April 2007 Archives

This guy who interviewed George Tenet for 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley, said a lot of really really dumb things in the interview.

He accused George Tenet, to his face, of "making up" the intelligence about Iraq's WMD. Since they didn't know it for sure and it was only an educated guess based on intelligence, they "made it up!"

He told a baldfaced lie, that the CIA had shot down the claim behind the "16 words" about uranium, and that Joe Wilson "debunked" that claim (as anyone following this stuff knows, the 16 words claim was, according to all evidence, based on separate evidence from the evidence that the CIA and Wilson knew about).

Then they talked about the "slam dunk" comment, and I don't get what the fuss is. Tenet says that his point was that the public case for war would be a "slam dunk," that it was (or would be, by the time Powell gave his presentation to the UN) very strong. Tenet fully admits that he believed the public case for WMD was strong; that he believed Iraq had WMD; that he stood behind the intelligence; that the intelligence was wrong.

And yet ... Tenet complains that his comment is used to make him look like he ... thought the case for Iraq having WMD was strong.

Which is true, and which he admits is true.

The reporter says, "Who was out to get you, George?" And I am left wondering how this makes it look like anyone is out to get him. All Tenet's quote does is show us what he freely tells us anyway: that he was wrong about WMD.

Maybe Tenet thinks he is being made a scapegoat, but I don't see that at all. I see the CIA being (rightfully, as Tenet himself admits) blamed for most of the intelligence failures. Every time I see Tenet and his "slam dunk" comment being brought up, it's only in the context of saying "we thought the case for WMD was strong; even the Director of the CIA thought it was strong," which, again, Tenet admits is true.

I agreed with most of what Tenet said, I just didn't understand his anger toward people he thought betrayed him, because I don't see the evidence of betrayal.

But back to Pelley. He said a great many nonsensical things. I was reminded of why I hate CBS News and 60 Minutes. I only watched to hear Tenet. I won't be setting a Season Pass any time soon ... slashdot.org

The title above is not mine, it was written exactly that way on CNN's homepage. slashdot.org
Leaders of the state Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly Saturday to support Lt. Ehren Watada, the Fort Lewis officer who refused orders to serve in Iraq.

Can you just imagine if the GOP voted to do something almost as nuts, like voting to support Rep. Foley after his sexual relationships (virtual or real) with pages came out?

But the Democrats are doing worse: supporting someone not only who has committed a very serious felony (abandoing his obligation to his unit at a time of war), but who in doing so is explicitly attempting to undermine republican democracy.


The Podsafe Comedy Countdown plays "I Did It Again" by Pudge (and opens with Pudge's voicemail as "Les Moonves").

Podsafe Comedy Countdown #40 - All Request Anniversary Special

Casino Sign Shooting

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There's a casino around my parts that's back in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It makes no sense that it exists there. It's another of many gross offenses pushed on the citizenry because of this nonsensical "sovereignty" nonsense that the federal government keeps pushing for Indian tribes.

They placed a huge lit-up sign next to the freeway a couple of months ago, pointing people in the direction of the casino. Last week it was lit up for the first time. Many of us think the sign is illegal because it is in direct violation of state codes, but they get away with it, just like they got away with the casino in the first place. And a lot of people are mad about it.

I was driving home on Wednesday, and I saw the sign, and the lighting in it looked a little dim to me. I thought to myself, "I wonder if someone shot it up," and for 0.68 seconds I entertained the notion of doing it myself. I wouldn't, because two wrongs don't make a right, but even us androids can be tempted.

I found out this morning that in fact, someone did shoot it up, sometime between Monday and Friday. I am not sure if they shot it up before I saw it on Wednesday, but I suppose it's possible, as the look of it prompted me to think what I did. (And no, it wasn't me!)

And unfortunately, I cannot report what I know to the authorities, because the tribe's own police force is handling the incident themselves, and I do not recognize them as a valid law enforcement authority. (Side note: if the shots were fired from non-tribal land, I'm pretty sure that even if the culprit is a tribe member, it would still fall under county sheriff jurisdiction, since the firing of the weapon was on county land. But I am not sure.) slashdot.org
The question tonight was asked, "How many of you, in your adult lifetime, have had a gun in the house?"

Edwards did not raise his hand.

But we know that Edwards has Secret Service agents at his home, and presumably at some point, one of them has been inside his house. And even if not this time around (yet), surely they were when he was the Vice Presidential nominee.

OK, I am obviously kidding about him lying. I just think it's funny.

I thought about trying to make the inverse point, that Edwards admitted that he refused to let the Secret Service enter his house while armed. I can just see him saying, "you're gonna have to leave that outside" to one of the agents. slashdot.org
In the debate tonight, former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) said the Congress should make it a felony to have soldiers in Iraq.

Almost everyone thinks such a law would be unconstitutional.

He then hearkened back to Admiral Stockdale's quip in the Vice Presidential debatem saying "My God, how did I ever get here?" I don't think the reference to Stockdale was intentional.

I am also not sure if it was intentional to reference Ronald Reagan when he said, "I won't hold their youth and inexperience against them."

But the scariest part about what he said was this:

And I got to tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me -- they frighten me. When you have mainline candidates that turn around and say that there's nothing off the table with respect to Iran, that's code for using nukes, nuclear devices.

I got to tell you, I'm president of the United States, there will be no preemptive wars with nuclear devices. To my mind, it's immoral, and it's been immoral for the last 50 years as part of American foreign policy.

Well, no, it's not code for using nukes. It's code for potentially using nukes if necessary.

"If necessary" is the key phrase. The only question is whether it is necessary. If it is not necessary, you don't do it. If it is, you do.

I could not possibly vote for someone who would take a potentially necessary option off the table for "morality," which is code for "I won't kill lots of them in order to save lots of us."

And frankly, I think anyone who would take nukes off the table is unqualified to be President. slashdot.org

MODERATOR: Senator Clinton, a question for you: Did the government -- did any role that federal government plays fail those students at Virginia Tech?


You know, I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine after that massacre and met with the family members of those who had been killed and talked with the students, and feeling that we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and of the mentally unstable.

And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal -- not to, in any way, violate people's Second Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns.

Unfortunately, we saw the tragedy unfold at Virginia Tech. We now know that the background check system didn't work, because certainly this shooter, as he's called, had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself and others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.

So the federal government failed those students at Virginia Tech by Virginia's failure to follow federal law that prohibited Cho from purchasing a gun.

Ooooooooo K. slashdot.org

Free Speech Wins in WA

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The Washiington State Supreme Court ruled that radio talk show speech does not count as an in-kind political donation that requires reporting under public disclosure laws. Yay, they got something right. Unanimously, too.

I wish the ruling had been broader -- they only said the public disclosure was not required because there was a specific exemption for this type of speech in the statute* -- but it's something.

*It really makes you wonder how the heck the state could possibly have thought this was legal. The statue specifically exempts a "news item, feature, commentary, or editorial in a regularly scheduled news medium that is of primary interest to the general public, that is in a news medium controlled by a person whose business is that news medium, and that is not controlled by a candidate or a political committee." Maybe they thought it wasn't news? Maybe they were biased against it because it was right-wing talk radio? I don't know. I won't read through it enough to figure it out, I've got other things to do ... slashdot.org
Many people still do not get that Roe v. Wade -- and every precedent to follow it -- asserted that the government has a right to abolish abortion, as long as the life and health of the mother is protected.

For example, Roe says:

For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

In English, that means, the government is allowed to abolish all abortions of viable fetuses, as long as the life and health of the mother are protected. Again, this is from Roe v. Wade itself, and every court precedent on the subject since has reaffirmed this.

Enter today's Seattle Times editorial.

This is my favorite sentence in it:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking for the court, had some chilling things to say, particularly that the court "may use its voice and its regulatory authority" to dissuade women from ending pregnancies.

Which is, of course, precisely what Roe said. Except for the "court" part. But Kennedy didn't say "court", he said "government."

So according to the Times, Roe is "chilling." Gotcha.

My next favorite setence is this:

If this court can go along with this, it can glide rather effortlessly into abolishing second-trimester abortion and requiring parental notifications, two areas where polling shows more public ambivalence.

Where the Times means the Court can uphold those laws (and not make those laws itself), and where those second-trimester abortions are postviability, yes. Roe and Casey and all the rest say explicitly that the government can abolish postviability abortions. This decision does not open the door for that, because that door has always been open, and no Court decision has ever closed it, and Roe and Casey and all the rest explicitly reaffirm that the government has this authority.

As to parental notification, similarly, there is no indication in any Supreme Court decision that would imply children have the right to abortion without parental notification.

What is being made clear by these recent abortion decisions is that many people think Roe did not go nearly far enough. That is why NOW and other pro-choice groups are working on the Freedom of Choice Act which would go much farther.

Oh, and the funny part about this Freedom of Choice Act is that it may, in fact, render it much easier to pass bans of things like partial-birth abortion. The only actual argument against the procedure was that the health of the mother was not sufficiently protected, but this law would still allow prohibitions that protect the life and health of the mother, and the mere passage of such a Ban pursuant to passage of the Freedom of Choice Act would be a tacit admission by Congress that the Congress found the Ban does protect the health of the mother. slashdot.org

Pudge on Dobson: Trust Me

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My latest Politics with Pudge is up on Ryan Dobson's KOR Kast.

Like the others, this is also available via the PudgeFeed (to which I have also added my YouTube and Flickr feeds).

This episode of Politics with Pudge is about trust. slashdot.org
I put up the video of Lawrence O'Donnell being a gun moron.

Now Playing: X-Pat Radio - Episode 107

Ryan Dobson KOR Kast: Show #43

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Politics with Pudge: Trust Me

Ryan Dobson KOR Kast: Show #43

From The McLaughlin Group, 4/20/2007.




Everyone from Hugh Hewitt to Sarah Brady have said that the news should not have published the pictures and audio and video from Cho, the VT shooter, because it might encourage "copycats."

I think this principle should be generalized. All news about crazy people harming others should be suppressed, that others do not follow in their footsteps.

Hence, from this day forth, I propose that the news media do not report on anything government is doing.


Loose Change Viewer Guide

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Oh my, this is a serious smackdown.

Loose Change is a conspiracy movie about how nothing that happened on 9/11 was done by Bin Laden or terrorists, but by our own U.S. government. It's comically bad, but some people may have questions, and this guide will likely answer them. slashdot.org


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I saw the recent Jonestown documentary on Sunday.

I knew Jim Jones was screwed up, but I had no idea how much. He made boyloving Catholic priests look almost normal. He said he was the only heterosexual on the planet, and offered sex to the men in his group, you know, if they wanted it, no big deal. He would at one time preach from the Bible and then say the Bible is useless nonsense.

And I had no idea that Jones' followers murdered Congressman Leo Ryan (along with some of his entourage) in Jonestown, shortly before the mass murder/suicide with the spiked punch, and that this is essentially what precipitated the over-900 deaths: Jones knew they would not get away with killing Ryan, so he had everyone die.

Of course, I knew about the murder of the Jonestown residents, including injecting poison into children, as they were held down. But in the documentary they played the actual audio of Jones during this massacre, telling people to stop crying, to be strong as they killed their own children.

Some of the few survivors were interviewed, including one man who saw his wife and son murdered that day. He held them as they foamed at the mouth and died.

I am going to stop writing about this now before I say something profane. I just wanted to post this because I had no idea just how screwed up Jim Jones and Jonestown was. slashdot.org

Abortion Decision

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I've seen many people on both sides of the abortion debate say the recent decision is one step toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

They are all wrong. :-)

Remember what Roe actually said, which Casey affirmed, which now Carhart has affirmed (explicitly, in all cases): the "confirmation of the State's power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman's life or health."

What part of "confirmation of the State's power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman's life or health" do you not get?

What Carhart did do is strike down some of the mythology of Roe and Casey, the utterly false belief that either case established a right to abortion after viability.

I know there's more to it than this, but this is the essential point: Congress could pass a law saying that no abortion is permitted after viability, unless the life or health of the mother is in jeopardy, and this law would be entirely Constitutional under both Roe and Casey. slashdot.org

More On Ohio

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Quoth the nutters:

Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election?

The answer appears to be yes.

Actually, no.

There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website -- which gave the world the presidential election results -- was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Fine. Let's say that these "Republican" web servers manipulated the results.

The web site is not the canonical report. Each county keeps its own election reports on their own internal machines, and they report to the state on its own internal systems, and those results are merely reported on the web site. If there is any discrepancy, not only is it easy to uncover, but it is impossible to hide without a statewide government conspiracy, because you're not just fixing the totals on the web server, but the totals on the internal systems of every county involved.

There were some abnormalities, but as I have mentioned before, a prominent DNC statistician told me directly that they were insufficient to affect the outcome. And nothing has changed since he told me that last September.

The funny thing to me, of course, is that the evidence of "theft" is far weaker in 2004 Ohio than it is in 2004 Washington (the gubernatorial race). And not only is the evidence more significant, but the race was far closer, too. And I don't think the election was stolen here, either. slashdot.org

Cram Redgeh plays Pudge's "George Bush is Hitler" while complaining about Pizza Hut service and driving 100 miles on the wrong day.

Living life as a gay DJ in the UK - Episode 8

There are gun nuts, and there are gun morons.

Lawrence O'Donnell is a political analyst and writer/producer for TV shows, including "The West Wing" when it sucked, toward the end.

And he knows absolutely nothing about guns.

On McLaughlin Group yesterday he spouted the below nonsense:

It was a high tech exercise. ... The President found a way of making this historic. The way he chose to make this historic was to say this was the largest killing that occured in this history of this country on a college campus. John McLaughlin got it right in the introduction. He said it was the largest case of gun murder in the history of this country.

It was a high tech killing because the magazines that he was using in his automatic weapon were illegal during the Clinton administration ... he would not have been able to buy them if George Bush and the Republican Congress did not allow them to become sold to mentally ill people like this.

There were kids on that campus who were brave enough and big enough to stop one person with a gun unless it was an automatic weapon that could spray the bullets. Just spray them, Pat. That's why they couldn't stop him!

If he had to fire, if he had to squeeze one bullet at a time ... you hold that trigger and you spray it.

As many of you know:

  1. I think the Lakota Indians would claim the Wounded Knee Massacre was a much larger case of gun murder

  2. The number of rounds per magazine is largely irrelevant, since he already reloaded at least 17 times, and so obviously reloading didn't slow him down significantly

  3. High tech? This same technology was available a hundred years ago. Ever hear of "1911" pistols? They were semiautomatic pistols that held interchangable magazines of bullets. Cho's Glock 19 and Walther P22 worked the same way. You know why they call it a 1911? That's the year the U.S. military put it into service.


Ahem. slashdot.org

Victims? Huh?

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From NewsHour:

TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent: This morning, after NBC News released chilling video messages from the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, students on the campus of Virginia Tech grappled with their emotions.

SHONTE SOWARDS, Virginia Tech Student: We're angered by it. I mean, it's obvious that he was disturbed, and I don't think it's something that we need to hear over and over and over again. Yes, the video made it more real; yes, it made it easier for us to understand what kind of person we were dealing with. But he's not what's important about what happened. He's not even close to what's important about what happened.

GINNY KOONTZ, Virginia Tech Student: Yes, it has been mostly about the shooter up to now, but, you know, I think as soon as stories start to come out about the victims, it will overshadow the shooter.

I know, they lost their friends. I am not judging them.

But I am disagreeing with them.

Cho is what is important here. Not himself, but his story. If we understand that story better, we can perhaps prevent other atrocities in the future. We should have access to everything he sent to NBC, so we can understand that story better, and there is nothing to be angry at NBC about.

Of course, you do not have to care about Cho's story. No one is forcing you. But I really, really, couldn't care less to see stories about what great people the victims were. There are lots of great people in this world who die every day. I take it for granted that many, if not all, of the victims were wonderful people who did not deserve to die and who would have done great things if they had lived. I don't need to see a story on the news to tell me that.

And there is no conceivable way that stories about the victims will ever possibly overshadow the stories about the shooter. That's just delusional. slashdot.org
It is difficult to know who might be a mass shooter. Lots of people are troubled, but few will act out in response.

The simple fact is it takes more than being troubled, having access to a gun, having no friends, no positive outlet for anger, and so on.

There is one trait that all mass shooters have in common. And it is easily identifiable. If we locked up everyone with this trait, we would almost surely have no more mass shootings.

That trait is, of course, the penis.

Removal of that trait, or the people who have it, is imperative. slashdot.org


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A friend of mine was in a discussion about gun rights, and someone asserted to him that there is no Constitutional right to bear arms in the States, because the Second Amendment had never been "incorporated" through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause:

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

This is formally true, but not very interesting, for reasons I will get into in a moment. This doctrine of "selective incorporation" means that in fact, you do not get a Constitutional Right in the States unless the Supreme Court says so (yes, they really did decide that is how it would work).

So many of the Rights in the Bill of Rights have been "incorporated" and many have not. The Second Amendment has not been. However, since "selective incorporation" began, its applicability to the States never been challenged in the Supreme Court, either.

The real point here, though, is that the Supreme Court has been full of crap on this issue for about 150 years, because the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly guaranteed complete incorporation of the Bill of Rights. While Justice Frankfurter was a proponent of selective incorporation, he also wrote, "The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what [the Supreme Court has] said about it." So let's look at the Constitution itself.

The line that comes directly before due process in the 14th Amendment says: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

So, if it is your right as a U.S. citizen to have a firearm, then the state cannot take that right away. The 14th Amendment itself, clearly and unequivocally, already incorporated the Second Amendment, when it was first passed. As Justice Black wrote:

... I can say only that the words "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" seem to me an eminently reasonable way of expressing the idea that, henceforth, the Bill of Rights shall apply to the States. What more precious "privilege" of American citizenship could there be than that privilege to claim the protections of our great Bill of Rights? I suggest that any reading of "privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" which excludes the Bill of Rights' safeguards renders the words of this section of the Fourteenth Amendment meaningless. Senator Howard, who introduced the Fourteenth Amendment for passage in the Senate, certainly read the words this way. ... if anything, it is "exceedingly peculiar" to read the Fourteenth Amendment differently from the way I do.

So what did Senator Howard actually say?

To these privileges and immunities, whatever they may be -- for they are not and cannot be fully defined in their entire extent and precise nature to these should be added the personal rights guarantied and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution; such as the freedom of speech and of the press; the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, a right appertaining to each and all the people; *the right to keep and to bear arms*; the right to be exempted from the quartering of soldiers in a house without the consent of the owner; the right to be exempt from unreasonable searches and seizures, and from any search or seizure except by virtue of a warrant issued upon a formal oath or affidavit; the right of an accused person to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him, and his right to be tried by an impartial jury of the vicinage, and also the right to be secure against excessive bail and against cruel and unusual punishments.

... It is a fact well worthy of attention that the course of decision of our courts and the present settled doctrine is, that all these immunities, privileges, rights, thus guarantied by the Constitution or recognized by it, are secured to the citizens solely as a citizen of the United States and as a party in their courts. They do not operate in the slightest degree as a restraint or prohibition upon State legislation. ...

... The great object of the first section of this amendment is, therefore, to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees.

It could not be more clear. The purpose of this clause of the 14th Amendment is to force the States to respect our rights as U.S. citizens, specifically including the right to keep and bear arms.

So I think any talk about "incorporation" that does not assume the entire bill of Rights has already been "incorporated" by virtue of the 14th Amendment's ratification is utterly foolish, as the sponsors of the 14th Amendment thought, and as Justices Black and Douglas thought.

To be brief, and blunt: any and every court decision since the ratification of the 14th Amendment which has held that a State can abridge the rights of a citizen of the United States is clearly and unequivocally wrong.

The good news is that the original interpretation of the "privileges and immunities" clause is coming back into favor, and that our current Supreme Court is (properly) primarily of an originalist bent, so if this ever did reach the current Supreme Court, there is no doubt how it would end up.

And this, friends, is why liberal justices are simply bad. Breyer and Ginsburg have no place on the Supreme Court, and not because they disagree with me, but because they simply ignore the Constitution (or invent new concepts in it) when it suits their purposes. Justice Breyer wrote a whole book literally explaining why he ignores the Constitution's text and the intent of its authors. Justices like these, who think it is their job to decide what is best for us -- rather than what is legally proper -- are the reason why we lose rights in this country, both in fact (e.g., gun rights) and in the effects of judicial uncertainty.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this? slashdot.org

Disciple: 12 Unconditional Love

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Song is a cover of The Altar Boys cover of Donna Summer.

We blew the circuits in this song. Twice. And you can still hear Pudge singing without amplification, through the drums and guitars.

Disciple: 07 Runnin'

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple: 06 Images

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple: 04 Goin' Home

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple: 03 Light of My Life

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple: 02 Look

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Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Disciple, Pleasanton, 1991.

Best Opinion Evar

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This is the entire concurring opinion, apart from some citations removed for readability.

Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Scalia joins, concurring.

I join the Court's opinion because it accurately applies current jurisprudence, including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey. I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court's abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, has no basis in the Constitution. I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it.

OK, maybe not the best, but it's short, to the point, and I agree with it.

And I'd just like to point out that Ginsburg's note that "liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt" rings a bit hollow when she is defending the arbitrary killing of what nearly everyone agrees is a human being (that is, a ninth-month-old "fetus"). Liberty, my ass. slashdot.org

Idiots and a DC Vote

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Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) is trying to pass a bill that would give a vote in Congress to the Representative from Washington, DC.

This could not be more clearly unconstitutional. Article I specifically denotes that Representatives are elected by the people of the different States. There is no question whatsoever about this.*

But for some reason, the Constitution is not a good enough to vote against the bill according to Davis, who said on NewsHour this week:

You have a lot of members who are opposing this saying it's unconstitutional, we need a constitutional amendment. So when you go up and say, well, will you join me then in supporting a constitutional amendment to give the city a right to vote? They say "Oh, no. I won't do that." So it's kind of an excuse as you go.

Um. Whatever the motives of people are for using the argument, the argument is completely sound. You are sponsoring an illegal law.

I wouldn't actually mind an exception carved out in the Constitution, in the form of an amendment, for the District. The District was not envisioned as a population center, so fine, let's fix the problem: but only by amending the Constitution. The District has been Constitutionally special since the beginning.

I don't know what form that exception should take, exactly. I don't like trying to "balance" it by giving an extra representative to Utah: each state should have its proper representation. I figure the most logical thing to do -- that would have a chance of passing, and would follow existing precedent -- would be to determine its representation in Congress the same way their electoral college representation is determined as per the 23rd Amendment, so they would get one.

*Sure, some lawyers disagree, and every one of them should be disbarred for being idiots, including Ken Starr. Starr had the gall to claim that the same people who wrote and passed the Constitution, and who established the District, somehow actually intended for the District to have voting representation ... but just never got around to it. And certainly the people of the U.S. don't think the Constitution should be interpreted that way, because at the time of the 23rd Amendment's passing in 1960, they could have rectified this situation by simply adding it to the proposed amendment. slashdot.org

PudgeTunes Ratings

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I just add ratings to PudgeTunes. You can rate the songs from 1-5 based on how much you hate them. Er, like them. I think I will later use the ratings to decide what to put on an album.

[ Your rating is stored in your cookie for your benefit when you come back to the site, but also stored on the server based on IP. Which means you need multiple IPs to spam, and multiple people in your house probably can't vote. C'est la vie. ] slashdot.org


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What happened today was a terrible tragedy.

That goes without saying, of course, but if I don't say that, someone might accuse me of being callous or something. I suppose they will anyway.

What I want to say is that I don't really feel much about what happened. It sucks. It's terrible. But ... I dunno, it doesn't affect me much. Lots of terrible things happen in this world, and lots of people die every day. I can't afford to care significantly about all of the terrible things that happen; none of us can, and none of us do.

So I just don't see why this should get any special attention. You could say that it's important politically, and I'd agree, but that's kinda question-begging: why SHOULD it be important politically? This isn't a political issue.

I'll skip the ObGunRightsStatement and just say that the guy reloaded many times, and there's no reason to think that "low capacity" magazines would have impeded his progress significantly, so the "Assault Weapons Ban" is irrelevant to this discussion. So again, that means this isn't a political issue, because no one is talking seriously about banning regular handguns.

I suppose you could talk about how he got the gun. Maybe he got it at a gun show! Maybe he exploited "the loophole!" Or maybe there was no waiting period! He could've gotten a gun if he wanted it. People who get mad and shoot someone could benefit from a might possibly be deterred from shooting someone if they cannot get quick access to a gun. They might benefit from a "cooling off" period. But people who go on mass rampages usually bide their time.

So, I just don't have a big reason to care about this, is all. I cared a lot more about last year's rampage at the Seattle Jewish Federation (even though "only" one person was killed), simply because it was a lot closer to home (the killer used to live in Everett, just down the road a bit), and because it was less random (it was Muslim-on-Jewish violence, even though like most shootings, it was more about rage and mental problems than anything else), it was more meaningful.

One more thing.

Why is it that shootings used to always be white guys, but increasingly they are nonwhite guys? The Jewish federation guy, Naveed Haq, was Pakistani; there was Indian Biswanath Halder who killed a student in Ohio in 2003; Robert Flores who fatally shot his professor at Arizona in 2002; Peter Odighizuwa killed some people at Virginia's Appalachian School of Law. Most of the mass and school shootings I can recall since 9/11/2001 were by nonwhites, and most prior to it were by whites.

I don't know that this means anything at all. It's just kinda weird. I remember comedians years ago joking about how mass shooters were always white guys, and that's just not the case anymore.

OK, one more one more thing.

Alberto Gonzales' testimony for tomorrow was postponed because of the shooting. That makes me think Karl Rove had something to do with it. DYKR!!!! slashdot.org
Alben Barkley was elected Vice President in 1948, on Harry Truman's ticket. He is the most recent executive I had never heard of.

He served in Congress from 1913-1927, and the Senate from 1927-1949 (as Democratic leader for the last 12 of those), and was Vice President from 1949-1953. Forty consecutive years. Then he served in the Senate again from 1955 until his death by heart attack in April 1956.

He was 71 years old when he was elected Vice President. He got married that same age, to a woman half his age, and he ran for President himself when he was 75. His final words were, "I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty," which translated might mean, "I would rather die while serving in the Senate, than in the White House." slashdot.org

The Scope plays Pudge's "New Year" to commemorate the beginning of its second year.

The Scope Episode 27: The First Episode of The Second Year of The Scope

I've heard a lot of people compare George Bush to Hitler and Big Brother and say that the U.S. is one of the least free countries in the world. If that were true, you'd think people would be afraid to, you know, say so. Or that if they did say so, something bad would happen to them. George Bush is Hitler is a gentle reminder that people who talk about Bushitler are totally bay.

I wrote and recorded this song within just a couple of hours last night, after watching Marilyn Manson tell Henry Rollins that we are getting ever-closer to 1984.

George Bush is Hitler
George Bush is Hitler
He killed six million Jews
George Bush is Hitler
He wants to kill me and you
George Bush is Hitler
Hey gypsies, you are next
Everybody knows
George Bush is Hitler

Bush is Big Brother
He watches you all day
Bush is Big Brother
He hears everything you say
Bush is Big Brother
He changed the words to this song
Everybody knows
Bush is Big Brother

Bush stole our freedom
We can't protest his ways
Bush stole our freedom
Armed guards make us obey
Bush stole our freedom
I live in an internment camp
And everybody knows
Bush stole our freedom

Listen to more PudgeTunes!

(Oh, and Mr. Colbert, I still don't accept your apology. This song proves that Hungarians can play guitar, and you have offended me and should be fired. I was working on another song to dedicate to you, but now ... I just don't know.) slashdot.org

I Love Don Imus

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I've always like Imus. I have not listened to him in a long time, but whenever he comes back -- wherever that is -- I'll be sure to support him.

What he said was stupid and wrong. No one reading these words of mine can claim they've never said things just as stupid or wrong. No one who knows Imus, who has listened to him for years, can possibly think he is a racist.

I don't care how many examples you bring up of him saying something you think is racist. Imus says things he thinks are funny, without regard to whether they sound racist. He is so non-racist that he does not even hear racism in the things he says, because the thoughts are so completely off his radar. There's a list of Imus quotes about women and minorities on Wikipedia, but you can find even more quotes by him that are offensive to Jews, Christians, Southerners, Northerners, Europeans, Asians, Americans ... he does not discriminate. That's the whole point. He rips on old white southwesterns too, and he is one.

You can think he is wrong to do all that. But you cannot reasonably think he is a racist, if you listen to him very often.

Our culture has a long history of racism. But by treating everyone the same, no matter who you are, Imus has done more than most people to diminish racism in this country. And no matter how you look at it, what he said was not nearly as offensive as what Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson and Al "Interlopers" Sharpton have said, especially since Imus was only joking.

That's not to say Imus wasn't wrong -- and I feel terrible, and angry, for those young women whose lives have been upset by his stupid words, and the ensuing spectacle -- but let's get some perspective here. Imus has been a positive force against all sorts of discrimination for decades, and Sharpton and Jackson have been leading forces for isolation, segregation, and discrimination.

Essentially, Imus was made a scapegoat for societal unease over racism. It doesn't matter that he is not a racist, it doesn't matter that he was only joking, it only matters that we hate racism and want to take our anger out on someone. Even though that someone is one of the last people who deserves it. slashdot.org

Idiots and Government E-mail

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So the White House had been using external e-mail servers and accounts for nongovernmental business.

The story there claims that they were used for official business, but no quote is provided from anyone actually claiming that, so I do not believe it.

The story also gets one major fact majorly wrong, by saying something that is a literal impossibility:

Under President Clinton, White House aides used separate equipment for political spadework but did not have separate accounts.

They could have been using some separate equipment, but it still had to go through the same server hardware if it is the same accounts, and those accounts would have been government servers, which would violate the law when those "same accounts" are used for nongovernment business. So the Bush administration set up separate accounts to comply with the law.

This is normal. I communicate regularly with my Republican state and county officials and their aides on two separate accounts, their official government accounts for government business, and their personal accounts for political or personal business. Just this week I sent out a request for legislation to my state officials' government accounts, and a Precinct Committee Officer appointment form to a government aide on his personal account.

However, it appears if some official government business was conducted on these "personal" accounts, it was illegal. The question was whether this happened, and whether this business qualifies under the relevant law. And I've seen no evidence of this, except the summary of a reporter who obviously doesn't quite understand what she is talking about. (I am open to actual evidence being provided.)

And then there is the issue of losing the email. I lose email all the time. Yes, it is possible for me to find it somewhere if absolutely necessary, by looking at my own backups, my server backups, router logs, etc. But it is still not wrong to say they are lost, as I often do. But that doesn't stop some wild-eyed crazyass Bush-hater from claiming that because nothing is every truly lost on teh internets, the White House is therefore lying. Yes, we are not stupid, we know that it is theoretically possible to find things that have been deleted, and the story even said that they are trying to recover the lost mail. But if you don't have it in hand, and you are not sure where to find it, it's lost. This is called English, people. slashdot.org

Electoral College

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Maryland became the first state to say that if enough other states do it too, they will give their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

There are lots of ways to talk about this.

As many Democrats do, you could bring up Bush losing the "popular vote" in 2000, and one could counter by bringing up that a potential Kerry electoral college victory still would have handed the presidency to Bush under this new system.

And then you could talk about how all the numbers we look at to see who would have won in a given year are inherently flawed because we have never actually had a popular vote, where every voter bases his vote on a national outcome instead of a statewide outcome.

You could bring up how this would change the landscape, make it more or less fair for some voters. Or candidates.

You could talk about that is we as a country really want to choose the President by a national vote, shouldn't we modify the Constitution to say so instead of enforcing the view of a minority of states on everyone else?

And then there's the logistical nightmare of having national standards for voting machines and processes, resulting in potentially endless legal challenges.

But there's really only one reasonable way to talk about this, as far as I am concerned: should our President be chosen by the people of the nation, or by the states?

Federalist 68 lays out the case for an electoral college pretty well, and some of it is silly, some of it is elitist, and some of it is deprecated.

Much of 68 is devoted to saying why we need a special body to choose the President, rather than using the legislature; and why that body should be based essentially upon the will of the people. No one thinks Congress should choose the President (except for maybe the current Democrats in power ;-), and no one thinks the people should not be involved, so I won't address that further.

We also don't need to worry significantly about foreign influence, as we had to when the nation was new.

Then there's the idea of "tumult and disorder": that selection of a President should not uspet the nation (literally, rather than emotionally). The idea going that if you and I vote for some electors, that this will not be as tumultuous as if we were voting for a single President.

But since our elector system has become in practice just that -- voting for a single President -- the only way to use this defense of the Electoral College would be to favor morphing the existing system into something it currently is not, into a system where electors are chosen as individuals, not as faceless party representatives, and where we do not necessarily know to whom they are pledged. I could go for a system like that, perhaps, but it is not what we have now.

Anyway, we no longer believe, in this country, that there is such a thing as "men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station," and to do so reasonably and judiciously. As the Lost Dogs sang:

And when we took the torch into the night
We vowed to search the highways for an honest man
But when we looked into each other's eyes
We knew it would be best to make some other plan

We also no longer believe that the Electoral College provides a "moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications." Each of us can probably come up with people we believe became President without being so endowed. This certainty was based, however, on an 18th century media. Our mass media has shrunken the country, so that "talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice ... to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States."

However, all is not lost in the case for the Electoral College. First, a popular vote would not solve any of the unresolved problems listed above. Second, what Hamilton did not address directly but what was certainly implied by the context, is that the Chief Magistrate is not the President of the People of the United States, but the President of the United States. The current system still keeps the power to elect in the hands of the States themselves, as the States, not the people, are the entities that the President is bound to serve.

Many conservatives, including myself, think for similar reasons that popular election of Senators was a mistake. No longer are Senators trying to serve the best interests of the States, or the Union, but their individual constituents, the people on whom they dependent for continuance in office.

One may counter at this point that times have changed and we are more a nation now than we are individual states, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing, and it doesn't mean we should take this accelerative step in that (many believe) wrong direction.

And that is what this essentially boils down to: do you want States or a National government to determine the fate of the people? Would you prefer to call your state representatives when you have a problem, or your congressman in DC? Would you prefer to petition your governor, or your president?

A move to a popular vote will not change anything immediately. And certainly, it won't have this effect all by itself. But it is a piece to the puzzle, and a big piece. Personally, I prefer state governments to federal ones, and I have seen what effect direct voting for national officials has, and I am therefore necessarily opposed to a popular vote for the President. slashdot.org

Seen on http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/04/draft_bloggers_1.html:

Furthermore, people who are worried about misrepresentations (i.e LIES) in blogs don't realize that we each seek people we want to believe according to our own view of the world without regards for the naked truth. Nothing will ever change that. In fact, that's why I almost never read blogs (they are mostly excercises in narcissism) and only read news that comes from the opposite viewpoint of mine.

Wikipedia Age

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So a little more than an hour ago, Coco Crisp, centerfielder for the Red Sox, got a hit against the Mariners in the first inning of today's game, scoring two runs.

A few minutes later, someone through a computer at Clark U in Worcester, MA vandalized Coco's Wikipedia page.

Teh funny.


I am an organ donor. Can we have a law that allows me to choose for my organs to NOT go to a prison inmate? They are my organs, after all.

If I can't disallow my taxes going to pay for the $500,000-surgery (and who decided this was, in the words of the Dept. of Corrections, "basic medical care"?), perhaps at least I can disallow my organs from going to them.

Referring to this.


Seattle Is Stupid

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I don't really mean the title of this entry, but it makes me greatly annoyed that not every Mariners baseball game is televised. That sort of thing almost never happens in Boston, but it happens regularly here in Seattle, when the game is on during "work" hours. It's an 11 a.m. (Pacific time) start, so most people won't be home, so the game isn't on.

I don't think a single Red Sox, Bruins, or Celtics game goes untelevised in the Boston area.

Oh well, I can listen to the game on the radio. And Wednesday's game I'll see in HD on ESPN(2?). Thursday's game should be on the local TV. slashdot.org

I Am Spider-Man 2

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I have Spider-Man 2 for PS2. Pretty good game, except that I get stuck on a particuar level and can't continue. It is a GTA-like game -- non-linear, go wherever you want -- except that GTA is better (in this context) because it is rare that a single mission blocks you from continuing at all, and when that does happen, if you're really stuck, you can usually find a way to cheat (fine, cheating may suck, but it's better than not being able to play at all).

In between missions in the game, you generally help citizens in varying amounts of distress, such as catching kids' lost balloons. I felt like I was stuck in this game on Saturday.

I went to an Easter parade (walking in support of Tom Greene for County Sheriff), and we had a 1921 Dodge Brothers car to walk with. The parade started late, so the car overheated, so we had to push it to a start. We got it to the top of the hill, and it started, but then it overheated again.

The parade was mostly downhill, so I gave it small pushes throughout ... until we got to the bottom of the hill and the end of the parade, at which point I had to, almost by myself, push it UP a hill. I got it about halfway, pushing as hard as I could, and then I just had to give up, as my body gave out; by that time, others had come along and got it the rest of the way. (250 hero points!)

Exhausted (proving I am not Spider-Man), I sat down on a fire hydrant for a few minutes, then slowly trudged back toward my car, a dozen blocks away. I got a few blocks, and a 10-year-old kid came running up behind me. He had come with Tom, and Tom's wife had smartly told the kids there to look around at everyone with Tom's group, in case they got separated, so they could ask for help. Well, he did get separated, saw me, and asked for help finding Tom. I gladly accepted the task, and walked a few blocks with him to find Tom, who was back where I dropped off the now-despised car. (150 hero points!)

I returned toward my own car, and halfway there, a child dropped his balloon, which I retrieved. (100 hero points!)

And to top it all off, just like in the game, I took the wrong turn on my way back to the car and had to walk a few extra blocks to get back.

Merely coincidentally, I also got a Spider-Man Mr. Potato Head for Easter. slashdot.org
If you can, please try this script out, using the latest Mac::Carbon (0.77). Especially on Intel.

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
use Mac::Processes;
while ( ($psn, $psi) = each(%Process) ) {
    print $psi->processName, ' ' if $psi;
    print "$psn\n";

Let me know what platform you are using, and if the script terminates (as opposed to it just printing the same $psn forever (have your ctrl-C ready!)). use.perl.org
Don Imus said some things that some people reasonably found offensive. Al Sharpton wants Imus fired, saying:

"Somewhere we must draw the line in what is tolerable in mainstream media," Sharpton said Sunday. "We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we've got to stop this."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said his RainbowPUSH Coalition plans to protest Monday in Chicago outside the offices of NBC, which owns MSNBC, over the remark Imus made last Wednesday during his show.

I would rather we put a stop to the mainstream media censoring everyone that offends Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. If we censored everyone who offended another group of people, almost everyone interesting would be censored ... including, of course, Sharpton and Jackson.

Hm. Maybe Sharpton's on to something! slashdot.org


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So, I saw something I don't recall seeing before: the Mariners/Indians game was snowed out today. In Cleveland.

Here in the Seattle area (up north a bit), we had snow on Monday. In the morning, everything at my house was completely blanketed in snow. Big flakes, snowing hard. It was probably less than an inch of accumulation over an hour, then it melted entirely by afternoon.

Just a few days later, Friday, it was well over 80 degrees.

April was always weird in Massachusetts, too. slashdot.org
Regarding the latest IPCC report.

The stated probability that anthropogenic warming has had a discernible influence on many physical and biological planetary systems is "likely," which means between 67 and 90 percent. However, this does not mean what it actually says. It does not mean that they can scientifically verify that there is somewhere between 2/3 and 9/10 probability that man is causing global warming, it means that 89 percent of observational series from 75 studies support the hypothesis.

But that is not what "probability" means. That is, just because 89 percent of studies support the hypothesis, it does not follow that there is a probability of 89 percent that the hypothesis is correct.

In other words, it is unsupportable to say that there is an 89 percent chance that global warming is caused by man; what is supportable to say is that the scientists are 89 percent certain that global warming is caused by man.

There's a huge difference between those two statements. If a scientist does a study that says that 89 percent of people who fell out of airplanes without a parachute who landed a certain way were able to survive, and then jumped out of an airplane himself to test the hypothesis, you might properly say that he was 89 percent certain he would survive. But the actual probability of his survival is, I would guess, far less.

Unfortunately, that did stop the aforementioned Mr. Oppenheimer from falsely stating, "the last report concluded that there's a broad, manmade climate change afoot, and this report says that that manmade climate change is already having significant effects." In fact, of course, the reports say no such thing. He is misrepresenting what the reports actually claim, while the reports misrepresent what the scientists are capable of saying. So he's got two levels of misrepresentation there!

I do not know the truth on global warming. No one does. Don't be fooled by the lies of people like Mr. Oppenheimer that claim otherwise. And yes, I am saying he is lying, because I respect his intellect too much to think he doesn't know that the report does not conclude that man is causing global warming.

It's something we see a lot of: if someone cannot convince you of something with the truth, they lie to you. So an anti-gun zealot made up lies about the history of guns in the U.S. to convince them to favor laws against guns. So teachers unions lie about the links between money and actual learning to get you to increase their salaries and give them less work.

So scientists lie about a causal link between man's actions and global warming to get you to favor significant policy changes.

Unlike the anti-gun zealot and the teachers unions, the scientists may, in the end, be right. Man might be causing global warming. But it annoys me to no end that they lie about what the science actually says specifically because they know they can't prove it, and that we are less likely to be convinced if we know that they can't prove it. To them, that justifies the lie, because they are convinced that their view is the truth. But even if their view is the truth, the lie still isn't justified. slashdot.org
This is extremely scary if true. Thankfully, there's no way it possibly could be true, since they have no such legal authority. But they are apparently claiming the authority nontheless:

JOEL SMITH: Well, that remains to be seen, but a key part of this process is that -- it's a report of the governments. So they can't just simply say, "It is a report of the scientists," and walk away from it. They have bought into it.


And I should say, in terms of the process, in most cases, we do get to give our views about how far the interpretations of the science should be taken. And if things have been taken farther than we're comfortable, we get to let the governments know and then try to work things out.

MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: You know, I was going to say, in fact, we have a veto power, in some sense. If a government tries to introduce something which is clearly at odds with the science, we can stop it right there.

As anyone who has taken U.S. Civics 101 -- which apparently does not include Mr. Oppenheimer -- can tell you, they have no such veto power, in any sense. They cannot stop anything the U.S. government wants to do. They are nothing more than geeks in labcoats who wrote a paper. Maybe the U.S. signed off on it, but that doesn't make it binding U.S. law, and it doesn't give you any power of any kind whatsoever over the U.S. government.

Smith said it better: they can talk to the governments. Good. But they cannot stop or veto anything. That would be unconstitutional, unless this were a treaty ratified by the Senate that gave them such power. slashdot.org
IHT makes a common, and ill-considered, criticism of the Bush administration:

The tone of the complaints - particularly Vice President Dick Cheney's public characterization of her visit as "bad behavior" - contrasts sharply with the administration's silence about a similar trip to Damascus a week ago by three Republican lawmakers, Frank Wolf of Virginia, Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania and Robert Aderholt of Alabama.

The difference is that the three Republicans made it very clear in their trip that they supported Bush, though they did not represent him. Pelosi, on the other hand, is openly opposing Bush's policies and trying to work diplomacy in her own way, taking on the Constitutional role of the President for herself.

For example, Pelosi was supposedly delivering messages to Syria from Israel, but Israel immediately backed off from Pelosi's claims. A Congressman has no business, whatsoever, being in this position in the first place. That is the purview of the State Department and the President and anyone whom the President specifically appoints to be involved in such matters, not for any Congressman, even Madame Speaker.

The Constitution says that the President directs diplomatic policy. It's that simple. If you go abroad to one of our enemies -- for lack of a better term, that's what Syria essentially is at this time -- you must not go against the Chief Diplomat. If you do, you are crossing a line that should not be crossed, and that is what Pelosi is doing, and it is not what the three Republicans are doing.

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats claim she was not going against Bush policy, not budging "half an inch", but Pelosi's own words prove that's false: she said her goal was to attempt to push the Iraq Study Group recommendations, which are not Bush policy.

There is no sharp contrast, as IHT claims; the Republicans are not going against Bush policy, and Pelosi is. Of course, their very first paragraph of the story shows that they either don't understand what is going on, or are simply choosing Pelosi's side in the disagreement, as they place all the blame on Bush, when it's Pelosi who is acting outside of her Constitutional role. slashdot.org
Former New England Patriot receiver Darryl Stingley died this week, at 55 years old.

When he played ball for the Patriots, he was critically injured by Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum. The play was both dirty and illegal, although more generally accepted at the time (Dr. Z has a good summary of the issue). Stingley's neck was broken, and he was paralyzed for life, a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. Tatum never attempted to contact Stingley. Ever.

ESPN mentioned Stingley's passing on SportsCenter tonight, and showed his picture. They did not show the actual play that put him in a wheelchair for half his life and eventually resulted in his death, and the only reason I can think to not show the play -- this is SportsCenter after all, they always show the play -- is because they are afraid of bringing up the old debate about whether the play was dirty. Wankers. slashdot.org

Justice is Done

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A "vlogger" is released from prison after finally turning over evidence that was the object of a subpoena.

The justice done here is not that he was released, but this his jailing forced him to turn over the evidence.

From the article:

Wolf's lawyers had argued that the First Amendment gave him the right to refuse the subpoena to turn over the rest of his tape. ... "The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy," Wolf said in prepared statement he read Tuesday on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

Maybe he can't actually read, which is why is a "vlogger" and not a "blogger." The First Amendment says nothing about the right to refuse a subpoena, nor does it even imply it. None of the three branches of government have ever, in any way, recognized that right, in our nation's history. You are making things up that are not there. You have an obligation to provide evidence of a crime if ordered to do so, just like everyone else. The First Amendment does not make you special just because you call yourself "press."

You may think the press should have the right, even the Constitutional right, to not reveal sources or evidence. I would say you are entirely wrong, but that is a legitimate argument to make. But to say you do have that right, in our federal judicial system? Utter nonsense. slashdot.org


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OK, and I know there's a lot we don't know, and the media is right to be cautious with the Feinstein story.

But if she were a Republican in the majority, this would be the top story all across the nation, for the last week.

The double standard is stunning, and depressing.

(In case you hadn't heard -- which is not unlikely, given the news blackout on the story -- there is strong evidence that Senator Feinstein has been funnelling money to companies owned by her husband through the Senate's military appropriations subcommittee, which is at the least an obvious conflict of interest, if not a downright ethical violation.) slashdot.org
Recap to this point: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on March 13th that he was not involved in the process of determining which U.S. Attorneys would be fired. This has been twisted out of ignorance or malice by most observers, including politicians and the media, into Gonzales saying he was not involved in the firings at all, and when evidence crops out that shows he was involved, they accuse him of making an inaccurate claim (one that he never made).

So back when this all started up, Senator Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, wanted Gonzales to testify before his committee, and Gonzales said yes, and they haggled and set a date of April 13. Well now that there's these pervasive and false stories about what Gonzales said, Gonzales wants to push the date up, so he can fix the record.

Except now Leahy is saying No. His excuse? "We have already scheduled other things." Yeah, like that's ever stopped you before? This happens all the time. For important testimony, schedules are changed all the time. When he says his reason is that they already have scheduled other things, he is lying; his reason is that he wants to stick it to the Attorney General.

It's quite likely that Leahy knows full well that their story about Gonzales' "inaccurate statement" is B.S., but the longer the lie hangs out there, the more time the lie has to become the truth.

So, Dick "the Dick" Durbin (along with Schumer, one of the very few people in Washington D.C. that I truly despise; I normally don't resort to namecalling, but I really hate this guy) was on This Week with George Stephanpolous this weekend. Durbin starts off his appearance feigning ignorance:

We are absolutely confused by the White House position. For the longest time, Alberto Gonzales wasn't going to come, maybe much later, now the White House can't wait to bring him in. It's really tough to follow their logic here.

Two lies in that, and both are painfully obvious. The first is that Gonzales was ever NOT going to come before the committee. That is simply false. Like all cabinet officials, he is essentially required to come before the Senate if called. Second, that it is "tough to follow their logic here." How can Durbin possibly be that stupid? The logic is simple: before, it was not pressing for him to come, because he had no need to set the record straight; now, he has that need, so it is pressing. How is that tough to follow for anyone who can breathe?

Then Durbin launches into a defense of Chuck Schumer. This is so incredible ... it boggles the mind. Let's go back to a few years ago, before Justice Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court. Durbin, Reid, and Schumer led the Democrats in claiming that Bush should consult them -- not the Senate, but the Democrats -- before making a nomination. Misappropriating the Advice and Consent clause of the Constitution, they swapped "minority party" into the Constitution where "Senate" had been. They literally claimed that their party status had Constitutional significance in dealing with the President, which is simply not true. The Constitution says the President should get the Advice and Consent of the Senate, not of the minority party.

As Senator Leahy said in a floor speech in June 2005:

I hope that if a vacancy does arise the President will finally turn away from his past practices, consult with us [Democratic Senators] and work with us.  This is the way to unite instead of divide the Nation, and this is the way to honor the Constitution's "advise and consent" directive ... Despite his public commitment at a news conference three weeks ago specifically regarding the Supreme Court, the President has not even begun the process of consulting with Democratic Senators.

So when Senator Schumer is being accused of a conflict of interest because while he is investigating Gonzales, he is using that very investigation to raise money to get Democrats elected (as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), what does Durbin say?

Chuck Schumer has made a clear distinction between any wrongdoing by members of Congress, which is not being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- it's been referred to the Senate Ethics Committee -- and questions that we are all asking of the Executive Branch, of the Department of Justice. Schumer has really drawn a clear line here, and I think as long as that line is held, there's no reason to question why he shouldn't be an important part of this hearing.

You got that switcheroo? So when the Democrats are in a minority, their party status has Constitutional significance. They are not merely a part of the Senate, led by the leadership of the Senate, in dealing with the Executive Branch: they are a separate entity that can demand access to the President, outside of the Senate chain of command.

But now that they are the majority, well, the dealings they have with the Executive Branch are not as Democrats, but as the Senate. This has nothing to do with partisanship, it's just the Executive vs. Legislative. There's no conflict of interest here; what are you talking about? You just don't understand these things. Run along, little boy! My, you're cute; does your mother know where you are?

And so after Durbin sits there and lies, and twists the truth, and reverses course on fundamental interpretations of the Constitutional role of the Senate, he asks:

Isn't it a spectacle to witness when we have a high-level official in the Department of Justice taking the Fifth Amendemnt for fear of being incriminated by sworn testimony?

No. Not at all. As anyone on the Judiciary Committee should know, pleading the Fifth is not done because your testimony would incriminate you, but because you have a legitimate fear of incrimination, and that fear does not have to be related to the incidence of any actual wrongdoing. Durbin's behavior has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is perfectly willing to twist the truth into a lie, so why even bother giving him the truth?

While I am on the subject of lies about the U.S. Attorney "scandal," TPM Muckracker had its own whoppper yesterday:

Mark Pryor (D-AR) has publicly accused Gonzales of lying to him in a conversation late last year about the appointment of Tim Griffin to be the U.S. Attorney in Little Rock. Gonzales, Pryor says, promised him that the administration would submit Griffin for Senate confirmation ...

Not only is there no evidence Gonzales ever made such a promise, there is also no evidence Pryor ever said he did. What Pryor claimed is that Gonzales said they planned to bring Griffin to the Senate, not that he promised to. There's a difference. In the former, you could not bring him to the Senate, simply because you evaluated the options and decided it wasn't the best thing to do, and it would not be a lie or backtrack of any kind. In the latter, if you do not bring him before the Senate, you have absolutely gone back on your word.

Now, there is apparently some evidence that Gonzales may have been lying, that at the time Gonzales apparently said they planned to do it, they in fact were not planning to do it. But that doesn't make what TPM said any less of a lie. slashdot.org
Regarding today's court ruling:

In response, EPA, supported by 10 intervening States and six trade associations, correctly argued that we may not address those two questions unless at least one petitioner has standing to invoke our jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution. Notwithstanding the serious character of that jurisdictional argument and the absence of any conflicting decisions construing §202(a)(1), the unusual importance of the underlying issue persuaded us to grant the writ.

Translation: "yes, no one has Constitutional standing to bring this case before the Supreme Court; but because we think global warming is so important, we're going to ignore the Constitution."

As Justice Roberts notes:

It is not at all clear how the Court's "special solicitude" for Massachusetts plays out in the standing analysis, except as an implicit concession that petitioners cannot establish standing on traditional terms.

Translation: "they can't show a Constitutional way for the case to proceed, so they made something up."

OK, it's a little bit (but not much) more complicated than that, but (surprise!) I agree with the Chief Justice. And it's things like this that make me totally scoff at those who claim both the left and the right are "activist." slashdot.org


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I have a new RSS feed: the PudgeFeed. It's a meta-feed, combining my other feeds (journals, music, podcast) and content by/about me on other feeds (KOR Kast, Perlcast, etc.). slashdot.org
A new episode of the superpodcast Ask Pudge is now online for your listening pleasure. Feel free to Ask new questions of Pudge here, for future episodes.

  • scott hildreth via email: Are you aware of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) setting the new royalty rates for Internet radio, which could put a lot of stations out of business? What is your take on this?

  • jdavidb via email: Did we ever find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Some conservatives I know say yes, while most leftists I know say no. Each of them seems to think it is amazing the other side would deny their point. I seem to remember some news articles that seem to have proclaimed that we finally found "something," but somehow these never seemed to stick, and I don't understand why. Just what exactly is the story on this subject? It's strange to me how something that seems to be a matter of truth or falsehood is treated more like a matter of opinion.

  • brian d foy via email: Would you eat genetically modified foods?


Madisonian Compromise

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I'm still hearing people talk about how Madison said in 1789 that we should impeach a President who fired a "meritorious officer," used as a defense of impeaching Bush today.

Back in 1790, Madison and Hamilton met for a dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton agreed to place the nation's capital on the Potomac River, if Madison agreed to help pass assumption of the debt. (Madison could not vote for assumption, given his leading the opposition of it, but he basically dropped his opposition and helped get votes for it.)

So I propose another compromise, in that spirit. Let's go ahead and impeach the President, as Madison said. And let's do everything else Madison said in 1789, too. We will abolish all federal funding of and control over education and teachers and all federal welfare for the poor (including Social Security and Medicare). We will return as much power as possible to the states and absolutely forbid federal encroachments. No first responder funding, no enviromental controls, no building projects.

It's hilarious to me that the left is acting like Madison in 1789 was gospel, when if we actually followed all he said back then, it would totally destroy their social welfare state (which would be fine with me).

[ NB: I want to make clear that I agree entirely that the President can legally be impeached for any reason. I've never claimed otherwise. I've always believed, for decades, as long as I can remember, and long before Clinton's impeachment, that the Congress could, legally, impeach for any reason, without exception. When I've said Bush can't be impeached for something, I've spoken in the context of politics: that is, that the Congress would never impeach the President for exercising his legitimate authority, and so on. They legally could, but they wouldn't. ] slashdot.org

Gonzales Craziness

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Everyone is still getting this story wrong. Everyone. Even conservatives. Even the National Review.

Gonzales never claimed he was not involved in the firings. He never claimed he was not in any meetings about the firings. He never claimed he was not in any conversations about the firings.

It never happened. All of this is based on a quote from a transcript that is taken out of context, where he said he was not involved in the process to determine who should be fired, not that he was not involved in the firings at all.

At this point, it looks like the truth will never be accepted, because the lie has become the truth through repetition. slashdot.org

Jaycast plays "Just Getting Started."

Jaycast Show 58 (April Fools Day Edition)

Inconvenient Lies

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I am watching Al Gore's movie on Showtime HD.

It is incredibly dishonest.

He shows the 650K-year graph of CO2 and temperature, and says CO2 increases cause temperature increases, when in fact we don't know that, and in fact the temperature rises sometimes preceded the CO2 increases.

He said, "When I was in Antarctica I saw [ice core samples] ... and the guy looked at it. He said right here is where the US Congress passed the Clean Air Act. ... you can see the difference with the naked eye. Just a couple of years after that law was passed, it's very clearly distinguishable." There is no truth to that claim. He may have seen a discoloration of some kind, but there's no science to attribute that to changes in CO2 or pollutant levels in the atompshere, let alone to the Clean Air Act.

(I had not heard this claim of Gore's until tonight, and I literally laughed out loud when he said it. I Googled it, and thankfully, others had picked up on it long before I saw it.)

One of my favorites is when he said, "of course, when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms." He even blamed Katrina on global warming, because, you see, the storm picked up speed when it hit the warmer waters of the gulf, which would not have have been so warm without global warming! And look at all the devastation global warming caused! Except, of course, that the devastation was primarily the direct result of poor human engineering and planning, but more importantly, his science is incredibly misleading: it is the difference in temperature that fuels storm strength, and if both air and water temperature increase proportionately, then there's no reason to think that storm strength will increase as a result.

I am only a half hour into the movie and I am bored with its propaganda. The main theme, of course, is that Gore really does not have the science to back up his claims. That's why he does not superimpose the CO2 and temperature graphs, so you can't easily see temperature rises precede CO2 rises. But it doesn't stop him from flat-out claiming what science cannot claim: that CO2 increases are causing temperature increases.

Part of Gore's introduction in the movie is telling, I think:

I had a college professor named Roger Revelle who was the first person to have the idea to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere. He saw where the story was going. After the first few years of data, he intuited what is meant, for what is yet to come.

Yes, because good scientists "intuit." I don't mean to demean Mr. Revelle, who may be a fully competent scientist. But then as now, we do not have the actual science to make the claims that CO2 is causing global warming, or even that man is causing CO2 increases. We just don't have the science. But we can feel it!

And the real thing of it is that while not having proof is not necessarily a terrible problem for scientists, it is in this case, because there is conflicting evidence. If all the evidence pointed to anthropogenic global warming, maybe it would not matter that science cannot prove it. But there is conflicting evidence, and a lot of it (not to mention alternate theories that do not suffer the problem of conflicting evidence).

The current mainstream global warming theory is a good theory, but it is simply far from proven. We have a theory about causes and effects, and most of the data fits the theory, so we say, "it must be right." That's not proof. I think maybe we pick that theory because we want to feel like we can do something, and it's one of the only theories that gives the potential for that opportunity. But whatever the reasons, we just do not know.

So Gore has to display the graphs in a deceptive way and lie about what they say. He has to claim he can "see" the difference in the core samples with his "naked eye." Because despite what Gore says, the debate is not over. Among real scientists, among intelligent and open-minded people, the debate continues. slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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