Archive for April 4th, 2008

Quote Of The Day

The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin:

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Rice was supposedly scheduled to deliver a major speech designating missile defense as the cornerstone of Bush’s new national security strategy.

That sure worked out well, eh?

April 4th, 2008 at 11:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Quotes,Republicans,Terrorism

Question Of The Week

John Yoo, 3/14/03 torture memo:

“…The Eighth Amendment… applies solely to those persons upon whom criminal sanctions have been imposed. As the Supreme Court has explained, the “‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause’ was designed to protect those convicted of crimes… The Eight Amendment thus has no application to those individuals who have not been punished as part of a criminal proceeding, irrespective of the fact that they have been detained by the government… The Eighth Amendment therefore cannot extend to the detention of wartime detainees, who have been captured pursuant to the President’s power as Commander in Chief…”

“The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed ‘punishment’ for purposes of the Eight Amendment… Indeed, it has long been established that captivity in wartime is neither a punishment nor an act of vengeance, but merely a temporary detention which is devoid of all penal character…”

Tony Scalia, 2/12/08 BBC interview:

To begin with, the constitution refers to cruel and unusual punishment, it is referring to… cruel and unusual punishment for a crime. But a court can do that when a witness refuses to answer or commit them to jail until you will answer the question — without any time limit on it, as a means of coercing the witness to answer, as the witness should. And I suppose it’s the same thing about “so-called” torture.

Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited under the Constitution? Because smacking someone in the face would violate the 8th amendment in a prison context. You can’t go around smacking people about. Is it obvious that what can’t be done for punishment can’t be done to exact information that is crucial to this society? It’s not at all an easy question, to tell you the truth.

Did Yoo and Scalia come up with this torture-is-okay-as-long-as-they-haven’t-been-convicted-of-anything angle independently, or did someone pass the idea to or between them?

Makes one wonder just what Dick and Tony might have talked about on those hunting trips, eh?

April 4th, 2008 at 09:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Judiciary,Torture,Wankers

This Is What Happens When You Copy Rove’s Math Homework

John Boehner has completely lost touch with reality:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted Thursday that Republicans will pick up seats in the 2008 election despite a slew of GOP retirements and the Democrats’ significant fundraising advantage. “We don’t need as much money as [Democrats] have,” he said. “We need enough to tell our story.” He added, “I think we are going to gain seats this year. Period.”


Boehner said Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential candidacy would be an asset for House Republicans.

Boehner brushed aside suggestions that the parade of GOP retirees was a sign of impending doom in November. Twenty-nine House Republicans are not seeking reelection.

“Most of those retirees are in safe seats,” he said, noting that vulnerable open seats would have been tough to hold with or without an incumbent running.

“There are some retirements that were probably good…good for the member and good for the seat,” he said.

Alrighty then.  If anything hurts Democrats this year, it will be that they didn’t oppose the Republican agenda enough.  But I guess Boehner’s not going to mention that.

(h/t Blue Texan)

April 4th, 2008 at 09:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

Mike Hampton = Carl Pavano

Heh heh heh…

Mike Hampton is headed back to the disabled list after hurting himself in pregame warm-ups Thursday night, preventing him from making his first start in almost three years.

Hampton, scheduled to make his first start since Aug. 19, 2005, strained his left pectoral muscle while warming up in the bullpen before Atlanta’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was seen grimacing after throwing a pitch.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with,” Hampton said. “Having to step off the mound and say ‘I just don’t want to do it,’ it’s definitely a tough pill to swallow.”

Hampton said he tried to “push through it a few times” before giving up on the attempt to make the start after repeated questions from pitching coach Roger McDowell.

“I’ve never stepped off the mound and said ‘Here’s the ball,’ ” Hampton said.

Braves manager Bobby Cox said Hampton’s first 23 warm-up pitches were “excellent.”

“Then it started grabbing him,” Cox said.

“It’s unbelievable something else could pop up like that but it did. … He felt it a little bit the other day tossing the ball and we didn’t think much of it, to be honest with you.”

Added Cox, pointing to his chest, “Most pitchers never get something in here but it was one of those strange deals and he couldn’t go.”

Hampton will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 30. Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes will be called up from Triple-A Richmond and will be available on Friday.

As a Mets fan, I’m not real fond of Mike Hampton or the Braves, so perhaps I am not as sympathetic as I should be…

2 comments April 4th, 2008 at 06:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Sports

The Crazy Awesome Immortality House That No-One Lives In

Eric Striffler / NYT

Even if it didn’t extend my lifespan, I would still totally want to live here:

THE house is off-limits to children, and adults are asked to sign a waiver when they enter. The main concern is the concrete floor, which rises and falls like the surface of a vast, bumpy chocolate chip cookie.

But, for Arakawa, 71, an artist who designed the house with his wife, Madeline Gins, the floor is a delight, as well as a proving ground.

As he scampered across it with youthful enthusiasm on a Friday evening in March, he compared himself to the first man to walk on the moon. “If Neil Armstrong were here, he would say, ‘This is even better!’ ”

Then Ms. Gins, 66, began holding forth about the health benefits of the house, officially called Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa). Its architecture makes people use their bodies in unexpected ways to maintain equilibrium, and that, she said, will stimulate their immune systems.

“They ought to build hospitals like this,” she said.


In 45 years of working together as artists, poets and architects, they have developed an arcane philosophy of life and art, a theory they call reversible destiny. Essentially, they have made it their mission — in treatises, paintings, books and now built projects like this one — to outlaw aging and its consequences.

“It’s immoral that people have to die,” Ms. Gins explained.

The house on Long Island, which cost more than $2 million to build, is their first completed architectural work in the United States — and, as they see it, a turning point in their campaign to defeat mortality.


In addition to the floor, which threatens to send the un-sure-footed hurtling into the sunken kitchen at the center of the house, the design features walls painted, somewhat disorientingly, in about 40 colors; multiple levels meant to induce the sensation of being in two spaces at once; windows at varying heights; oddly angled light switches and outlets; and an open flow of traffic, unhindered by interior doors or their adjunct, privacy.

All of it is meant to keep the occupants on guard. Comfort, the thinking goes, is a precursor to death; the house is meant to lead its users into a perpetually “tentative” relationship with their surroundings, and thereby keep them young.


For Arakawa, reversible destiny is about more than just a state of mind. By way of example, he described the experience of elderly residents of a building in Mitaka, Japan, that the couple recently designed. Having to navigate a treacherous environment — in some cases by moving “like a snake” across the floor — has, in fact, boosted their immune systems, he claimed. “Three, four months later, they say, ‘You’re so right, I’m so healthy now!’ ”

Like many of Arakawa and Gins’s assertions, it’s hard to know just how seriously this one is meant to be taken. Even those closest to the couple disagree about what they really believe.


One of their first built architectural projects, a park in central Japan called “Site of Reversible Destiny,” was completed in 1995. Made up of acres of warped surfaces, it offers visitors advice, in a handout leaflet, like “Instead of being fearful of losing your balance, look forward to it.” (Several people who are said to have broken bones there might wish the name of the park were literally true.)


The finished house consists of four rectangular rooms surrounding a free-form living space. The walls are made of various materials including metal and translucent polycarbonate, which admits a gentle light; the floor is made in a traditional Japanese style, using hardened soil, here mixed with a little cement. For those who aren’t especially sure-footed, there are a dozen brightly colored metal poles to grab on to.

The absence of internal doors creates a dramatic flow — and seemingly insoluble privacy problems. “You make your own privacy,” Ms. Gins said, cryptically. In fact, there are hooks in the ceiling, and someday the house could be festooned with curtains or other dividers.

I had to leave out lots of good stuff, like their philosopher friend who wrote a paper about what his cat might think of Bioscleave House, so be sure to read the whole thing, and check out the slideshow.

April 4th, 2008 at 06:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

My blog is the #1 search result for child eaten by giant salamander.

Not that I advocate feeding children to giant salamanders, mind you – it’s probably bad for the salamander.

April 4th, 2008 at 01:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

More Post-Implosion Photoblogging

What can I say, I just love wreckage…

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It used to abut a parking garage…

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And now it looks like a war zone.

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Least necessary sign ever.

April 4th, 2008 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from the very underrated and creepy Exorcist III:

I can’t go home until the carp is asleep.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s carp, er, cats…

The shadowy and mysterious Codename B., caught in the act.  Exactly what act, I’m not sure, but she looks surprised and a little guilty.

2 comments April 4th, 2008 at 07:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

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