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March 18, 2006

no laws left to break

I figured it out -- the Bush Administration is trying to shoot the moon as far as the Bill of Rights is concerned.  Amendments Five and Six (due process, speedy/public trial) were pretty much obliterated by the Admin's "war on terror" detentions.  They really overachieved on The First Amendment, managing to abridge each deliniated right (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to assembly) contained therein.  Really, they could have just settled for one, but they went the whole way.  And you can argue having to endure an Administration that is bent on destroying everything that is good in the world violates the Eighth Amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment.

And while some thought that the Admin's unwarranted domestic wiretapping flew in the face of the Fourth Amendment, they did not yet know that the Administration has been arguing for the right of warrantless trespass and seizure, as long ago as 2001.  Really, what citizen would be upset by that?

The only Amendments left to be trampled are the boring ones about common law suits and the reservation of state's powers, and the Second Amendment, which is the only Amendment Republicans have any respect for.  Well, there is the Third Amendment, concerning the quartering of soldiers in private homes.  And there is still a couple years left for the Bush Administration (on paper).

Posted by mrbrent at 11:08 AM

March 17, 2006

james spader pwns

I don't regularly watch "Boston Legal", but I'm happy when I do.  It's your standard American fictional televised entertainment, so I wouldn't exactly teach it in school, but William Shatner and James Spader are aggressively watchable.  (More on them from Alicublog here, every word of which I agree with.)

I haven't actually seen this bit yet (I believe it aired last week?), but I did hear it on the radio, and it's a must-watch (or -listen, as it were) if you're the type that doesn't mind streaming the audiovisual on your computer.  It is a scene in which the Spader character gives his summation defending his client, who has been withholding income tax in protest of the Iraq War.

Is very much a Howard Beale moment.  Click through to see it on Youtube here, at Americablog.

What better way to erin go braugh than by youtubing in your cubicle?

Posted by mrbrent at 11:56 AM

March 16, 2006

joke TK

The Yahoo! Headline Corral asks that you dust off those punchlines:
• Jerry Lewis joins France's Legion of Honor

I'm not sure, but is "offering without comment" on the grounds that a topic lends itself to too easy jokes now as annoying as just making the too-easy jokes in the first place?

Nice lady!

Posted by mrbrent at 3:13 PM

honesty in panhandling

Last night I got one-twoed by panhandlers working the subway.  Which was weird, because, even with a spiraling economy, the panhandling has fallen off somewhat (which I deem ominous).  It's not so often anymore that you see anyone working the subway line I ride, and to see two was alarming.

First guy was the cool, though, and this is his spiel:

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm still homeless.  Maybe somebody put something in my cup, maybe I buy something to eat.

Which is instantly in my top three spiels of all time, for it's unassailable laconic honesty.

Sadly, this dude was followed three minutes later by a brittle mumbly sort who would pantomime shooting you inna head after you politely declined his entreaty.

Bottom line: based on current economic indicators, I have the feeling that we will all be able to enjoy increasing panhandling encounters in coming years -- possibly even as panhandlers!  Maybe you raise my interest rates, maybe I move back into my parent's.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:34 AM

March 15, 2006

welcome back wonkette

I seem to recall giving Wonkette some haterizing.  It was shortly after Ana Marie Cox left, and all them guest bloggers got a stint behind the wheel.  It was terrible.  I stopped clicking.  Wonkette became irrelevent, like everyone says the newspaper industry is.

The new editors at Wonkette have won me over.  It took a while, but posts like this are as close to world-class as a two hundred word blog post can hope to be.

Yes, Wonkette is again the pony in my slavery.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:01 PM

more moussaoui

I was thinking of elaborating on the Moussaoui trial.  Namely, why seeking the death penalty on Moussaoui is questionable idea.

But then I remembered that I'm opposed to the death penalty on general principle.  So while the government is wrong for trying to seek the death penalty for an offense that does not warrant the death penealty and for what I would call purely political purposes, the government is also wrong for clinging to a moldly eighteenth century doctrine that a state has the right to kill a man.

I love the fact that there is a trial.  There should be more trials.  The criminal justice system should be fighting the war on terror, and not the U.S. Army.  But between you and me, Moussaoui is just the wrong guy to make an example of.  He may well be a highly trained evildoer, but from reports of the trial, it seems there's an equal chance that he may be an insane crazy person.  Leaving the hearing in which the judge scolded the prosecution for misconduct, Moussaoui exclaimed, "The show must go on!"

If the government is trying to push a "face of evil" down everyone's TV sets so we all feel safer once they ice him, they should be careful that this face of evil does not behave like Rip Taylor on "The Gong Show".

Posted by mrbrent at 9:15 AM

March 14, 2006

the us attorney that couldn't shoot straight

Congratulations are in order to the Justice Department.  Formerly considered somewhat of an "apolitical" arm of law enforcement in the face of changing administrations, the Bush/Ashcroft/Gonzalez Justice Department has risen to the general level of incompetence as demostrated by the other departments that are not in some way graft-able.

I congratulate Justice on their flagrant witness-coaching in the Moussaoui 9-11 trial.  Not that I thought that a death penalty for criminal conspiracy wasn't an overreach, but the witness-coaching is indicative of the relative importance accorded law enforcement in the administration's "war on terror" -- so little emphasis is given to law enforcement of terrorism (as opposed to invasions of sovereign nations) that Justice can't make it through a criminal terrorism trial without glaring prosecutorial misconduct.

It really takes the "indicting a ham sandwich" aphorism to its logical frustrating conclusion, as far as convictions go.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:33 AM

March 13, 2006

economic summary of repub failure

This is a useful resource.  Back in the good old days, before the 200 election, my favorite justification for supporting the Gore campaign, and Democratic Administrations that fall short of my prgressive expectations in general, is that recent Democratic regimes have brought prosperity, and recent Republican regimes have not.  This may have seemed like a no-brainer, coming off of the longest peace-time expansion in U.S. history, but I have read here and there that the figures support this as a general thesis.

Of course, "here and there" is not exactly going to change anyone's minds or win any arguments.

Thanks to the talented maniacs of the DailyKos community, please find a consise summary of twenty-five years of fiscal insanity, including such insanities as rampant deficit spending and blithe revenue cuts.

If the head of your household managed your family budget the way the Republicns have, you'd have been shipped off to an Australian debtor's prison years ago.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:53 PM

chickens, eaters of india wary

The Yahoo! Box of Silly Headlines launches the week with a report of exhortations:
• India urges chicken-wary eaters to 'go for it'

Sometimes clicking through to the story would just ruin everything.  Instead, I'm just going to join the wary chicken-eaters of India in 'go[ing] for it'.

(And on a practical level, wary Indians, the more chickens you eat, the less chickens there are to catch H5N1!)

[MOMENTS LATER:]  I could not resist clicking through.  I tell you this not because I am sad that am now denied the chance to 'go for it', but rather to share the lead paragraph:

A chicken stands proud in an Indian government newspaper advertisement, a speech bubble coming from its beak: "Chicken! Egg! Here we come again on the dining table!"

Peace be with you.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:45 AM