along.

I guess everyone won is this little theatre of the ethically absurd.

The Donald got a nice show.
The landlord got a renovated apartment.
The tenant got the agreed upon price.
NBC got big ratings.

Well, maybe Tammy, the booted contestant, might have a problem with the little ethical lapses of those involved. Unfortunately for her, everyone was pretty much satisfied that she left.

Tactical Shift in Bush Campaign

The slogan has been decided (Steady Leadership in a Time of Change). The President is going to meet with a group of Republican Governors and give his first real stump speech.

Following tomorrow's returns the ads will stop rolling. Hopefully the first set will be positive.

Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday...

I just love writing that sentence.

Official Passion prediction:

Andy Rooney had a particularly nasty piece last night where he called Mel Gibson a nut for no particular reason and then accused Gibson of a profit motive for making the Passion.

It was particularly uninformed because he said Mel would be making 30 million off the project. Which is sad for a couple of reasons.

Whatever you want to say about Mel Gibson and his movie, he is so far above criticism as to the profit incentive behind this picture that it is insane to even raise it. Gibson broke the number #1 cardinal rule of Hollywood in this picture. He put his own money into it. And lots of it. Reportedly upwards of 25 million. (The number 2 rule is don't let Kevin Costner write or direct the project and number 3 is not to involve Pauly Shore in any way.)

This is not a "points" type system like James Cameron did with the studio in Titanic, where he gave up any up front money for points on the back end. No. Mel spent his own cash on this project. If it failed that money was gone.

He broke a number of other cardinal rules:

He made a religious movie.
The movie is in a foreign language.
The movie has no big name star.
It has an R rating, despite no sex, and lots of graphic violence.
No girl on girl kissing.

These are all reasons why the movie should fail completely.

But apparently it looks like Mr. Gibson will recoup all of that money and even more. Churches are preaching on the movie and many churches have been showing trailers for "The Passion" during services and buying advance tickets by the busload. According to commercialappeal.com "the Evangelical Free Church (EFCN) of Naperville, Ill., has bought more than 1,200 advance tickets, and church members and their guests will attend five screenings over four days."

Right now predictions are running upwards of 30 million.

But I think that's low.

Initially the movie was scheduled to open in about 2000 theatres, but because of demand, the distributor Newmarket Films is increasing the number of prints from 2,500 to 4,000 and 2,800 cinemas across North America will now show the film. Similarly the online ticket service Fandango said The Passion, which depicts the last 12 hours of Christ's life, was making up nearly 70% of its advance sales.

At movietickets.com, it is already sold out at the theatre, where it is showing on two screens, at the two sneak previews on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Fandango still has some tickets available.

So exactly how much money will it make? It is the only major movie opening up next weekend although the comedy Club Dread, the horrific looking Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and the remake of every other Ashley Judd movie Twisted from Paramount. (This movie was once titled Blackout and was scheduled for release last fall.)

Well, based on all of my intricate analysis and knowledge of the movie industry, I think that the movie will take in $42 million from Wednesday through Sunday night. This is a huge take and will require a majority of sell outs in the theatres it is in. But I have confidence. By the way movies tend to gross about three times their opening weekend take in the new Hollywood math. I think Andy Rooney will be proven wrong long before Sunday night.

Any other guesses?

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I sincerely doubt this is true...but nevertheless...

Sunday Telegraph - Bin Laden 'surrounded' [February 22, 2004]: "The Sunday Express, known for its sometimes colourful scoops, claims the al-Qaeda leader has been "sighted" for the first time since 2001 and is being monitored by satellite.

The paper claims he is in a mountainous area to the north of the Pakistani city of Quetta. The region is said to be peopled with bin Laden supporters and the terrorist leader is estimated to also have 50 of his fanatical bodyguards with him."

But it sure would be nice if it was true.

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

Senator John Kerry- "A run-of-the-mill bourgeois politician and representative of the American ruling elite."

Well at least he is according to the World Socialist Web Site here. Apparently he also has" a leaden speaking style and a tendency to pontificate and equivocate."

Other great Kerry quotes:

" Kerry, who in many ways epitomizes the spineless Washington Democratic Party establishment that Dean had initially targeted in his campaign."

And this one:

"The Wall Street Journal profiled these ties in an article February 18 on a fundraising gathering for Kerry at the Park Avenue apartment of Blair Effron, vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank. Among those attending were Pete Peterson, chairman of Blackstone Group and perhaps the leading advocate of austerity in US fiscal policy; Stephen Robert, former chairman of Oppenheimer Group; hedge-fund manager James Chanos; and real-estate executive and investment banker Richard Richman.

The Journal noted the cynicism of the Democratic front-runner’s approach to the financiers: “Sen. Kerry’s courting of Wall Street is no cakewalk. He is using populist corporate-bashing rhetoric to woo the party’s liberal base, even as a campaign adviser privately sends the reassuring message that the senator actually is ‘pro-business’ and will be ‘more nuanced going forward’.”"

Who knew Kerry was such a capitalist pig?

By the way, I consider the World Socialist Web Site my number one source for all of my important socialist news and I am willing to fight anyone who says different! The people united will never be divided!

Two must read posts on the Pryor appoinment

Bledarblog has an excellent post on the NYT article:

BeldarBlog: The Pryor appointment (and the NYT's continuing efforts to smear him)

I highly recommend you read him and then return here to see what you can do about it.

I rarely get mad. But the more I read that New York Times editorial disguised as an article, it makes me incensed.

After you have calmed down a little, go to Southern Appeal and read all about everything else.

I am just barely a Yankee.

According to the Yankee or Dixie quiz.

Of course I spent my formative years in Texas and Alabama, so i guess I grew out of it.

New trend in marriage spreads to New Mexico.

County to issue same-sex marriage licenses:

"Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap says the county plans to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

She made the decision after asking for an opinion from the county attorney, who said New Mexico law isn't clear on the issue. He also says refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples could open the county to legal action.

State law defines marriage as a civil contract between contracting parties. It doesn't mention gender."

The Great War?

The more and more of this nuclear trading story that comes to light, the more I am convinced that the Iraq war may have saved every last one of us.

Pakistani Said to Have Given Libya Uranium

The Scotsman - International - Libya able to process plutonium claims UN

Dr Khan sold $3m worth of nuclear parts to Iran

Khan probe opens Pandora's box - The Times of India

AM - Malaysian whistleblower reveals nuclear trade secrets

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Britons 'had key role in Libyan nuclear arms'

Taking the war to the terrorists is the only way we ever would have uncovered this international conspiracy.

I am still waiting for the words Syria and Iraq to appear in these stories....

I wonder if the fact that Syria lost its nuclear provider or will soon be named in the investigation was an impetus for this.

David Stout: You are a horrible journalist.

David Stout, a journalist for the New York Times has written this article: Bush Seats Judicial Nominee That Senate Democrats Blocked

This statement is flat out disgusting in its ommission and mischaracterization of the facts:

"Mr. Pryor is known for, among other things, defending the right of high school athletes to pray 'spontaneously' and for his initial support of an Alabama state judge who posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and erected a monument engraved with the Commandments in the Supreme Court rotunda."

Gee. that's curious. I thought Bill Pryor was known for his youth at the time of his confirmation, his highly contentious confirmation battle, and his actions that eventuallyremoved Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments from their respective offices.

The old gray lady, she sure does have some issues. By the way, this ridiculous statement did not come from an editorial, but a news article. The crazy thing is that the word "initial" was added after the article was initially published in order to correct it. That was the only problem the editors found with the sentence. The lack of the word initial.

It is really beyond words!

By the way in case you were curious:

"The Times welcomes comments and suggestions, as well as information about errors that call for correction. Messages may be e-mailed to nytnews@nytimes.com or left at this toll-free number: 1-888-NYT-NEWS (1-888-698-6397). For comments on an editorial: letters@nytimes.com (by fax, 212-556-3622). For newspaper delivery questions: 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637)."

Remember the author of the article is David Stout.

And in a crazy shock, the conservatives in Iran seem to be winning!

Channelnewsasia.com: "Religious conservatives in Iran have taken an early lead in elections for the 290-seat parliament, official sources said after the the first 50 results from Friday's polls were announced by state radio"

That's hard to believe. I mean, the reformers were not allowed to participate and they lost!

Of course the conserviteves had the best campaign slogan:
"Senior figures in the regime campaigned against a call by prominent outgoing reformers for a boycott, playing on nationalist and Islamic sentiment by calling each ballot cast a "bullet into the heart" of US President George W. Bush"

Notes on Congressional Attempts to Limit Federal Court Jurisdiction

I did not get a chance to mention this last week but HR 3799 which would cut off federal jurisdiction of cases like Mr. Newdow's
was introduced on February 11.

This is not the first time this tactic has been used and it will not be the last. (By the way it would have no impact on Newdow's case even if passed today.) This is an oft used tactic in Congress, by both parties, which does not make it efficaceous, but more on that later.

This type of legislation has not recently been successful in controversial issues, mostly, I would guess, because members of both parties recognize that Federal courts are a good thing most of the time and that Congress, despite group think, often writes unconstitutional laws.

However on less controversial topics, this type of legislation has passed. For example, in order to clean up the backlog of the millions of immigration cases currently pending in the Department of Homeland Security, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General's decisions (1) to commence immigration proceedings, (2) to adjudicate immigration cases, or (3) to "execute removal orders.

Two recent examples of failed efforts include the Defense of Marriage Act and Partial Birth Abortion

This is a perfectly constitutional power, since under Article II if they wanted to, the Congress could just get rid of all the lower federal courts.

This power is not thought to be unlimited, i.e. there is an "essential functions" limitation on the Exceptions Clause, although the outer edges of the limitation are fuzzy.(what does footnote four on Carolene really mean anyway)

(What congress should do is prevent jurisdiction in federal courts of any cause of action that derives from a right found in a footnote of a Supreme Court opinion.)

But the fact that this bill was reintroduced means that the fear of liberal judges and the Supreme Court is alive and well.

Second, this act really does promote federalism. If there is no appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court then if a state were to hold that the law violated either the state of Federal constitution, that would be it for that state! Granted those acts would have no impact on Federal government, but consider this scenario:

Let's say the Newdow case had been brought under this regime in a California State Court. The California Supreme Court agrees with Newdow and that's it. No more pledge of allegiance in California schools ever again!

More on this later. Promse.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Way to go Ralphie Boy!

Nader May Run for President Again (washingtonpost.com)

Nader is appearing on Meet the Press this Sunday to make his announcement.

I predict he will not run.

If he were going to run, then he would announce he was running and still get an hour on Meet the Press.

However as soon as he announces he is not running he gets no Press time.

This is his last big time shot to bash the White House and he is taking advantage of the media to do so.

He is going to rail against everyone and then announce he is not running.

I think.

Big news Day.

Also haiti is going up in flames and the Shuttle is grounded for another year.

Introducing Judge William Pryor.

Reports indicate that President Bush has made his next recess appointment, and that is Judge Bill Pryor to the 11th Circuit.

more later...

Supreme Court will hear Padilla Case...

More later.

Condi Rice Index Up

The Condi Rice Index moved up again this week because of the swirling news stories.

It also moved up because of a very funny top ten list involving the issue on David Letterman last night.
The best reason that Cheney will be replaced as Vice President?

#4 The CIA is reporting that Cheney definitely will not be replaced as Vice President this fall.

The Passion of Christ, Pontius Pilot and Paul Bremer

Watching some of the stills and clips today further encouraged me to go see the Passion when it comes out on Wednesday..

And juxtaposing those pictures with Paul Bremer's statements today in occupied Iraq created quite the image. that image was brought into focus when Rabbi Joe Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis on Fox News (Greta Van Sustern's show), in commenting on the history protrayed in the movie, said that it was ridiculous to think that Pontious Pilot, with the full weight and power of Rome behind him, would be intimidated or influenced by the local Jewish population into doing something he did not want to do.

Ridiculous? Tell that to Paul Bremer, who is faced with kowtowing to the wishes of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the Shi'ite Muslims on Iraq's Governing Council. The United States now must pay their pound of flesh to the Muslim clerics and change their plans for a pure federal system or face massive protests.

It turns out that no matter what the time period, and no matter what the might, numbers matter. And the numbers are against the United States in Iraq for a smooth transition, just like they were against the Romans in ancient Israel.

It almost makes you feel bad for Pilot. Well not really.

(This post in no way means to compare Paul Bremer to Pontious Pilot; Muslim Clerics to Jewish Leaders, Jesus to Allah, the United States to Ancient Rome, George Bush to Ceasar or Mel Gibson to Pliny the Elder)

Today's Comic:

Click here for full image.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Yet another Scott Ott Gem

ScrappleFace: Dean to Supporters: 'You Got Punk'd'

Did Instapundit elect Ben Chandler?

Wired News reports that Blogs Pump Bucks Into Campaigns:
Blogs ads played a big role in fund raising for Ben Chandler who turned a $2000.00 investment into $80000.00 in donations in two weeks.

Anyone who has visited Instapundit recently can't help but notice the incredibly annoying Blog Ads on the side advertising a vote for Chandler.

However Chandler can't be all that bad:

'He uses the Internet almost exclusively for fantasy baseball,' said campaign spokesman Jason Sauer, who added that he wasn't sure whether, until recently, Chandler even knew what a blog was. "

Anyone who plays fantasy baseball is ok in my book.

Jamaica passes equal property distribution upon divorce

World Press Review - reports that:

"WOMEN'S GROUPS yesterday hailed landmark legislation which will give equal shares to spouses involved in a failed marriage or common-law relationship. Female MPs and others gave a standing ovation when the House of Represen-tatives on Tuesday passed the Family Property (Rights of Spouses) Act following passage by the Senate last Friday.

The Act, among other things, grants a 50-50 split in sharing property and also places equal significance on the monetary and domestic contributions of married and unmarried couples."

Who knew that thye didn't have equal property split before now?

I wonder what divorce laws are like in the rest of the hemisphere.

It is interesting that the United States is debating Gay Marriage when the rest of the world is just geting around to recognize the role of a woman in a traditional marriage.

I wonder if there has ever been such a huge dichotomy between the social values in simultaneous civilizations in human history.

Kerry Confirms Hoffa statements

On CNN today, Kerry says he is in fact:

In favor of the national gas pipeline in Alaska.
In favor of drilling in 95% of National Petroleum reserve.

He says there is no contradiction between his position and what James Hoffa said.

Groups like Earthjustice oppose the current administration's plan to open up 100% of a particular portion of the NPR. It is unclear where Kerry stands on that particular lawsuit.

He did get feisty in the interview. Especially when the issue of his being "fuzzy" on the issue came up.
He defendend himself on not being fuzzy. And then attempted to give straight answers to questions.

Unfortunately he reurn to his fuzzy answers almost immediately. For example when the issue of his Winter Soldier testimony before Congress was raised, testimony in which he detailed war crimes by American soldiers, he stated that despite what he said, he was not accusing American troops of war crimes, but he was accusing American leaders of abandoning their troops.

A story you won't likely see on Scarborough Country!

The L.A. Times reports that Kerry Lobbied for Contractor Who Made Illegal Contributions The story notes that John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen.

The story also notes that: "Majumder admitted giving illegal contributions to Kerry and Reps. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (R-San Diego), Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), totaling more than $95,000. To settle a civil suit, Majumder has agreed to repay $3 million to the federal government."

Even if Scarborough doesn't report on it , others will.

The more and more of these stories that come to light, the more they will begin to stick. You have to wonder how many of theses stories the Bush team knew about before releasing their "nprincipled" internet ad, and how many more they have in their pocket.....

Mem-orandum is just great!

Just checked out memeorandum, and I must say it is a quite nicely presented summary of the current political memes around the blogosphere.

I also wonder how many posts on different blogs qualifies a meme?

1 post is an issue.
2 posts is a coincidence.
3 posts is a paper topic.
10 posts is a meme?

I also wonder what type of system Gabe over there has to categoize and sort his feeds.

If it is mostly automatic using RSS or an equivalent, directly onto his site, then Kudos to him. Nice CSS.

And, even if it is mostly manual, using just a feed aggregator and some sweat, then whew, he must be busy!

Keep up the good work.

The New Blog Circuit?

This debate over the the Ninth Amemdment, and the very high quality of the comment spurred me to think that maybe the Blogosphere should get it's own Circuit Court of Appeal.

Sure the Blog Circuit would be largely advisory in nature and its decision non-binding, but hey, how does that differentiate it from the Ninth?

The Blog Circuit would serve as a layer between the appellate court system and the Supreme Court.

The best thing about the Circuit is, thanks to google, there would be no such thing as an unpublished opinion!

Of course there is ample evidence to suggest this system already exists. Sitemeter reports rife with supremecourt.gov hits indicating that the clerks are reading the blogs during their lunch breaks as opposed to those pesky amicus briefs which sit as coasters collecting coffe rings on their cluttered desks. (Does the blogosphere eliminate the amicus brief? Answer this question: If you had a case peding before the Supreme Court which would you rather have: An amicus brief on your behalf from some local D.C. foundation or several posts in favor of your position on Bashman and Instapundit? I would prefer the latter.)

If the blogosphere did have its own Circuit who would you nominate to be on it?

Just of the top of my head I think I might go with:

Eugene Volokh
Howard Bashman
Glenn Reynolds
Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Solum
Professor Bainbridge

Any other suggestions?

Parallel Processing in the Blogosphere

By the way I love the way Feddie has ignited an intelligent (excluding my own addition) debate in the blogosphere.

It exemplifies I think the power that political parties should strive for when seeking to use the internet for political purposes.

Think in parallel processes, not serial processes.

Eventually the Blog for America became a serial adventure, where one post on the Blog would echo 450 times with bonehead rhetoric with posters linking to their own blogs with the exact same message posted in the same manner.

In the end it was inneffective as a method to pull those out side the process into the process.

Unaffiliated blogs and sites linked together in a blogroll with a RSS feed may work much better. Blogs for Bush is doing something like this. Much more efficient use of the resources and quicker solution to the answer.

And Starting in Left Field and batting third for the Macon Federalists- Feddie!

There is a great debate at Southern Appeal and echoing around the blogosphere concerning the Ninth Amendment. And, while fascinating, the reading has turned Shakespearean for myself and I am beginning, to wonder if the sound and fury of the debate signifies anything. For myself, prior to the debate I tended to agree with the Borkian inkblot view of the Amendment, and after many mental travails to the far coasts of pre-, non- and inherit incorporation of the Ninth Amendment I have reluctantly returned to that view, with maybe a slight amendment(let's call it the quasi-sword inkblot view). But more on that later.

Feddie makes this point in one of his posts:Southern Appeal: "Thus, in my opinion, when the States signed off on the federal constitution they permanently enshrined and protected certain individual liberties. Maybe I'm out in left field on this one, but I am starting to believe that the incorporation doctrine may not have even been necessary."

Well welcome to left field, Feddie. Sit down, relax, have a home brew, there are lots of out there for a variety of reasons. Primarily, I would say you are in left field based simply on the text of the document itself. Reading certain amendments it is clear that these were the States who ceded the creation of powers on behalf of themselves and not the People. The First Amendment specifically addresses Congress, and not the inherent right of the people, in preventing the establishment of a religion. Remember at that time several states had their own official religions. The third amnedment, applying to Soldiers, also only applies t the Federal government. This language, referencing Congress, is not present in the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth. However, in the Seventh we are once agian presented with the language specifically limiting the language to a Federal cause of action in that it only applies to a Court of the United States.

But what about those amendments that do not mention a Federal instrument, including the Ninth. Couldn't we interpret the hidden hand of the Madisonian "people" securing their own rights against any intrusion, Federal or State, in the text of those clauses? Well that argument would carry some weight if there were actual representives of the "people" crafting the Constitution. Yes, yes the fantastic preamble does begin peotically "we the people.." but these were not the direct representatives of the "people" who were attending and drafting the Constitution. These were representatives of the States who brought back a drafted Constitution to the States for ratification by the state legislatures. Had this been an actual democratic process, with a direct vote by the people, then Feddie's pre-incorporated or inheritly incorporated doctrine might have a toe hold.

So when Feddie says:" I am also of the opinion that the Ninth Amendment, in and of itself, can be used to prohibit the States from infringing on the unenumerated rights falling with in the ambit of the amendment's protection." it simply does not hold water.

For, if true, this would resulted in the opposite effect of those attending the Constitutional Convention desired.

Those few and limited rights enumerated in the Constitution, and therefore specifically not under the auspices of the Ninth Amendment, could have been denied willy nilly by the States prior to incorporation.

However those more expansive and unlisted rights, described as unenumerated in the Ninth Amendment, would have been untouchable by the States and reserved to regulation by the Constitution through Amendment.

Ultimately, if you accept Feddie's analysis, then there are all these multiple uncountable rights inherent in the people that were present at the time of the framing that were in no way impacted by the Bill of Rights, that were preserved to them by the Ninth Amendment, and that may not be limited by any State, but may be limited by Federal law through Constitutional amendment.

This would have expanded the Federal Government's power immensely and practically uncontrollably prior to incorporation.

Of course Owen's position on the issue doesn't fill me with overwhelming confidence either. He states, "My position is and always has been that the Ninth Amendment was designed to limit the federal government to its enumerated powers. That's what Madison meant when he spoke of "unenumerated rights." "

But this statement avoids the question of the impact and application, as opposed to the pure meaning, of the Ninth Amendment completely. For example, at the time of the amendment no one would have thought that the Federal government could have dictated to a farmer what he could and could not grow in his back yard. The freedom to farm would have undeniably fallen within the Ninth Amendment. And yet the commerce power was an enumerated power in the Constitution and that has since been used to prevent farmers from growing all sorts of things. (Wickard sucks.) Could the Ninth Amendment be seriously claimed to prevent that action? As an amendment to the Articles of the Constitution it should be read to limit the Constitution by excepting those things which may not be restricted.

And, with respect, Owen's powers = rights conflation does render the Ninth and Tenth amendments equivalents. It is the Tenth Amendment which specifically limits the powers of the United States as those delegated, by the States' delegates, to the Federal government. Every power not listed, is not granted. The Ninth Amendment, if it means anything, must mean something different than the Tenth Amendment. But it does not mean everything Feddie says it means.

As Plainsman notes, essentially the text of the amendment says this:

Hey everybody! We just listed alot of rights and exclusions. But don't worry. If there is something you like to do and its not listed here, and it's not already illegal, then keep on truckin my friend, its still ok, for now.

Which doesn't really mean anything in practice. It does not say that that those rights cannot be taken away at a later time by the Federal government. It does not say the States can't take those rights away. It doesn't even really say what those rights are limited to if they are limited at all. Is it the right to grow tobacco? The right to smoke that tobacco in a public place? The right to walk around naked inside your house while smoking that tobacco? How about the right to surf the internet? Or blog? It really only says that the Bill of Rights cannot be used as a sword by the Government to disparage those rights not listed in the Bill of Rights. (hence the quasi-sword)

And Feddie's originalist limitation may not be a limitation at all. In the broadest sense, drawing from the Declaration of Independence, those rights could be just about anything. The promise of the Declaration was an oft stated goal of those who attended the Constitutional convention, and those natural rights mentioned in that founding document are generically categorized as "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Ahhh the darned pursuit of Happiness! With a poetic flourish and a desire not to plagiarize Locke, Jefferson may have rendered the Ninth Amendment meaningless. Had he only stuck with property, might we not know exactly what was meant by those unenumerated rights? After all people pursue happiness in all sorts of strange, perverted and wonderful ways. And it is this broadness that clouds the meaning of the Ninth Amendment.(hence the inkblot)

Essentially what this means is that if I were a judge, I would have an extremely hard time relying on the Ninth Amendment to strike down a statute that limits any activity, unless it was in the extremely rare case where the statute read, "Because the Constitution does not specifically protect the right to do XXXXXX, doing XXXXXX is now illegal."