Thursday, June 28, 2007

You'd Think We Would Learn

The CIA recently released some files referred to internally as "the family jewels" detailing a lot of the nasty and illegal stuff they'd done during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Of course, much of this we already knew, but it's nice to have official confirmation.

What surprises me though, is that there isn't more comparison to the present day. Let's see, using illegal wiretaps, assasination plots, and, oh, infiltrating and spying on peace groups. Nothing like the situation today, right?

What I liked best was the mention of a "no-holds barred" mentality when it came to dealing with the threat off Communism. 'Cause you know, we've been like, really chill about this whole terrorism thing, man.


Smart Bastards

Some clever blokes in America are offering their services to wait in line for the iPhone when it comes out on Friday, making $250 or more per day.

Wish I'd thought of that. . . If I was in America. . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Supreme Court Thoughts

So the Bong Hits 4 Jesus kid lost in court today. I'm always sad to see a free speech case lost, but to me one of the most important points was what the Chief Justice pointed out at the beginning - the kid was not suing to have his suspension reversed or to set a precedent, he was seeking financial renumeration.

Dahlia Lithwick has some interesting thoughts on the case in Slate. I myself can't see how Roberts thinks that speech "celebrating drug use" can't be political. Why not? It also seems like a remarkable leap for someone who's so big on only interpreting what's actually there to make conclusions about what the content of "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" actually means.

I've been thinking more about the constant 5-4 decisions from this court, and I've realized it may not actually be so odd. The supreme court doesn't hear a random sampling of cases. It hears only cases that have made their way up the judicial ladder and been accepted by SCOTUS because they're interesting and hard to decide. Viewed in that light, it's not hard to see why controversial cases result in close split decisions.

You'd Think This Would Be A Sign

If, after invading a country with thousands of troops from many countries, the opium crop is larger than it has ever been, that would be a sign that in the "war on drugs" throwing manpower and armaments at production areas does not actually result in a decrease in production.

But then again, we're dealing with the ONCDP. It's probably ACTUALLY a reason we have to stay there forever.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Our Fourth Branch of Government

Is apparently the Vice-President. Seriously, read this.

Is there any doubt these days that Cheney is crazy? How can you seriously think that the VICE-president is not somehow under the umbrella of the President?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This SHOULD Be Obvious

But apparently, it's not.

The Supreme Court decided today that not only drivers, but passengers as well, have the legal right to challenge the validity of a traffic stop. Not surprisingly, the vote was another squeaker, 5-4. I can understand the Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts have a more expansive view of government power, but can you really tell me that a passenger in a car is not being detained when that car is stopped by the police.

Tell you what: next time you're a passenger and the driver gets pulled over, you get out of the car and walk away. My guess is you get cuffed, stuffed, and probably tackled and hit for your trouble. And I doubt these guys would have much sympathy for you if you then tried to sue because you weren't being detained.

My advice to passengers - ask the cop if you're free to go, if he says no, then at least you have some reason to say you were also being detained. God only knows if it will work.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When Republicans Are Right. . .

They're partially right. The democrats are, I am sorry to say, actually cowards. But it's not about failing to stand up to terrorists and dictators. As I've said before, "standing up" to much weaker countries when you legislate for the most powerful country in the world that is currently filled with nationalistic sentiment, is actually an incredibly easy political choice.

What does make the Democrats quiver in their little pink boots, apparently, is the though of actually sticking by their principles and opposing the president even if he says mean things about them. Instead, they've caved to the president, in the face of overwhelming public support of their position, and taken the deadlines out of the Iraq bill. Money quote:
Democrats said they did not relish the prospect of leaving Washington for a Memorial Day break — the second recess since the financing fight began — and leaving themselves vulnerable to White House attacks that they were again on vacation while the troops were wanting. That criticism seemed more politically threatening to them than the anger Democrats knew they would draw from the left by bowing to Mr. Bush.
What??? They're afraid they might look bad over memorial day weekend? Could they do anything more to make confirm Republican suggestions that they are weak and indecisive? The public is on your side, morons, throw this "not supporting the troops" shit back in Bush's face!

"not supporting the troops" is such a vague, meaningless canard that it only has weight and meaning if you act like it does. Throw it up against Bush and he'll reject it out of hand, and for that very reason, it won't work. Why the Democrats don't see this is beyond me.

And Yglesias makes a great point. Who gives a flying fuck how the Democrats look over the weekend? It's how they look in November 2008 that matters, and they'll look a hell of a lot smarter if they were trying to bring this debacle to an end in May 2007.