Archive for December 12th, 2006

Bleeding-Heart Libertarians

All I can say is, “What took you so long? Where were you the last five years?” Better late than never, I guess…

Prominent conservative lawyers joined liberal colleagues Tuesday in opposing Bush administration anti-terror tactics, arguing that an immigrant held as an enemy combatant has a right to seek his freedom in court.

The legal brief, filed in the case of suspected al-Qaida sleeper agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, argues that a new military commissions law is unconstitutional.

The argument has been made in this and other detainee cases, but Tuesday’s brief is notable for the bedfellows created by the politics of anti-terrorism. Staunchly Democratic law school deans Harold Koh of Yale and Laurence Tribe of Harvard were joined by lawyers such as Steven Calabresi, who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations and helped found the conservative Federalist Society.

“It shows the phrases ‘conservative’ and ‘libertarian’ have less overlap than ever before,” said Richard A. Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor and Federalist Society member who signed the brief. “This administration has lost all libertarians on all counts.” [Yeah, right.]

In June, the Supreme Court said the Bush administration’s handling of detainees violated U.S. and international law. Bush then pressed for, and got, a new law that he said would help the government prosecute terrorists.

The Military Commissions Act allows the military to hold detainees indefinitely and strips them of the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts. The Justice Department did not immediately have a comment Tuesday night but has defended the law as a constitutional and necessary tool to combat terrorism.


“This involves the executive branch changing the rules to avoid challenges to its own authority,” Koh said Tuesday. “Serious legal scholars, regardless of political bent, find what the government did inconsistent with any reasonable visions of the rule of law.”

Epstein, who said he regards Koh as “mad on many issues,” said the al-Marri case is “beyond the pale.”

“They figured out every constitutional protection you’d want and they removed them,” Epstein said.

I’m glad to see that at least some of the libertarian/Federalist whackjobs are coming around to the idea that holding people indefinitely without trial on the Bush administration’s say-so might be just a weensy tad bit out of sync with the Constitution, really I am. But despite what Epstein says, I would be willing to bet that its apologists and enablers still far outnumber the light-seers in that particular demographic. They portray themselves as fierce, noble, and independent, but behind the pose they are craven, selfish, and intellectually dishonest.

I would be happy to offer them a deal, however: Stay away from government, and government will stay away from you. No vote, no political advocacy, no taxes, no recourse to government benefits or infrastructure of any kind. Go nuts with your bad selves. Just don’t kill or otherwise harass any of the sane people, okay?

I would be willing to soften this to, say, limited taxes and limited government benefits, maybe even some kind of “a la carte” system – just stay the hell away from the polls and the media.

Sadly, as with everything else, it’s not up to me.

21 comments December 12th, 2006 at 07:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Things I Try Not To Think About

My hair.

Taylor Hicks’ hair.

Please kill me.

Also: NO.

4 comments December 12th, 2006 at 06:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Wankers,Weirdness

It’s Turtles All The Way Down.

Today’s NYT Science Times section has a great article on turtles. It’s too long and too juicy to excerpt, so I will just summarize some highlights, in no particular order:

o Everyone loves turtles, because they’re clumsy and harmless and slow. I would also add non-allergenic and often rather cute.

o For all intents and purposes, turtles do not age. Their organs do not deteriorate at all as they get older. (On the other hand, it takes some sea turtles 40-50 years to finish puberty, which might explain why they abandon their eggs.)

o Turtles can stop their hearts at will.

o Turtles are incredibly strong, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to move at all, due to the awkward angle their shells force their legs into.

o Forest turtles can spot bodies of water from a mile away, and some turtles may communicate through ground-transmitted subsonics.

o The turtle shell is part of their skeleton, comprised mostly of modified ribs and vertebrae.

o There are turtles on every continent, and in most habitats, except Antarctica.

o There are turtles that eat jellyfish, ice cream, and human corpses (not the same turtle).

o Other than disease, Man is pretty much the only threat to an adult turtle, primarily through habitat destruction and running over with cars.

o The male Gibba turtle apparently has “the sex appeal of a floating toupee.”

Curiously, there is no mention of Senator John Cornyn anywhere in the story.

7 comments December 12th, 2006 at 12:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Science

Four Basic Food Groups Photoblogging




Bagels. Posted by Picasa

4 comments December 12th, 2006 at 07:47am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Donald Rumsfeld, Efficiency Expert

Can you prove it didn’t happen?

December 12th, 2006 at 12:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Politics,Wankers

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