Politics: March 2007 Archives

Kathy Sierra and Woman-Hate

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So everyone's been gabbing about the vile treatment given to Kathy Sierra.

There was also this response, in which the author pointed to an anti-woman (not anti-women) "hate site," this one against Xeni Jardin of boingboing.

The one thing I have in common with the all this is that I find both targets of hatred in these cases to be extremely annoying.

I cannot stand Xeni Jardin. I find her to be exceptionally lame and tiresome and uninteresting. She often acts as though she is some sort of expert when she's really just spouting either the same old boring nonsense, or complete B.S.

Even more greatly afflicted with this disease is Kathy Sierra, who I had never heard of before OSCON last year. Some highlights from the live IRC transcript among those of us in the room (not a consecutive log):

<089>    WITH PASSION!
*    t4g3r has changed the topic to: OSCON - Donkey Story
<089>    We're getting in the mood for some kind of passion or something.
<odwquhbw> What are you passionate about?
<f7wig> I'm passionate in my dislike of Paul Graham
<4t36rfd> I'm passionate about dongs.
<pudge_> i am passionate about hating this talk
<8rfh>    That is a great thing to say. People aren't passionate about what they suck at.
<089> "I can talk about passion and really get people involved because... I'm a woman!"
<casv> wow, 089 is on his period
*    t4g3r thinks that people who suck at stuff might still be passionate about their stuf
<089> I'm really having a hard time with all the loaded words in this talk.
<089> "better": the first highlighted word in the presentation that's not a
<4t36rfd> Seriously, everyone should read Kathy's blog regularly.
<4t36rfd> She and MJD's are the two most fascinating blogs I read
<f7wig> who's kathy?
<pudge_> what's a "blog"?
<pudge_> um, this is why i don't LIKE those games, i don't want just a bigger challenge, i want it to get easier as i get further into the game
<pudge_> also, what game do people play more than any other game?
<pudge_> a game with no levels, no increased challenge, no real goal
<pudge_> Solitaire.
<pudge_> i've never heard of "Emo" before last week
<4t36rfd> pudge: You're so out of it.

Anyway, my point is, some of the "hate" of these women is totally unacceptable. The guy going after Kathy on that web site should probably be in jail, or at least face a heavy fine. The guy going after Xeni is far more harmless and has committed no crimes that I saw, but he's crude and nasty and not someone I'd want to spend time with.

But on the other hand ... I think these women are really boring and what they have to say is insipid, and I can see why people don't like them totally apart from their gender, and a lot of insecure people who dislike someone then go on and find where they are vulnerable and attack that, even if it doesn't actually reflect their own views.

So this guy with the death threats might not hate women at all; he could be merely antisocial, and figured that playing the role of the misogynist would be a "successful" way to express his hate toward this particular object of his hate; that is, it would have the most dramatic effect on the object of his hate. And if so, well, he sure was right about that.

Not that it matters so much in this particular case, but I see so many people talking about rampant woman-hate online, and I think it tends to be far more simply insecure people who are exploiting a vulnerability to make themselves feel more powerful, and that it is less about women than it is about that need for a sense of power and security.

Does anyone really think the GNAA is anti-Jew? Maybe some of them are, but most of them are just trolls who know that being anti-Jew is one of the biggest taboos in our society, so that's what they exploit, in order to have the most dramatic effect.

I don't think hating women is such a huge problem online; I think antisocial behavior is the problem. And there may be no cure for it, so you better buck up now and get used to it (not the death threats part ... that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law). I am not saying it's easy. It's damned hard. It goes against our every instinct to just ignore these apparently hate-filled trolls. But it is not going away, and just like terrorists, if you react by recoiling and changing your behavior, then that is precisley what they want, and they've won, and they will be empowered and they will keep doing it. slashdot.org
Nancy Pelosi idiotically said in response to the President's veto threat the other day, "Calm down with the threats. There's a new Congress in town. We respect your constitutional role. We want you to respect ours."

Wha -- ? It is the President's constitutional role to veto bills. It's not disrespecting your constitutional role for him to threaten a veto for a provision he dislikes. That is, in fact, asserting his own constitutional role.

On the other hand, Pelosi is playing diplomat to Syria next week, against the wishes of the President. And that is, quite clearly and specifically, disrespecting the President's constitutional role as the nation's chief diplomat.

And no, it is not just a visit to say Yo to al-Assad. Her spokesman said:

As recommended by the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan delegation led by Speaker Pelosi intends to discuss a wide range of security issues affecting the United States and the Middle East with representatives of governments in the region, including Syria.

Maybe Pelosi has never actually read the Constitution.

It would explain a lot. slashdot.org
I saw PETA on the news tonight complaining about pet food killing animals, and I was going to look up the numbers on how many animals PETA kills (it's a lot more than have died via pet food), but I will instead just link to this story. slashdot.org

I Would So Fire Gary Chittim

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Gary Chittim is the "environmental" reporter for KING-5, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He often uncritically accepts the claims of environmentalists, such as in a recent story he did about flame retardant PBDE.

Chittim handwaved at the fact that there is no evidence that PBDE causes health problems, yet he cheerleaded for the people who were trying to get rid of it, and in an attempt to unreasonably scare the public showed how product after product had -- OMG! -- traces of PBDE.

If this had been a Penn & Teller sketch about dihydrogen monoxide, we would have laughed, but this was the real thing, and not significantly different: there is simply no evidence PBDE is a problem, after decades of use; but Chittim is right there pushing their claims along, falsely repeating the word "toxic" over and over as if it were true (in fact, PBDE can be toxic, but that does not mean it is toxic; again, the same goes with water, which can also be toxic).

Last night he was doing a story about a local military base supposedly dumping chemicals, as claimed by employees. He said, as a matter of fact, that "[t]hese workers have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by coming forward." What kind of moronic reporter thinks there is no possibility that people in their position might have ulterior motives?

I'll tell you what kind: a reporter that is subjectively biased in favor of environmentalist claims, whether they are true or not. slashdot.org
Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself! slashdot.org

Kyle Sampson is Wrong Too

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jamie informs that Kyle Sampson claimed Gonzales' statement about being "not involved in any discussions of U.S. attorney removals" was inaccurate.

Sampson, like most of the Congress and the press, is also wrong. The evidence he gives is that Gonzales was involved in a Nov. 27 meeting about the firings. Except, that's the same meeting we already knew about it.

Let's recap. Gonzales said "my chief of staff [Sampson] was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers ... But that is, in essence, what I knew about the process. I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on."

This Nov. 27 meeting happened after that process he referred to had completed. He was not involved in any discussions about what was going on in that process, he was involved in discussions about what had gone on in that now-completed process.

The whole point of the discussion this statement is drawn from is whether Gonzales was involved in picking who would be fired, and he said no, he was not involved in that. And no evidence, and no statement by Sampson so far, shows otherwise. slashdot.org

New Amendments

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The push to have the Equal Rights Amendment is revived. It states, simply, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

I propose another new amendment: "The right to say anything you want shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State."

In case you don't get my point: the 14th Amendment already includes the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA is totally unnecessary. slashdot.org
OK, yes, this is not an actual school. And it is not public, but my aversion to school is not limited to public schools.

Check out these crackmonkeys, teaching their children that private property is evil, by using Legos.

Into their coffee shops and houses, the children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys -- assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive. As we watched the children build, we became increasingly concerned.

These teachers vote to take away my property rights. This is the definition of injustice and oppression. And they are creating conformists to follow their illegitimate lead:

We ... discussed our beliefs about our role as teachers in raising political issues with young children. We recognized that children are political beings, actively shaping their social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity -- whether we interceded or not. We agreed that we want to take part in shaping the children's understandings from a perspective of social justice.

Bottom line: people who think that taking away basic human rights is "justice" have no business teaching children, or anyone else. They are thoroughly incapable. slashdot.org

Fred Thompson

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OK, just so you know, Fred Dalton Thompson was a Senate campaign manager, lawyer (co-counsel to the Watergate committee), and lobbyist for a long time before he was a professional actor. He started acting when he played himself, as a lobbyist, in a movie about the S&L stuff in the mid-80s.

He had more experience in DC politics than most of the Republicans running for President, even apart from his eight years as a Senator (he was elected to finish Al Gore's term when Gore became Vice President).

To attack Thompson for being an actor makes even less sense than when people made the same attack of Ronald Reagan when he ran for President. slashdot.org
The looniness of today is regarding a speech by James Madison to Congress in 1789, in which Madison said:

Perhaps the great danger, as has been observed, of abuse in the executive power, lies in the improper continuance of bad men in office. But the power we contend for will not enable him to do this; for if an unworthy man be continued in office by an unworthy president, the house of representatives can at any time impeach him, and the senate can remove him, whether the president chuses or not. The danger then consists merely in this: the president can displace from office a man whose merits require that he should be continued in it. What will be the motives which the president can feel for such abuse of his power, and the restraints that operate to prevent it? In the first place, he will be im-peachable by this house, before the senate, for such an act of mal-administration; for I contend that the wanton removal of meritorious officers would subject him to impeachment and removal from his own high trust. But what can be his motives for displacing a worthy man? It must be that he may fill the place with an unworthy creature of his own.

This, it is implied, tells us that Bush should be impeached, because of the U.S. Attorneys who were fired. The insipid discussion dwells on whether Bush "wanted" it; but Madison's point is not that this particular "crime" merits impeachment, but that simply being a bad executive merits impeachment. Hyperfocusing on the Gonzales flap is nonsensical when you consider that this incident is but one incredibly minor part to what many people consider to be the mismanagement of the government.

According to Madison, it doesn't even matter if you can prove Bush had anything to do with the U.S. Attorney firings. You think he is a terrible manager, you impeach him and remove him. That's it.

Madison is exactly right, too, when it comes to legality. The Constitution allows impeachment for any reason. And the Court won't stop it, and in my mind, should not.

But, this is not a legal question. This is a purely political question. You really think many Senators will impeach the President for firing someone they think was meritorious, when those same Senators may wish to exercise that exact same power someday?

We saw this just a decade after Madison's speech, when President John Adams, with a Federalist Congress, fired a popular Federalist from his cabinet, Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. Pickering was a close friend of Alexander Hamilton, the most powerful man in the Federalist party (despite Adams also being a Federalist).

However, the Congress did not even seriously consider impeaching Adams for firing a meritorious officer. Why? Well, as a famous radio voice says, now here's the rest of the story:

Can he accomplish this end (of firing a worthy man to replace him with an unworthy one)? No; he can place no man in the vacancy whom the senate shall not approve; and if he could fill the vacancy with the man he might chuse, I am sure he would have little inducement to make an improper removal. Let us consider the consequences. The injured man will be supported by the popular opinion; the community will take side with him against the president; it will facilitate those combinations, and give success to those exertions which will be pursued to prevent his re-election. To displace a man of high merit, and who from his station may be supposed a man of extensive influence, are considerations which will excite serious reflections beforehand in the mind of any man who may fill the presidential chair; the friends of those individuals, and the public sympathy will be against him. If this should not produce his impeachment before the senate, it will amount to an impeachment before the community, who will have the power of punishment by refusing to re-elect him.

That is: the President would have a tough time of getting much harm past the Congress, and even then, would still be accountable to the people.

Impeachment is a huge step to take, and you surely make enemies if you try it, and set a precedent -- a bad one if undertaken frivolously -- for yourself or members of your party. And if the offense is truly serious, "impeachment before the community" will usually be sufficient.

That's not to say impeachment should never happen, but the consequences and risks are so high that it is rarely a wise move. Madison did not have much to say on that subject, in part due to his desire to gain acceptance for the Constitution (even after ratification, there was still a huge risk of disunion that he and Hamilton fought to avoid), and in part perhaps due to his naivite. But impeachment should be a last resort.

I am sure many Democrats think that we are long past that point with Bush. But they should consider that it is unlikely most of the country agrees with them, and that if they do attempt impeachment, this will be a precedent set for the next Democratic President, too. And this is why, even though impeachment can happen for any reason, it has been reserved in recent years for actual verifiable wrongdoing (such as lying under oath, and even that was, in retrospect, a big political mistake). slashdot.org
AP: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in an hourlong meeting last fall, according to documents released Friday that indicate he was more involved in the dismissals than he has claimed. Last week, Gonzales said he 'was not involved in any discussions about what was going on' in the firings of eight prosecutors that has since led to a political firestorm and calls for his ouster."

Me: "Gonzales never stated or implied he was not involved in the actual firing of the attorneys, which is what this meeting was about. He only stated he was not involved in the process of determining which people would be on the list of people to be fired."

Gonzales: "When I said on March 13th that I wasn't involved, what I meant was that I had not been involved, was not involved in the deliberations over whether or not United States attorneys should resign. ... Now, of course, ultimately at the end of the process or near the end of the process, the recommendations were presented to me. ... And so there was obviously a discussion with respect to that recommendation. ... I was not involved in the deliberations during the process as to who should or should not be asked to resign." slashdot.org

No One Is Right But Me!

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I watched the Sunday shows today and none of them -- Fox News Sunday, Meet the Press, This Week -- could get the story right about Alberto Gonzales and Friday's memo. Everyone I saw -- including conservatives like George Will -- got it wrong. They all said that Gonzales appeared to have conflicting stories, which is simply false if you read the transcript.

Jamie posted the transcript, highlighting the areas in question. Oddly, I think he believes the transcript proves me wrong, when nothing could be further from the truth. Jamie's highlighted areas show that he was claiming, quite specifically, to be uninvolved in "the process of determining who were the weak performers." And this memo does not, in any way, contradict that claim, as the meeting it refers to happened after that process took place.

Gonzales never stated or implied he was not involved in the actual firing of the attorneys, which is what this meeting was about. He only stated he was not involved in the process of determining which people would be on the list of people to be fired.

I don't know why no one but me -- and Gonzales' JD spokesman quoted in the original story -- seems capable of understanding this simple and clear fact. slashdot.org

Spot the Lie

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Spot the lie in this news story.

If you miss it, then read the sentence beginning "The attorney general has made clear ... ." The dude the reporter interviewed told the reporter exactly what the transcript shows, which is that Gonzales did not claim what the reporter said Gonzales claimed. Yet the reporter still claimed it in the lead of the story.

If you still don't get it, I'll spell it out. The reporter claims Gonzales said he "'was not involved in any discussions about what was going on' in the firings of eight prosecutors." But he never did claim that. He claimed he was not involved in any discussions in the process to determine which U.S. attorneys would be on the list to fire; he did not claim he was not in any meetings about firing the U.S. attorneys.

And the JD spokesman told the reporter, straight out, and correctly, what Gonzales actually said. And they still got it totally wrong. slashdot.org

Rove Subpoena

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President Bush thinks -- correctly, in my view -- that it is his job as President to defend the office of the President from any encroachments by the Legislature. The President does not have to honor a subpoena for Rove, so he will not do so. Rove will only testify if it is Bush's choice that Rove testify, so any demand by Congress will be rejected.

That is, Congress has to ask nicely and say please, and there have to be negotiations, and the President has to at the very least get the appearance that he is the one making the choice for Rove to testify (and perhaps get something else in return, too).

This is not exceptional, and everyone on the Hill who has been around knows what's going on.

What does make this somewhat exceptional is that there seems to be less of a way out than usual. When Bush resisted having Rice testify in public, under oath, before the 9/11 Commission, in the end Bush allowed it, because he had nothing really to lose, and everything to gain. He had to make a good show to defend Executive authority. But here, Bush has little if anything to gain by having Rove testify as Congress wants, and (if there was wrongdoing, or if Congress can twist what did happen to create the appearance of such) perhaps a lot to lose.

Congress is on a fishing expedition (literally: they have no actual evidence of any wrongdoing), and they similarly would take a huge risk by hauling Rove in there and not getting it on the record, not getting it under oath, and so on, because if anything is said, they won't be able to really use it, so why bother wasting all that political capital?

So while this story is the same as one we've seen many times over the years, it's still tough to see a way out. But I expect that we will see Bush soften some of his terms (maybe allow a transcript?) and Congress will accept it, because Congress really has no leverage other than trying to use the media to beat up Bush, and they will take what they can get in the end. slashdot.org

I Don't Get It

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If the left thinks Carbon is so bad, then why do they think "organic" food is so good?

Now Playing: Sarah Masen - Mary

Voter Fraud

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It is not a well-kept secret that there's quite a bit of voter fraud going on in WA, in large part because no proof of citizenship is required to vote. You can just walk in, get a driver's license, and register to vote. They ask you if you are a citizen, but you can lie and say yes, and there's no verification. There's other problems too, and this is where it gets good.

A group called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which claims to represent poor people, including the homeless) has been uncovered by King County to have been fraudulently submitting voter registrations, by signing the registration cards themselves, instead of having the voter do it. ACORN staff has recently been indicted in Ohio for similar "irregularities," as well as being implicated in several other states.

Back in 2004, WA passed a law requiring election officials to match new voter registrations against a driver's license/state ID or social security file, to verify identity. There were exceptions: if you had no DL#/state ID or SSN you could attest that you have no such ID, and the election officials would determine whether you'd supplied sufficient information to determin eligibility, and if the officials find against the applicant, they must attempt to contact the applicant to give them further opportunity to respond.

ACORN sued, and we know why: they have been attempting to, in the thousands, register people who cannot or will not verify their identity and eligibility (if the people in question exist at all), and this new law would have made that illegal. That they were busy driving a freight train through the hole in the law, and suing to prevent the law from closing, didn't stop them from forging signatures and doing other things which already were illegal.

So now there's been a settlement. The state has to accept the registrations, but the voters have to provide ID at some later point in order to vote. This will create more work for the state, but ideally will still provide sufficient security. In practice, however, I'd be willing to bet (if I bet) that either ACORN is hoping that the ID will not be checked, or is planning on suing later if votes are rejected due to lack of ID.

Read more about it from the EFF (not that EFF: this one is the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, an excellent thinktank/watchdog group here in WA).


Caucus Time

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I chaired today's Republican caucus for County Council District 1. Sixteen people showed up, for the purpose of electing delegates to the County Convention in April, and for getting together to talk about a few other things.

Our County Councilman was unable to attend, but his deputy showed up and told us what was going on, and fielded questions. He is not up for election, though; the only partisan race this year for our district is the County Executive, and our current sheriff is running for that office as a Republican. I love his domain name electrickbart.com (as in, Electrick Bart).

We held a straw poll for President in 2008. Out of the sixteen in attendance, 8 voted for Fred Thompson. That's excellent, considering he just announced he was thinking of running a week or so ago, and has only recently gotten significant press attention regarding his potential candidacy; he fills the conservative void that McCain, Giuliani, and Romney -- the only other three candidates widely seen as having a good chance to win the nomination -- have been unable to fill. Gingrich and McCain tied for second with three votes each, and Hunter and Giuliani each got a vote. I'll be interested to see what the countywide poll results are.

There's also talk about Washington moving its primary to February, as California did. My guess is that almost all states will move to February, if not this year, than the following election. Our future in this country is probably going to have Iowa, New Hampshire, and a few others in January, and everyone else on the same date in February. I like having all the primaries on the same date, but I wish it were later in the year, like May or June. This will make it very difficult for lesser-known candidates to establish any sort of momentum. slashdot.org

Sharpton on Obama

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Sharpton also questioned why Obama supports "tort reform, which hurts police brutality victims."

Maybe because people like Sharpton keep making stuff up -- or at least, support people who do -- in such cases?

Just a thought.

Anyway, this is pretty tansparent. Sharpton wants to remain relevant, so he attacks Obama on a few things. He is only doing it to get a seat at the table.


News Spam

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I am now getting my news via spam. It's been happening for weeks, but today for the first time I actually read some news in my spam folder before I heard about it elsewhere, when some spam subject line informed me that comedian Richard Jeni had shot himself. slashdot.org

U.S. Attorneys

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I cannot bring myself to get worked up about this. At worst, the President directly authorized the firings of people he has the legitimate right and reason to fire. Out of all the lame "scandals" the Democrats have dredged up over the past few years, this has to be the lamest.

And the funniest part, of course, is that Clinton fired every U.S. Attorney when he took office, and for purely partisan political reasons. Bush kept them on, firing them only when he had actual cause. So the lesson here is clear: don't wait until you have a reason to fire people for political reasons, just do it right away when you take office, because for some reason that is more acceptable. slashdot.org

Guns Guns and Mo' Guns

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So I grabbed the opinion of the recent DC gun case (opinion), and I came across this portion, opening the dissent:

As has been noted by Fifth Circuit Judge Robert M. Parker in United States v. Emerson, exhaustive opinions on the origin, purpose and scope of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution have proven to be irresistible to the federal judiciary. The result has often been page after page of "dueling dicta"--each side of the debate offering law review articles and obscure historical texts to support an outcome it deems proper. Today the majority adds another fifty-plus pages to the pile. Its superfluity is even more pronounced, however, because the meaning of the Second Amendment in the District of Columbia (District) is purely academic. Why? As Judge Walton declared "the District of Columbia is not a state within the meaning of the Second Amendment and therefore the Second Amendment's reach does not extend to it."

Translation: "whether the Second Amendment represents a collective right or individual right is irrelevant, because it represents a collective right."

Or for you sports fans, "whether or not Brady fumbled is irrelevant, because he fumbled."

You may recall the Second Amendment reads:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The only way to bring in the notion that the scope of the Second Amendment is limited to states is to read it as a collective right, which is precisely what the majority decision rejected. This is perhaps the worst logic I've ever witnessed in a court decision this high up in our federal judicial system.

To be clear, I am not saying the idea that the Second Amendment only applies to states is terrible logic (though I think it is certainly mistaken, and Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson's appeal to stare decisis from a decision nearly 80 years ago is entirely unconvincing to me, as that principle is a guideline, not a required rule). I am saying her argument -- that whether the Second Amendment only applies to states is irrelevant because the Second Amendment only applies to states -- is totally bay.*

I could write a lot about whether the Second Amendment is an individual or collective right, but that is broader than the scope of this journal entry.

* This is a new word a friend of mine coined: "bay" as in "gay" as in "retarded." Named after Michael Bay. It is less offensive to pretty much everyone, except for, I assume, Michael Bay.

Now Playing: musicNerve.com - I Am A Circus

The Departed

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I finally saw The Departed tonight. It was very good, but it had some flaws in it that bothered me.

So the guy gives Bill the wrong address. So what? The right address would have been on the same block and side of the street as the wrong one, and they first see Bill leaning over a dead body in the middle of the street. So Bill showed up at the wrong place, sees the body, and comes over to the right place. Big deal.

Why didn't Bill let his friend from the academy take Sullivan? For that matter, why didn't he blow the whistle while he was still inside the department, instead of running?

The conversation on the CD was recorded in an adult theater, and the voices are crystal clear. so, where's the background sex noises from the film playing at the time? slashdot.org

Ben & Jerry Deception

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Ben & Jerry were on Colbert touting their TrueMajority web site. They said, go to the web site and get a free frisbee. So I went to the web site and signed up for a free frisbee.

I was then notified by e-mail that I had signed up to be a member of their organization. I did not. I find their principles to be silly, naive, and in some cases flatly unconstitutional.

They did not say on the web site I would be joining their group, they only said "sign up and get a free frisbee." I thought I was signing up for the frisbee, not to be a member of their organization, and nothing on the page or in the form implied otherwise. Their founder, Ben, said on Colbert only that "anyone who visits the TrueMajority.org web site -- any one of your fans -- gets a free one of these [frisbees]." He said nothing about joining the organization. (Also, many people were turned away from getting a frisbee, as they didn't have enough to meet demand, so he was misleading about that too.)

They say they have over 500,000 members, but that number cannot be trusted, because there's no telling how many of those "members" were, like me, signed up deceptively. slashdot.org

Hooray P-I, Boo Times

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John Popper of Blues Traveler was arrested for pot possession. But almost every article out there makes it sound like he was arrested for gun possession, or that the gun possession was somehow legally significant.

Kudos to the Seattle P-I for not putting the guns in the lead or headline, and for clearly stating the charges are only for the drugs and driving.

The Seattle Times chose to overemphasize the guns by putting them in the headline, and by putting a lot of details about the guns in the story as though they are relevant.

In fact, it was perfectly legal for him to have all those guns hidden in his car. Nothing wrong with it at all. Why even mention that he had "hidden compartments"? How does that matter to anything? Why not also mention that he had $500 in cash in his wallet? Or that he had antihistamines in the glove compartment?

Several people have said this, in reference to Scooter Libby.

The problem is there was no crime. There was only -- supposedly -- a "coverup."

If you think there was a crime, you are wrong. Stop being wrong. There was no crime. There is no evidence of a crime. Fitzgerald declined to prosecute anyone for anything related to the leak because he had no evidence of any crime.

You can say you think there was a crime, but that's no more interesting than saying you think the moon landing was faked. It's possible, sure; just provide some evidence of it, and we can discuss it. slashdot.org

Stupid Juries

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Via michellemalkin.com:

Denis Collins, one of the jurors, addresses the press. He identifies himself as a former reporter. "The primary thing that convinced us on most of the accounts was the alleged conversation with Russert...It was either false (didn't happen) or did happen...Mr. Libby was either told by or told to about Mrs. Wilson at least nine times...we believed he had a bad memory...but contradicted by testimony that he had an incredible grasp of details...even if he forgot who told him, it seemed very unlikely that he would have not remembered about Mrs. Wilson...tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury...jury asked "Where's Rove? Where's the other guys?" It seemed like he was the fall guy.

Two things.

First, the question "Where's Rove?" shows the jury had little clue what this case was about, because nothing whatsoever in this case had anything to do with any crime that Rove is alleged by anyone to have done. There is not any evidence whatsoever that Rove or anyone else, besides Libby in his perjury, committed any crime relating to this incident.

It clearly shows that the jurors were out to get someone, rather than to be impartial and fair. Who was it that filed charges, and who said that these were the only charges to be filed? It wasn't Rove. It was Fitzgerald. What really happened is that he spent years building a case and at the end found no crime had been committed that he could bring a case about. The only sense in which Libby might be considered a "fall guy" is that Fitzgerald had to make someone pay for his total failure to come up with an indictment in the original incident.

Second, the statement "we believed he had a bad memory" with "even if he forgot who told him, it seemed very unlikely that he would have not remembered about Mrs. Wilson" shows the jury either did not understand, or did not care about, the evidentiary threshold of criminal trials, which is "beyond reasonable doubt." His words there pretty clearly show that he is not sure whether Libby remembered it, but he found it "very unlikely" that he did not. That is sufficient for a civil trial, but not a criminal trial.

So much for justice.

Not that I am going to shed tears here. Chances are, Libby probably did lie. But justice demands that the charge is proven beyond reasonable doubt, and this one was not. There's plenty of reasonable doubt here. He says he simply forgot, and there's no evidence to show he didn't. If that's not reasonable doubt, then the phrase has lost all meaning.

So now people wonder whether Libby will be pardoned. Maybe, because an obvious miscarriage of justice was done here, and pardons are appropriate for that sort of thing. But most interesting in that question is that Libby was Marc Rich's lawyer, and played a role in Rich's pardon, which was the most infamous of Clinton's presidency. If Libby is pardoned by Bush, it won't be nearly as egregious as Clinton's pardoning of Rich, but it will be painted as such nontheless. slashdot.org

Religion and Politics

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This chick, Mara Vanderslice, was on Colbert last night saying that religious people should love Democrats, because the Bible says we should care about poor people, and Democrats care about poor people.

Religious people in America care about poor people, she said, and they "care that this administration has made a decision to condone the use of torture."

Hm. Doesn't the Bible also say something about lying? In fact, the Bush administration made a decision to not allow the use of torture. When the famed "torture memo" came out, Bush immediately said "we will not torture," and he has stayed by that policy.

She had other lies, like saying that tax cuts only for the top one percent has been at the top of the Republican agenda. In fact, the GOP tax cut agenda has been for tax cuts for all income tax payers, and in fact, it's been implemented that way.

And doesn't the Bible also say something about following the law? It's abundantly clear that many of the federal social programs she's trumpeting as following the Biblical mandate to help the poor, in fact, are unconstitutional. And besides, nothing in my Bible says a thing about helping the poor through the government, and in fact, the emphasis in the Bible is on individuals helping the poor, not governments.

But in her view, "it's about building a society where we care for our neighbor." Apparently you can't do that without government control. Orwell, anyone? And "politics is about championing the common good." Actually, in fact, the Declaration of Independence makes clear that the purpose of government is primarily to secure individual liberty.

Oh well. Separation of fact and state. slashdot.org
I don't read much Schlesinger. Perhaps someday I will, such as when I get up to the mid-1900s in my many-years-long romp through American history.

So I decided to read some of his online works upon news of his death. I looked at his last post on Huffington Post, from November 2005.

In it, he notes that President Bush had said that partisan criticism was hurting the war effort. Then he notes that Teddy Roosevelt and Robert Taft said criticism was essential. Aha, Goctha, Mr. President!

Except, well, as usual for the Huffington Post: no. Where did Bush ever say there should be no criticism? He didn't. Where did he ever say criticism cannot have positive influence? He didn't. He only said what was true (and what Schlesinger quoted Taft as implicitly agreeing to!), that criticism can give comfort to the enemy. This is not to say there shall be no criticism; it is a reminder to temper your criticism with wisdom.

Bush was not telling people what to do. He was reminding them that their words have consequences, and that some of those consequences might be negative ones, and they should weigh that in what they say. And how can anyone disagree with that?

Anyway, Rest in Peace, Mr. Schlesinger. You deserve it. 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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