Archive for July 9th, 2007

Wanker Of The Day

Shorter Byron York:

We conservatives are very disappointed that Bush was not principled enough to say that jury verdicts are irrelevant.

Paid for by the Tom DeLay and John Doolittle Defense Funds…

(Also, it amuses me that his e-mail address is “byork@nationalreview.com” – I wonder how he’d look dressed as a swan…)

2 comments July 9th, 2007 at 10:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Libby/Plame,Media,Republicans,Wankers

Dumbass Of The Day

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) explains that the Libby trial and conviction was a good thing because it sends the very important message that if you break the law, you go to jail.

Well, you get sentenced to jail, anyway…

July 9th, 2007 at 09:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Libby/Plame,Republicans

When The Math And The Policy Collide

Apparently, Karl Rove made the claim yesterday that the Iraqupation would not be an issue in 2008 because we will already be in the process of withdrawing.

Umm… Karl? Have you talked to your boss lately? He. Is. Not. Leaving. If we’re withdrawing troops in 2008, it’ll only be because Congressional Democrats grew spines and Congressional Republicans grew brains. Frankly, after six-and-a-half years of watching Congress cave in to Bush again and again, I can’t say I’m holding out a lot of hope.

But even if we are getting out of Iraq sometime next year, it’s still not all roses and daffodils for the Republicans. For one thing, the voters probably will not have forgotten just which party it was that clung to the war like it was their only baby. And for another, well, to be brutally blunt, what are the odds that the withdrawal itself won’t be a complete bloody disaster? From Siun:

I received a message from some friends who are in Iraq at the moment. (These friends have extensive military experience but not with US forces.) They ask a terrifying question: “How many tens of thousands are the US willing to see killed – tens of thousands of US troops that is?”

They are asking us to take this seriously – they believe that no matter what routes are picked, the US forces will have to fight their way out. They cannot believe that no one seems to understand how truly bad the situation is – and how many US soldiers are going to die as the whole situation implodes – and how completely untenable are any troops left in Iraq.

One contact wrote this weekend that the mood in Iraq is no longer just a desire to see the US leave – but to hurt the US troops as much as possible as they leave as payback for episodes such as the one I wrote about last night at Firedoglake.

They believe that what we have seen so far has been testing and preparation for greatly increased attacks on US troops esp as the surge tactics have spread them in vulnerable ways. To get a feel for the situation, one example: the US/MNF this weekend boasted about a successful shipment of water by air to one base. This means that the MNF is having trouble even moving an essential like water – see Main and Central’s analysis. At the same time, remember that tanks get only 1.8 MPG (and less in real world conditions) but there are reports that there’s even a gas shortage in the Green Zone itself. Add in the campaign to destroy all the bridges on major routes and you begin to see the level of disaster shaping up.

I suppose it’s possible that a well-crafted diplomatic and military strategy and some crack logistics could get our troops out of Iraq with a minimum of bloodshed (after all, it’s not like the Iraqis will be sorry to see us go), but in what parallel universe could BushCo. come up with a well-crafted strategy for anything?

On the other hand, maybe that’s Rove’s real strategy: Turn the withdrawal into an incompetent slaughter (now that, Dubya can do!), and then blame those whiny Democrats for bringing it about with their wimpy refusal to stay the course. I suppose that might work, but Bush’s incompetence is so well-established now, especially where Iraq is concerned, that it could easily backfire. I hope we don’t have to find out.

July 9th, 2007 at 08:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Rove,War

Inexplicable Coney Island Photoblogging

This will probably not be the last sampling of the bizarre and inexplicable from Coney Island; after all, the bizarre and inexplicable is pretty much why I wanted to take pictures there in the first place.

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Ah yes, of course, animals you associate with the Himalayas: polar bears, penguins, and… frogs. (Yes, I am aware that the Himalayas don’t have polar bears or penguins either, but they’re not nearly as incongruous as a giant green frog)

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I have no idea why this ride has little Regency-era vignettes painted on it.

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The ride doesn’t bother me, it’s the fish with human faces in the background…

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This is just a good overview of the general visual chaos in this particular subsection of the overall amusement complex. I especially like the goofy dragon on the left.

July 9th, 2007 at 06:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coney Island,NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Come Back.

Liberty pleads for the return of America:

Come home America, come home.

It is time to come home from distant wars against fictions and phantoms. It is time to come home to your wives who miss you, to your children who need you, to your families that feel the pain of missing souls.

It is time to come home America, home to the cities that have been flooded, the forests left untended, the fields left untilled. It is time to come home America, to the work left undone, the minds left unschooled. It is time to come America, to the home you did not leave behind, because no home ever lasts if left unrepaired.

It is time to come home America, and when you do, you will ask how you ever let that home be put into hands such as the ones that now have it. You will wonder at how they ever seemed to be giants, and on the back of which ant the cameras were mounted to make them look that way.

It is time America to come home. Home to the words which we written on parchment, printed on paper, but engraved on hearts and minds, with stylus of firearms, and ink mixed of blood and gunpowder: “when it becomes destructive to these ends… to alter or abolish it.”

Look at the man who wields the seal of 13 arrows and 13 stars, of 13 leaves and 13 olives, of 13 stripes and countless hopes and dreams. Ask yourself a single question: is he worthy of placing your sons lives in his hands? Hands that have signed so many laws unjust, unwise and unAmerican. Hands which have rubber stamped commands from other unelected. Ask yourself if his words are to be trusted, coming from the same mouth that has spat out so many of us on to the ground.

I have spent my life studying ruins, and I feel this home becoming one. I have spent my life studying kings, and know their portraits by heart. And in history’s wake I feel, I know and must believe because without this belief there is no hope in me: that all the crosses of gold and silver crowns, must in history’s turn be struck down. But I am not the one to do it, I can only call to you, who are still across the sea, or buried in your own affairs, to look up, and see. See that we are losing our America, from mountains blasted for blacker coal, to roads that crack and creak, to nursing wards for veterans that stink and reek, to schools that are dour and bleak.

Come home America, while there is yet time, let not the sands cover us, nor the waters wash us away. It is not out there that our freedom lives, but here. It is not a Vatican in Baghdad that we must build, but a shining city on hill which we must rebuild, our golden domes pealing, our silver stars tarnished, our private places violated by rude disruption, for an adventure we did not wish, nor want. Let dead caesars have their triumphs, let forgotten pharaohs have their obelisks. Let emperors have their might tombs, let them have them, one and all their arcs and boulevards.

Ask your son, your daughter, your wife, your lover. Each will tell you what I say here. “I don’t know why were are there, I just want you home.”

To our public servants I can only ask: “What do you think we changed the government for? We demanded only a few simple things. End the flow of corruption, end the war, and end the reign of error.” You have voted for another year for corruption to flow, already. You have not voted to end the war, yet. You have said that you will not act to remove those who have committed hight crimes and misdemeanors, ever. We sent you once to Washignton, we can send you right back home again if you forget why we sent you there.

I don�t know what else to say, it is an old story, of Ulysses coming home, and cleaning the house of suitors that sought to suck the blood and treasure from his house and steal his wife. To servants who had forgotten their duties, and to all the animals save two that had forgotten his scent. He came home and bent his bow and slew the suitors on sight. But to bend his bow, the great hero first, had to come home.

Please, please, please. It is time to set right what has gone so horribly wrong.

Sadly, I fear that America is very weak and far away. Or maybe just disgusted.

(by way of whig and Athenae)

July 9th, 2007 at 11:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Democrats,Iraq,Republicans,War

The Privileged Executive

Lane Hudson has a nice piece in HuffPo about the inherent contradiction and intellectual dishonesty of the Bush administration’s claim of executive privilege to prevent even former aides like Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor from testifying about the US Attorney firings:

In the White House Press briefing that just concluded, press secretary Tony Snow said that he was not aware of the president being briefed on the US Attorney issue. He further said the president did not sign off on the firings.

CNN’s Ed Henry hit the nail on the head: if no conversations occurred with the president, and no advice was given, then how can the White House assert executive privilege, claiming the need to shield presidential advice?

Tony Snow’s response: “That’s an intriguing question.”

Darn straight it’s an intriguing question! What the heck are they protecting if there exists no presidential advice on the issue? I’ll tell you what they are protecting: Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, two of the President’s most loyal and trusted advisers.

(…)

This stinks to high Hell.

Further, on the O’Reilly Factor last night, guest Judge Andrew Napolitano clearly stated that legal precedent is that Executive Privilege applies only in the area of national security issues. For a court to change that precedent would be a major shift in judicial philosophy.

Good thing we have a Supreme Court with a healthy respect for precedent, eh?

The issue of executive privilege is now dead in the water. There is no circumstance under which there is a reasonable argument for Rove, Miers, et. al to not testify under oath in a public hearing before Congress.

I think the White House is simply being cautious. Just because Dubya doesn’t remember being involved in the US Attorney deliberations and decision-making doesn’t mean he wasn’t. He might have just forgot.

Does executive privilege still apply if the executive doesn’t remember any of the supposedly privileged conversations?

July 9th, 2007 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

Clarence Thomas Hates Integration

NYT has an interesting story on Clarence Thomas’ opposition to integration and affirmative action:

When Justice Clarence Thomas provided a pivotal vote last month as the Supreme Court struck down school integration plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle, he suggested the concept of integration was inherently demeaning to black children because it implied they needed to mix with whites to achieve excellence.

(…)

Justice Thomas joined in a 5-to-4 majority on June 28 ruling that integration plans put in place by officials in Seattle and Louisville violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. In writing a separate concurrence, he dismissed the notion of the court’s minority that “racially balanced schools improve educational outcomes for black children.” He said that, “In reality, it is far from apparent that coerced racial mixing has any educational benefits, much less that integration is necessary to black achievement.”

Those views parallel many made by Justice Thomas going back to a comment he made to an interviewer in 1991, in which he said: “We are not beggars or objects of charity. We don’t get smarter just because we sit next to white people in class, and we don’t progress just because society is ready with handouts.”

As he has in the past, Justice Thomas last month argued that black children had achieved great success in what he called “racially isolated” schools before the landmark ruling, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

In the context of higher education, Justice Thomas said earlier that affirmative action programs cruelly deceived black students admitted to elite law schools under special programs who then found that they could not compete.

“These overmatched students take the bait,” he wrote in 2003, “only to find they cannot succeed in the cauldron of competition.”

(…)

Christopher Edley Jr., the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, said no one had seriously argued that just putting black children alongside white children made them learn better.

“The central claim for integration today is aspirational,” Mr. Edley said. “How do we build a society that is free of the poisons of color?”

Mr. Edley, who served in the Clinton and Carter administrations and on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, argued that “public education is the single best opportunity to promote understanding across our most dangerous divisions.” He said Justice Thomas’s views provided “shelter” for his fellow conservative justices who wanted to end all efforts at maintaining diversified schools.

Two things here that I find interesting.

1) Thomas says that black kids are plenty smart, and don’t need to go to white schools, and yet he also says that black students are “overmatched” when they get into law school via affirmative action. So which is it?

2) Thomas misrepresents or misinterprets the purpose of integration as being somehow academic rather than social. It’s as if he doesn’t even recognize interracial understanding as a worthwhile goal. I dunno, maybe he thinks we’ve already achieved it…

3 comments July 9th, 2007 at 11:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Judiciary,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging – Cool, The Engines

Yes, this week’s theme is way cool engines:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9ryf-Uam0g
Modified Land Rover races jet-powered kayak in Iceland. Yes, it’s as cool (and borderline insane) as it sounds. (h/t ::matthew)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4
Cars powered by compressed air. Totally clean, and with (I think) better range and energy efficiency than the electric car. Plus I bet they could be modified to become hovercars… (h/t Pachacutec)

July 9th, 2007 at 11:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Don’t Really Need To Read It Now…

The blurb says it all:

Conservatives have forgotten that they are opposed to judicial activism.

I went ahead and read it anyway, and there was some good stuff in there:

The Supreme Court told Seattle and Louisville, and hundreds more cities and counties, last month that they have to scrap their integration programs. There is a word for judges who invoke the Constitution to tell democratically elected officials how to do their jobs: activist.

President Bush, who created the court’s conservative majority when he appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, campaigned against activist judges, and promised to nominate judges who would “interpret the law, not try to make law.” Largely because of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, the court has just completed one of its most activist terms in years.

The individuals and groups that have been railing against judicial activism should be outraged. They are not, though, because their criticism has always been of “liberal activist judges.” Now we have conservative ones, who use their judicial power on behalf of employers who mistreat their workers, tobacco companies, and whites who do not want to be made to go to school with blacks.

(…)

The school integration ruling was the most activist of all. The campaign against “activist judges” dates back to the civil rights era, when whites argued that federal judges had no right to order the Jim Crow South to desegregate. These critics insisted they were not against integration; they simply opposed judges’ telling elected officials what to do.

This term, the court did precisely what those federal judges did: it invoked the 14th Amendment to tell localities how to assign students to schools. The Roberts Court’s ruling had an extra fillip of activism. The civil rights era judges were on solid ground in saying that the 14th Amendment, which was adopted after the Civil War to bring former slaves into society, supported integration. Today’s conservative majority makes the much less obvious argument that the 14th Amendment protects society from integration.

(…)

The conservative activism that is taking hold is troubling in two ways. First, it is likely to make America a much harsher place. Companies like Philip Morris will be more likely to injure consumers if they know the due process clause will save them. Employees will be freer to mistreat workers like Lilly Ledbetter, who was for years paid less than her male colleagues, if they know that any lawsuit she files is likely to be thrown out on a technicality.

(…)

The other disturbing aspect of the new conservative judicial activism is its dishonesty. The conservative justices claim to support “judicial modesty,” but reviews of the court’s rulings over the last few years show that they have actually voted more often to overturn laws passed by Congress – the ultimate act of judicial activism – than has the liberal bloc.

It is time to admit that all judges are activists for their vision of the law. Once that is done, the focus can shift to where it should be: on whose vision is more faithful to the Constitution, and better for the nation.

The anti-“judicial activism” Republicans are hypocrites, Roberts and Alito are liars, and the Democrats who voted to confirm them are fools.

1 comment July 9th, 2007 at 07:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Judiciary,Republicans

This Is A New One

So… the Bush Administration is suborning contempt?

Josh says it a bit better than I did earlier:

But the White House is urging her to ignore the subpoena. And since, in the words of Taylor’s lawyer, the president is “a person whom [Taylor] admires and for whom she has worked tirelessly for years”, she doesn’t want to testify and thinks she shouldn’t have to.

Pleading the fifth is on the books. Various privileges, though most are bogus, can be asserted and litigated. But being a member of the Bush personality cult just isn’t a reason to refuse to testify.

Right. There may be some imagined if probably bogus privilege the Bushies can try to claim. They could use that claim to try to block her from testifying by going through the courts. But there’s no “I want to testify but I can’t because they’re telling me not to” rule that makes any sense.

You know, prior to the Bush administration, I had always thought of “contempt” in this context as just an abstract legal term…

1 comment July 9th, 2007 at 07:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans


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