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Saturday, November 22, 2003

American weapons likely used against Palestinians in month-old attack 

"A month ago, the air force launched an assassination strike against a Hamas activist who was driving through Nuseirat refugee camp. The Palestinians claimed that the attack caused a large number of civilian casualties, but the air force commander, Major General Dan Halutz, produced video footage of the car being hit by two missiles that showed no one standing near the wrecked vehicle as the rockets struck."

"The military said that Hellfire missiles were used, producing a concentrated explosion over a small area. Gen Halutz likened the effect of the missiles to "two grenades". The video footage was widely shown on Israeli television."

"But the army now admits that it lied in briefings to the Israeli and foreign press, because the second rocket was not a Hellfire missile."

"The [Israeli] military refuses to identify the weapon used, on the grounds of "operational security". But the speculation is that it was an American-made Flechette, which is illegal under international law because it fires thousands of tiny darts over hundreds of meters, causing horrific injuries. Israel has used similar weapons in Gaza in the past."

Go to the article and look at the "darts" that come out of this "Flechette" (which of course, you paid for with your tax dollars).

If this is true, and it apparently is, it is highly disturbing.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Everything Secret Degenerates 

More for the law enforcement misconduct file...

A report [entitled "Everything Secret Degenerates"] issued yesterday by the House Committee on Government Reform gave the fullest accounting to date of the F.B.I.'s use of murderers as informants in Boston for three decades and its protection of them even to the point of allowing innocent men to be sentenced to death."

--snip--

"More than 20 people were killed by F.B.I. informants in Boston starting in 1965, often with the help of F.B.I. agents, it said, but no F.B.I. agent or official has ever been disciplined."

Fucking believable (I'll never say "un"- believable when it comes to law enforcement).

"The bureau, in a written statement, said, "While the F.B.I. recognizes there have been instances of misconduct by a few F.B.I. employees, it also recognizes the importance of human source information in terrorism, criminal and counter-intelligence investigations."

To avoid future problems, the statement said, "the F.B.I. has taken significant steps in recent years regarding the management and oversight of human sources of intelligence."

OHhhhhh! NO need to worry folks, nothing to see here, everything has already been fixed -- Go back to work...

By the way, the "changes" consist of a new Manual of Investigative Operations! They likely inserted something like this on page 300 or so "Don't kill people, and try not to let your informants kill people." I feel safer already.

FBI Lab Lying in Court....Again 

File this with the others....

The FBI's use of a technique of "chemically matching" lead from bullets is of course, complete pseudoscience.

"the FBI has used for decades to match bullets to crimes are flawed or imprecise."
--snip--
"When the lab makes a match, its experts testify that two bullets are "analytically indistinguishable." [can't you just hear the expert on the stand?]
--snip--
"The FBI science relies on the theory that bullets from the same batch of lead share a common chemical fingerprint.

"Charles Peters, an FBI's expert witness in cases involving bullet lead comparison, testified recently that data chaining, the technique disavowed by the academy, was important to matching bullets."

"I'm a fan of chaining," Peters testified in April in a case in Alaska. "If we had great precision, really good precision ... and we didn't do something like chaining, or something like that, nothing would ever match."
THAT'S THE POINT YOU PRICK! IF THE BULLET DOESN'T FIT....

"Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists." 

Can you believe the nerve of some people?

I love it when a previous post becomes relevant to newly unfolding events. Chomsky's remarks in the article I linked to Wednesday are HIGHLY relevant to this new Bush propaganda.

Here's the article about the newest Bush propaganda

"The new commercial gives the first hint of the themes Mr. Bush's campaign is likely to press in its early days. It shows Mr. Bush, during the last State of the Union address, warning of continued threats to the nation: "Our war against terror is a contest of will, in which perseverance is power," he says after the screen flashes the words, "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."

"By indirectly invoking the Sept. 11 attacks, the commercial plays to what White House officials have long contended is Mr. Bush's biggest political advantage: his initial handling of the aftermath of the attacks."

Remember that Chomsky already told us that this was coming:

"Karl Rove, the Republican campaign manager and one of the most important people in Washington, informed party activists over the summer that if they allow social and economic issues to be in the forefront of the campaign, they're going to lose, because the [administration’s] social and economic policies are very harmful to most of the population and very unpopular. So, he said, "We have to focus the campaign on security." If you can frighten the population, they will rally around the man presented as the powerful leader who will protect them from destruction. And then maybe "we can hold on to political power."

--snip--

"The Republican Convention was delayed until mid-September 2004, the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. That will be the opening of the presidential campaign, which has to follow the same strategy. In fact, Karl Rove has already announced that for the presidential campaign they're going to have to focus on George Bush, the great war leader who saved us from terrorism and from Iraq. And there will probably be some new dragon to slay at that time, and we've got to defend ourselves from him. [The message will be:] Don't pay any attention to the fiscal train wreck that we are consciously creating, which is going to force us (because we want to do it) to dismantle Social Security and Medicaid, and Medicare and other social services. [Or to policies] that transfer wealth-- even more than in the past-- into the pockets of a very narrow sector, and a rather corrupt sector of corporate power. Don't pay any attention to that. Just pay attention to the fact that we're going to defend you from disaster."

[sidenote on the Bush ad -- notice how they're again hinting that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11 -- nothing overt, because they know it's indefensible. Just enough to catch the reactionary morons who don't know any better]

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Jesse Jackson on Dean's New Southern Strategy 

Jackson gives very insightful comments about the Democrats, the South, the Confederate Flag, and Howard Dean.

"Historically, the Confederate flag is a symbol of the Democratic Party. Today, however, Republicans can fly and wave it, but Democrats can't talk about it--and current Democrats don't know how to handle it.

As a result, the symbol Howard Dean used got in the way of his substance, but his substance was on point--and the point was that Southern whites and blacks together must focus on their common economic needs: jobs, good schools, affordable healthcare."

--snip--

Rather than repeating this stereotypical and condescending approach of appealing to whites in the South with a "balanced ticket" and "social conservatism," Howard Dean dares a new approach--to join whites and blacks around a common economic agenda of good schools and healthcare.

If Howard Dean wins the nomination around an economic agenda, and can effectively combat the certain Republican tactic of diversion--using social issues openly, and race more subtly, to sublimate economic concerns--then Democrats may once again be able to win in the South and pursue a progressive economic agenda for the benefit of all Americans.

That's Howard Dean's approach and his challenge. I support him because I think it's the right strategy politically, economically and morally."


This is a must read.

I don't know this guy, but I think he kicks ass just the same 

Check out the Public Defender Dude's take on the recent spate of high profile LA related cases (Michael, Kobe, and Scott Peterson).


AWWWW Shit --> I got cited by the PDD! Check it out. (Wed Nov. 12th post)

The Michael Jackson Plot Thickens.... 

So, 'ole "Mad Dog" didn't get his meat last time eh? Me thinky Mad Dog wanty his meat.

Prosecutor's ego perhaps getting involved in this one? "Those who have worked with [prosecutor] Sneddon say he is tenacious and tough, particularly when he has made up his mind about a case — sometimes to a fault."

Notice that there is "a new law... allows prosecutors to halt civil suits during related criminal cases [that] should prevent a replay of the 1993 scenario." Basically, if the kid and his parents decided to sue, the California law could actually stay that proceeding until the completion of the criminal trial. That way, everybody gets their pound of flesh. Even Mad Dog.


What's wrong with us? 

I'll never forget the night war was declared against Iraq by President Bush. I honestly could not believe it. We had seen the largest peace-time protest in the history of the world. Despite the media propaganda blitz in support of the war, even the American populous was against the invasion (if done without the UN -- see Gallup poll December 2002), yet we went anyway. I was honestly shocked.

All I could think about was this song.

Now I see what the Brits are doing, THE FUCKING BRITS are doing this, and I wonder. Why have we let this lie? What is wrong with us?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

O'Reilly Watch 

O'Reilly read this interlude tonight --> "Jackson's bail is 3 million dollars, what does that have to say about the evidence against him?" Later on in the show he said "when you've got a 3 million dollar bond, it's more than just some kid saying he did it."

Is this guy serious? Because the bail is 3 million, the evidence is strong? Is O'Reilly so dumb that he doesn't know bail is set according to tables based on what the CHARGES are, (not the evidence)?

O'Reilly actually read this bulletpoint: "He's a troubled pervert, danger to society."
"Even if this guy is innocent, which he's not; I know he isn't...He's out of it, he's a danger...He's a pervert....The celebrity press is enabling him....This guy is the devil...Geragos[defense attorney] is going to argue diminished capacity [I assume he means insanity]. He's going to argue that he doesn't know what he's doing because his dad beat him."

To be honest, I watch this show from time to time for amusement. Every time I do, I wonder how many people are like me --> watching this idiot for amusement. It reminds me of the Howard Stern movie: "people who hate him listen longer than people who like him."

Last Supper's, Texas Style 

This is really disturbing. Take a look at what human beings wanted for their last supper in Texas.

From now on, I'm going to post the last meal request after every execution.

Bush: Can't get fooled again 

I'm sorry, I know this is old, and I already have a permanent link to it on the right hand side of the blog, but this shit is hilarious.

Check out the little fat kid with glasses to Georgie's left. I think HE feels sorry for Bush!

The United States (and the Republican Party) in a nutshell, by Noam Chomsky: 

This link made possible by JHawk. If you haven't read Chomsky yet, this is a great intro. Here's some selected tidbits..... (my favorite is probably, "And don't look at those rich people over there who are having a ball.")

"The Republican Convention was delayed until mid-September 2004, the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. That will be the opening of the presidential campaign, which has to follow the same strategy. In fact, Karl Rove has already announced that for the presidential campaign they're going to have to focus on George Bush, the great war leader who saved us from terrorism and from Iraq. And there will probably be some new dragon to slay at that time, and we've got to defend ourselves from him. [The message will be:] Don't pay any attention to the fiscal train wreck that we are consciously creating, which is going to force us (because we want to do it) to dismantle Social Security and Medicaid, and Medicare and other social services. [Or to policies] that transfer wealth-- even more than in the past-- into the pockets of a very narrow sector, and a rather corrupt sector of corporate power. Don't pay any attention to that. Just pay attention to the fact that we're going to defend you from disaster."

--snip--

"The attack on domestic programs is a very serious matter. For these people that's quite important. The core program is a huge tax cut for the very wealthy. There's nothing much for anyone else, but for wealthy and privileged people it's a huge savings. This is combined with a sharp increase in the federal budget, a big increase in government expenditures, a lot of which is called "military"--but, remember, that means high-tech industry generally, under the cover of the military. So, there is a huge increase in government spending for high technology and the military, combined with a sharp cutback in revenues because of the tax cuts for the wealthy. Of course, this leads to what's called "a fiscal train wreck."

Their own economists have estimated the costs. They expect a $44 trillion dollar fiscal deficit—a fiscal gap of unpaid bills. And that's purposeful. When the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, was asked about this in a news conference: "Is this $44 trillion dollar figure correct? " He said, "Yeah." And that means that Congress will have to be "responsible" about Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security benefits and so on. When he says, "be responsible," he doesn't mean introduce progressive taxation to deal with the problems; he means cut [those social programs].

They can't come before the country and say, "Elect us because we want to cut back everything that benefits the general population." But, they can come before the country, they think, and say, "Because we're defending you from imminent disaster, we had to spend all this money, and there's just nothing left for all these things you'd like. We'd love to give them to you, but it's a fiscal disaster and we have to be responsible. And so you're going to have to cut back your wages and benefits and so on. And don't look at those rich people over there who are having a ball."

--snip--

"What they will probably do is just what Karl Rove indicated, manufacture another extremely dangerous situation. It doesn't take much to manufacture one. It doesn't have to be real, as we saw with Iraq. Whatever you think of Iraq, it was certainly no threat, but they were able to convince the country that it was a very serious threat. And if they manufacture another one then, somehow, people will forget about the problems in Iraq. Does anybody remember what happened in Afghanistan or Kosovo? People don’t even know what they were."

I'm not going to post anything else for a while because I think this article is SO important to read. Please go.

--snip--

"All of this talk about "old Europe"-- France and Germany, we can get rid of them-- reflects fears that go back to the end of the Second World War, fears that Europe might move on an independent course. And if it does, it's going to be led by its industrial and financial heartland, namely Germany and France.

Germany and France were bitterly condemned because the governments took the same position as the large majority of the population, instead of following orders from Washington. In fact, the hatred of democracy that was expressed in the last few months has absolutely no parallel that I know of. In the countries that were praised, New Europe, the population was even more opposed to the war than in Old Europe. But, the leadership was willing to follow orders from Crawford, Texas, so that made them good guys. They had democratic credentials, since they were following orders from us, though they were disregarding maybe 80 or 90 percent of the population.

If there's ever been an expression of hatred of democracy like this in the past, I haven't seen it. "

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Who Are These Neo-Cons Anyway? 

Republicans Advocate Arms Control!

"We will cooperate with other nations in the limitation of armaments and control of tragic in arms." 1936 Republic Party Platform

Whoops, somebody forgot to tell 'ole George Bush.

Republicans Advocate Advancement of "Colored's"

"We condemn the present New Deal policies which would regiment and ultimately eliminate the colored citizen from the country's productive life, and make him solely a ward of the federal government." 1936 Republican Party Platform.

The more things change....


Right on Ryan! 

Ryan Koppelman calls Bush and Ashcroft out!

Kop displays some well-aimed moral indignation

Go. Cheer him on!

The Beginning of the Neo Con? 

Republicans Advocate Acceptance of World Court!

"World Court

The acceptance by America of membership in the World Court has been approved by three successive Republican Presidents and we commend this attitude of supporting in this form the settlement of international disputes by the rule of law. America should join its influence and gain a voice in this institution, which would offer us a safer, more judicial and expeditious instrument for the constantly recurring questions between us and other nations than is now available by arbitration."

Ofcourse, this is from the 1932 Republican platform

[NOTE: I admittedly lifted the link for this information at Kop F&B]

The neo-cons were apparently created in 1936.

According to the 1936 Republican Party Platform:
"we pledge that America shall not become a member of the League of Nations nor of the World Court nor shall America take on any entangling alliances in foreign affairs.

I wish I made these things up 

"United States brought suit challenging application of two Colorado professional ethics rules to federal prosecutors. "
This is a direct quote from a REAL CASE [US v. Colorado Supreme Court, 189 F.3d 1281].

Your tax dollars hard at work --> arguing they don't have to be ethical when they investigate you.

Welcome to Justice, American-style 

A Judge on the Balkan War Tribunal is critical of American-style justice.


"Judge David Hunt, who previously served as a supreme court justice in Australia and is now an appeals judge here, recently vented his frustrations in an uncommonly strong dissent. He argued that the tribunal would not be judged by the number of its convictions or the speed at which it completed its mandate, "but by the fairness of its trials."

The judge objected strongly to several recent appeals decisions because, he said, they favored the prosecution rather than the rights of the accused. Those decisions, he warned, "will leave a spreading stain on this tribunal's reputation."

Such language is unusual in the polite quarters of the court's 16 permanent judges, where in-house squabbles rarely leak out. But Judge Hunt, who is retiring in November, told colleagues he felt obliged to warn against an unfortunate "new trend" in which some judges seemed eager to assist the prosecution in order to speed up cases."

"new trend" huh judge? Maybe new to you.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Yo Ann, Make me a sandwich be-otch: 

Ann Coulter questioned irreverently: ""Ann, since you're a self-proclaimed extreme right-winger, when are you going to take your own advice and get pregnant, march into the kitchen barefoot and make me a god damn sandwich?!"

Bush defines "freedom" 

"Freedom" according to Bush

'Liebermania' 

Any Lieberman Fans Out There? You might be coming down with 'Liebermania'

"All of a sudden, I started thinking that video games do cause violence. Rap music is really filth that's destroying America, and worst of all I realized that the invasion of Iraq was truly warranted. Yet somehow I still called myself a Democrat."

This is funny shit

This might actually top the previous one, "Fox News Admits Bias"

In the no surprise there department  

John Allen Muhammad -- Convicted

I told you it wouldn't be long (6 1/2 hours of deliberation qualifies I think).

George Orwell's "Thought Crime" = Sex Crimes?: 

"Preventive Detention" for sex criminals may not smack of George Orwell's 1984 to most of you, but it is thought crime nonetheless.

Here's a taste from the amazingly in-depth NYtimes article linked above:

"the detention of these men, many legal experts say, is a striking departure from the principle that people who are not mentally ill may be confined only for their acts, not their thoughts."

"In yearly review hearings, the men are judged by their sexual tastes and fantasies — or what psychiatrists suppose to be their fantasies — as well as their performance on psychological tests, their attitudes toward authority and their willingness to acknowledge their crimes and disorders."

--snip--

"New Jersey, more than most states, seals the commitment process from public view. It is one of three states that do not have juries at the hearings, which are closed to protect patients' confidentiality. Patients' names never enter any public record. The decisions of the two Superior Court judges who handle all the cases are sealed."

--snip--

"Days Before Freedom The secret process begins, aptly, with a surprise. Days before they are to be released, inmates are notified that they will be sent to Kearny(the 'treatment' facility)."

--snip--

"To get a temporary commitment order from a judge, the state must present two medical recommendations. One psychiatrist who supplied them, Dr. Gerald Groves, said that sometimes, if he advised against committing someone, "the institution might go find another psychiatrist who would be willing to commit."

--snip--

"The offender then awaits an initial commitment hearing. There, the state presents its diagnoses and usually argues that the offender has shown an inability to control his deviant impulses, which in turn shows a high likelihood of committing another crime. The state wins 95 percent of those cases, according to the attorney general's office, and even more of the annual review hearings that follow.

In five years, 11 patients have been released out of 302 committed, according to the Department of Corrections, which would not say why. The state has recommended none for release."

--snip--

"Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association and an authority on psychiatry and the law, said...
"It's hard to know where to start because the whole thing is so crazy," Dr. Appelbaum said.

AMEN Dr. Appelbaum.



Here's how it'll progess: first we'll do it on "criminals", then professional athletes, then high school student athletes, then YOU. Cool?
Bush Ain't No Moses

"It takes stunning arrogance for a President to invade an oil-rich, politically strategic country on the basis of demonstrable lies, put his favorite companies in control of its economic future, create a puppet regime to do his bidding and then claim, as George Bush did last week in a speech, that this is all a bold exercise in spreading democracy.

"Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation," the President said. "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution."

Bush even invoked the blessing of a divine power, the "author of freedom," suggesting that he is not merely an overambitious imperial President but rather a modern Moses armed with smart bombs and Black Hawk helicopters come to liberate an enslaved people.

--snip---

"People make their own history, and though the US can help, it cannot impose."

This speech by Bush has been bothering the heck out of me for over a week. I meant to blog on it two Friday's ago, but never got around to it. Robert Scheer took care of it. Go.
Why haven't you heard about this yet?
National Guard helicopters sent into a hostile environment without missile defenses and nobody gives a damn. Even after we lost 17 soldiers when one of those Chinook helicopters was shot down.

Here's a sample:
"For 18 months before it was deployed to Iraq, a combined Illinois-Iowa National Guard helicopter unit reported to the Army that most of the unit's helicopters lacked basic missile defense systems. Despite that, the Army sent the Chinook helicopters to Iraq and used them in missions."
-- snip --
"We clearly reported it and showed the unit's deficiencies," said Lt. Col. Alicia Tate-Nadeau of the Illinois National Guard. "The information was there for them to view. She was responding to the suggestion made this week by Army officials that the Guard unit had misrepresented itself as ready for deployment to Iraq"

"One of the helicopters was shot down Nov. 2, killing 16 soldiers, including Staff Sgt. Paul Velazquez, 29, a former San Diego resident

Ashcroft to Greenpeace: Don't Even Think About Trying to Stop Illegal Imports of Protected Goods

The US Attorney's Office in Florida (via John Ashcroft) is using a 19th century law against "Salior Mongering" to charge Greenpeace with a criminal conspiracy over activists who went on board a ship carrying illegally exported mahogany, and unfurling a banner against illegal logging.

I'm not a big Greenpeace person, but I still think this sounds wrong.

"Some observers say it is possible that Greenpeace could lose its tax-exempt status in the United States — a death knell for a non-profit organization. "

How does the US Attorney's Office in Florida plan to accomplish such a feat:

by "use of an obscure statute of federal law in the case. Passed 131 years ago, Code 18, Statute 2779 was written to prevent organizations such as boarding houses from “sailor mongering” — which involved boarding ships before they had moorage, often using alcohol or prostitutes to lure the crewmen ashore, leaving the vessel unattended. His research indicates that the law has been cited in only two cases, most recently in 1890."
US to Cede Control Over Iraq Operations

WOW! This is a HUGE policy shift for the neo's (no relation to the Matrix) and Bush [note: I do not list Bush as part of the "neo" group because one must first be able to grasp a political ideology in order to adopt it].

Since the war began we've heard time and again that the US will not relinquish control. Bush refused to cede power, you will recall, in order to avoid looking like an idiot.
(From 9/28/2003 Washington Post article entitled Reluctance to Share Control in Iraq Leaves U.S. on Its Own
"To rebuild Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration wanted control and it wanted international help on U.S. terms. A difficult few days of personal diplomacy at the United Nations last week confirmed that President Bush cannot have both, so he has settled for control." [sorry, no link, but it is available on Lexis]

I think it is fair to say Bush's strategy failed:
"The United States accepts that to avoid humiliating failure in Iraq it needs to bring its forces quickly under international control and speed the handover of power, Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, has said."

POLL --> 1 in 3 Brits think Bush is "stupid"

I always thought the British were so intelligent (perhaps it was just the accent); but this poll has made me change my mind. If you read between the lines, this poll means that 67% of British citizens think Bush is NOT stupid!
Policy Analysis Market REVIVED!

Apparently, Poindexter's baby was such a good idea --> it has been privatized. How's that for deregulation!

Here's how it was billed when it was brainstormed by your tax dollars:
"Traders would have bought and sold futures contracts -- just like energy traders do now in betting on the future price of oil. But the contracts in this case would have been based on what might happen in the Middle East in terms of economics, civil and military affairs or specific events, such as terrorist attacks."

I'm going to put down $800 on a suicide bombing in Iraq for next week. I wonder who the bookie is?
Rush Limbaugh

Look, I'm aware how much damage this guy's misinformation campaign has done to the political landscape, but isn't the left being a little too hard on this guy?

Read some of the comments at Atrios. They're downright rude. Are we not missing out on an opportunity to show how compassionate we are, and how we have sympathy even for THIS guy?

This gets back to something I've said before on this blog --> liberals need to learn how to be better winners. In the early to mid 90's the right became specialists at critiquing Democrats; then when the Republicans took over the Congress they weren't able to DO anything (they were better at criticizing). To me, that is going to be the challenge for the left in the months and years (hope) to come. How the left deals with their new found success will be crucial.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction FOUND!!!!!!!!!!

Perhaps I'm just being paranoid (remember what Woody Allen said about people who think everyone is out to get them all the time), but I have to tell you I think the Administration has already got something in their pockets on the WMD thing.

Think about it: the whole missing WMD thing has completely shaped the presidential election of 2004. So, the smart thing to do (in The Art of War or Richard Perle kind of way) is to allow the Democrats to build their campaigns around this glaring weakness (and ignore all the other horrible crap that has been going on since 2000). Then, on the eve of election (3 or 4 months prior -- say about August) they release their "evidence" of the discovery of WMDs. Result --> Democrats don't have enough time to mount a campaign against the other transgressions of the Administration without it looking like they're just criticizing Bush for any little 'ole thing.

So, whadya think? Am I crazy or are Democrats being led down the prim-rose path?

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Crooked Fingers!!!
I had one of the most terrific days of my short time here in New York City. To top it all off, I got to go to a Crooked Fingers concert at the Knitting Factory.

The first time I saw Crooked Fingers (the lead is Eric Bachman, formerly of Archers of Loaf) was at the 40 Watt in Athens, Georgia. I had never heard of them, and I had never been to the 40 Watt. That night I also had my first Michael Stipe sighting. Needless to say, I was completely taken and they have been my favorite band since then.

At tonight's show, guess who came and stood literally right in front of me throughout the whole show? Michael Stipe. He's not as smelly as I had been previously led to believe and he didn't seem nearly as weird either.

Bachman was in rare form. He's much chubbier now, on account of the fact that he has quit smoking, but his voice was the best I've heard it. He sang an amazing "Chumming the Oceans", and played a new song "New Man" that was fucking inspired.
Wow!

Friday, November 14, 2003

THE Florida State University Football Program:

I've been saying it since I was a kid --> being an FSU football fan has taught me a lot about life.

Anyone without their head up their ass knows that the the ride is over at FSU.

Believe it or not, it is not just Chris Rix's fault. Sure, he's a moron and likely crazy (follow that link and decide for yourself -- Yes, he made the website himself. Yes, he posts things. Yes, he put in all those ridiculous photos of himself. Yes, he improperly uses the reflexive "myself" a lot). The problem is largely the coaching staff and the fact that the sycophantic behavior of the FSU alumni.

The coaching staff members (who actually did all the coaching throughout the 90's) are gone -- [Mark Richt and Chuck Amato]. All we have left is nepotism via Jeff Bowden, and 'ole sleepy figurehead via Bobby.

Instead of being critical of the obvious problems with the program, the "Seminole Nation", as they are often called, suppresses criticism. When it became clear, three years ago, that the program was headed in the wrong direction --> I went to FSU's rivals website to post some criticism of the team in an effort to spur change (a fan can dream can't he?). I got banned from the site! Not because of foul language, but because they though I was a Gator fan ("a gator done snuck into out message board fellas").

When Chris Rix got cited for parking in a handicap spots, and then caught again a week later parking in a faculty spot, I posted some much deserved criticism on the www.warchant.com message boards. I got banned again! Why? Because I called my post, "Where would Jesus park?" Apparently that wasn't funny to anyone but me.

So, the program will likely continue to deteriorate, dragging me to the depths of despair along with them. I'm like the guy riding shotgun who can see we're about to run off a cliff, but I can't steer and no one is allowed to criticize "dad" when he's driving.

Anyway, it just seems like being an FSU fan is kind of like being an American sometimes. I'm in the wagon and I'm not allowed to steer (very few of us actually are), plus we're not supposed to criticise "dad" while he's driving ("What are you a communist? Or maybe you're just one of them Frenchies, eh?").


Alabama lawyers stand to collect 14% of 11.9 BILLION

This is a fantastic/facinating article for many reasons:
(1) Notice how the article tries to imply that the jury did something improper by awarding the 11.9 billion.

"the judge prohibited everyone involved in the case from mentioning the state's financial troubles or Exxon Mobil's financial condition. Despite no mention of it, juror L.A. Wallace said Exxon's size and the state's problems were a factor in the decision to award more than the state's attorneys sought against Exxon Mobil. "A billion dollars to them is chump change," said Wallace, who works at a plastics factory. " [how does this statement show that the state's financial problems "were a factor"? -- Simple, it doesn't.]

(2) Notice also how this Exxon's second bite of the apple. They got a previous jury verdict for 3.5 billion overturned on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Can a criminal defendant expect to get a similar reversal of a jury verdict and the grant of a new trial? Hell no, but this is about a big corporation's money, and we all know that corporate balance sheets are more important than the liberty of poor people.

(3) And obviously, note that the lawyers will get 14% of the 11.9 billion. [but of course, this verdict will either be overturned or the judgment drastically reduced by an appellate court (through use of a fun little judicial invention for corporations called "remittitur")

Go read it.
John Muhammad, Sniper Defendant

The case went to the jury, shouldn't be long now (this is a death-certified jury so conviction is a foregone conclusion).

Note that the government used chemist Edward Bender to present part of its case. Bender is on THE LIST. [The NACDL's Ten Most UnWanted Government Forensic Witnesses. Basically, he's scum.

Also, he's been investigated by the FBI for being a punk ass

Yet, none of this was disclosed to the defense. Fair?
BEST BET --> Judge Roy Moore may have been Removed, but he will be the next Governor of the State of Alabama:

I must say I am completely shocked by this. I would never have believed that an ethics violation would operate to oust the chief judge of a state supreme court.

What's really great about this is that Alabama's attorney general Bill Pryor, one of the Bush judicial nominees who have been creating the shit storm in the Senate, completely switched sides mid-fight. I really hate this guy:

"William Pryor Jr., Alabama's attorney general, was the man in the middle. Up until this summer, Mr. Pryor, a conservative, had supported Mr. Moore, speaking at Ten Commandments rallies and assigning lawyers from his office to help with Mr. Moore's legal defense.

But after Mr. Moore began losing his appeals and Mr. Pryor was nominated by President Bush for an appellate judgeship, the attorney general became one of Mr. Moore's most strident critics. He led the prosecution of Mr. Moore, who was accused of six ethical breaches, from failing to comply with the law to bringing "the judicial office into disrepute."

------

I can't say I'll miss Judge Moore (who once asserted that homosexuality is "detestable and an abominable sin" in a child custody case where one of the parents was a homosexual), but I wonder if the "left" isn't going too far on this one again.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (the group that goes around suing rednecks and white supremecists and liquidating their assets) is trying to have Judge Moore disbarred (according to one of their lawyers after yesterday's ruling -- can't find a link on this yet, but stay tuned. Here's there explanation for their actions, thus far, against Judge Moore (there is no mention of their attempt to disbar Moore) To me, that is going too far.


The "Leave No Special Interest Behind Bill"

"The legislation, the first overhaul of national energy policy in a decade, calls for billions of dollars in tax breaks for energy industries and would double the use of corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive, a boon to farm states."

"Democrats have largely been left out of the energy negotiations, although they had some involvement in the tax issues. Domenici said he would give Democrats in the conference 48 hours to review the massive bill before calling a meeting for a formal vote."
White House will show what it knew (after they redact out all of the relevant portions of the document of course).

Note who's oppossing this action by the White House --> 9/11 victim's families!

Read this.
Military Offensive, or just plain offensive?
The highly publicized, recent offensive by the military in Iraq is setting off the old bullshit detector.

"Operation Iron Hammer, was announced Wednesday in Washington shortly after it began. It seemed intended to lift the morale of American soldiers here, who have been the target of frequent hit-and-run attacks, which are difficult to repel."

---snip---

"a large building that American commanders said was a "meeting, planning, storage and rendezvous point" for the insurgents still stood, despite the military's claim that it had been destroyed in an airstrike the night before.

American soldiers came to the neighborhood several hours before the attack, local residents said, warning of the impending strike and making sure that everyone in the area was evacuated.

...

After the strike, the Americans came back but detained no suspects, not even the owner of the building, and found no weapons.

The owner, Waad Dakhil Bolane, who said the Americans had warned his guards of the impending air raid, shook his head in befuddlement.

"Does this look like a military base to you?" he asked, standing inside his factory, which was still filled with textile machinery. "The Americans came here, told the guards to leave and then attacked. I don't understand."

Follow the link to see a great photo of the owner.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Fool Me Once, shame...So, I took this trial practice class while I was in my last year of law school at Georgia. I had to give an opening statement for the prosecution. Well, it was right around the time Bush did this.

I figured it would be hilarious for me to tie this into my opening statements. So, I get up there and give an opening about personal responsibility (in my best deep south country boy accent) and I said, "As you'll hear, this guy has done this sort of thing many, many times before. Now I don't know about ya'll, but where I'm from there's an 'ole saying --- Fool me once, shame on -ah - shame on -- shame on you...." I paused at this part for extra effect (thinking everyone was right there with me on this one), then delivered the puchline.

What happened? Not a smirk, smile, or bemused look among the bunch of 'em. Oh well, at least it wasn't nationally televised.
Tallahassee Gestapo vs. US Veterans
Ahhhh, home sweet home

"Members of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War were yanked off a downtown Tallahassee street, directly in front of the Old Capitol, while marching in the holiday parade they had legitimately registered in."

"Baxter said about 12 of the 30 anti-war members at the parade were walking in line when they were kicked out about 20 minutes into the hourlong event."

"Parade chairman Ken Conroy, a Korean War veteran, said he ejected the anti-war veterans because they were offensive and because Tallahassee police also wanted them removed."

MY BET: I'm going to go to the local Tallahassee newspaper and see if there is anything reported in there about this. I'm willing to bet any amount of money there isn't, or if there is, it is extremely unfair. Be right back.....

We'll, they did mention it (buried at the end of the article entitled "Tallahassee parade celebrates veterans: Significance of 'day off' upheld"). It contains almost none of the same facts as reported by the Jacksonville paper. The local Tallahassee paper says:
"The day was not without a bit of controversy. Two local groups, Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, had entered the parade. But when the groups showed up Tuesday morning, VFW parade marshal Ken Conroy refused to allow them to march."

You see the difference? They weren't "yanked off...while marching" by the Tallahassee Police Department, they were simply not allowed to march from the start because the parade marshall didn't want them to ("when the groups showed up").

Also, the Democrap didn't mention the fact that while the ACTUAL VETERANS were relegated to the sidewalks, some women promoting the Hooters restaurant where they work (=NOT veterans) were permitted to partake.

Can you picture what that must have looked like? Scraggly Vietnam vets with an important message and signs on the side of the road while some bimbo with a tight Hooters shirt and tiny shorts waltzes by.
"As organizers allowed the parade to roll on -- including veterans from various wars, several high school marching bands and even a group of young women from the local Hooters restaurant -- the anti-war veterans were ordered onto sidewalks..."

Disgusting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The alliance of left and right = the tyranny of public opinion

Somewhere in the Federalist Papers (I think #51) it is argued that the major problem with pure democracy is "the tyranny of the majority rule." The Papers claim that the republican form of government best alleviates the tyranny of majority rule by alligning different interest groups who might not always see eye to eye (see ACLU and Bob Barr on CappsII and the Patriot Act).

The real problem is that sometimes this doesn't really work (The Supreme Court takes this fact into account in determining whether a group is a "suspect class" with respect to equal protection violation claims); here is a present example -- The recent acquittal of Robert A. Durst, the New York multimillionaire. This unusual event, an acquittal in a criminal case, (conviction rates are above 90% across the country) seems to have created strange bedfellows. The problem is that there does not appear to be anyone on the other side to alleviate "the tyranny of majority rule."

Everybody is all up in arms about this Durst acquittal in Texas yesterday. Conservatives are against it because (to be read in best country accent) "that dadgum guy killed somebody and chopped 'em up, and the dadgum stupid jury let 'em go!". Meanwhile, liberals are jumping on the train because (to be read in Woody Allen-eque accent) "for God's sake, it happened in Texas; they're crazy over there. It's the home of George W. Bush and that death row with West German-like efficiency). Perhaps both sides are upset because it is an example of a "rich white guy" buying his way out of the criminal justice system. So here we are, both with the same conclusion. "He's guilty; that jury is f'ed up!" Even though nobody making these claims actually watched the trial or heard all the evidence.

I gotta tell you, I'm a little disgusted with the way supposed "liberals" are treating this jury verdict.

I thought we were supposed to be supportive of jury verdicts (especially those resulting in an acquittal)! Aren't we all warm and fuzzy about mistakes, forgiveness, understanding, etc.? That's why we are liberals right?

Don't get me wrong, I love Tom Tommorrow. To be honest, his cartoon and blog got me into this sort of this. But, I think he is wide of the mark here.

My Prediction --> because there is no check on this "public opinion", some sort of legislation or movement will come out of this.


UPDATE: I emailed the genius behind This Modern World, Tom Tomorrow, and told him I "strongly disagreed" with his take on the Durst verdict. He ACTUALLY RESPONDED to my e-mail (I'm reminded of eric poole's comment about being linked to by "The Atrios...I almost feel made". Okay, so its not that big of a deal just to get an email response, but a new blogger can dream can't he?). Anyway, TT said he "...didn't realize I'd
said anything to strongly disagree with there, it just struck me as a
truly weird story."
I'm literally going to be on a high for a few days I think.

If you're going to be in New York this weekend -- do yourself a favor.
Durst's mighty Wurlizter

No, not this one. This one.

Sorry to harp on this Durst thing, but I saw one of his lawyers last night on TV. The attorney didn't completely rehash all evidence or reproduce his closing argument, but he did drop this very catchy phrase: "What happened before the self-defense and accident doesn't change the fact that it was self-defense and accident."

My guess is that the above phrase was their theme. Say it to yourself three times, then make comments below.

Kind of like Fox News saying "Fair and Balanced" at every commercial break, or the Wall Street Journal repeating to claim it "unfair that poor people don't have to pay taxes"; after a while it just becomes common knowledge (public opinion) no matter how untrue it may be.
Sidenote: I watched a Muhammed Ali fight last night on ESPN Classic. Ali v. Blin in Sweeden 1971. Apparently, no US TV station would broadcast the fight (this is 1971, can you guess why they wouldn't?). It was an amazing fight.

After the fight, the ring was rushed by Ali supporters. There was literally no security at all; it was absolutely crazy. People really loved that guy. It was truly inspirational to watch.
To those of you out there who aren't interest in reading court opinions, move along. But, be forewarned, I plan to post opinions that I find ignorant or misguided. This one is no exception.

If you check the link you'll notice that I took the liberty of highlighting certain portions of it.

My, ehem, "favorite" part of the opinion:
"the Appellants' implicit premise that evidentiary rules for the prosecution and the defense must be mirror images is not always valid. The prosecution faces many evidentiary obstacles not imposed on the defense, notably an obligation to present evidence that is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt."

Essentially, the prosecution gets special treatment with respect to the rules of evidence because they have to bear the TERRIBLE/HORRIBLE burden of proof. I'm going to be creating an archive of cases where courts use this logic to deny a defendant relief. If anybody knows of any more please send them my way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Katherine Harris
From the Washington Post, (see bottom of article)
"Quotable
'It's been a little overwhelming. We're getting phone calls from all over the state, ringing off the hook. Everyone is telling me that I'm the only moderate, electable candidate.'
-- First-term Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), telling the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel why she is "seriously" considering a run for the Senate next year."


I'm reminded of an excellent passage from The Catcher in the Rye
(Holden, telling a fat lie to Ernest Morrow's mother, whom he met on the subway)
"Did he tell you about the elections?" I asked her. "The class elections?" She shook her head. I had her in a trance, like. I really did.
"Well, a bunch of us wanted old Ernie to be president of the class. I mean he was the unanimous choice. I mean he was the only boy that could really handle the job."


Ultimate Test
You're either with us, or with the terrorists. Take the test here and find out which side you're on! (if you fail, of course, you will be arrested promptly)

Bill O'Reilly clearly realizes just how much power his show has. Do you?

I saw this woman's lawyer [Ra'Shadd] on his show last night and Bill O'Reilly pretty much promised to fix the problem for her. Mind you --> this was LAST NIGHT!!!

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight. An Army medic refuses to return to duty in Iraq because of her children. Specialist Simone Holcomb (search) is an Army medic married to an Army sergeant. They have seven children and are involved in a custody battle over two of those kids. Holcomb was ordered back to Iraq, but said she will not go because she fears losing the custody suit.

The Army says she's now AWOL and they will prosecute. Joining us now from Washington is the Giorgio Ra'shadd, the attorney representing Specialist Holcomb.


---snip---

O'REILLY: So there's way to do this. And I'm pretty confident you can work it out.

RA'SHADD: Well, that's my intention. And I believe also that's the intention of the Colorado National Guard. But in this instance, apparently the Army had been trying to resolve this, too, but there was a fundamental disconnect between the work of the Colorado National Guard, the Army, and this commander in the field.

O'REILLY: All right, forget about the Colorado National Guard for a moment. The Army told you today, and correct me if I'm wrong, to come back with more a detailed request for compassionate reassignment. Isn't that correct?

RA'SHADD: That's correct.

O'REILLY: All right, you got it, then, counselor.

RA'SHADD: I did.

O'REILLY: They're going to give it to you, particularly after this exposition on The Factor tonight. So you check in with us. Let us know what happened. That's the fair thing. Let the woman have a compassionate discharge. Work it out with the children. The children should come first in this thing. All right?


10 Years for (possibly) Reckless Driving (even if you're a bigshot)!
At least it looks as though the judge has already given the defense their first victories here

He's looking at 10 years. 10 years for a CAR ACCIDENT!
Democratic Candidate Debates used for Advertising?
No surprise. The debates aren't really all that different from the Bush pressconferences.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Justice for all (even Arabs)?
Finally, some interesting criminal law developments The Supremes are actually going to take a look at the deplorable situation in Guantanamo Bay.

C'mon Supreme Court, make me proud to be an American.
Something for the Dem's
How's this for a winning debate strategy?

"I'm just going to ask you two questions: (1) 'Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?'; and (2) 'Do you honestly believe that this country is headed in the right direction'

If the answer to the first question is yes then you weren't going to vote for me anyway, you're in the top 1% and you've already donated the maximum amount of soft money to George Bush. If the answer to either question is no, then vote for me [Howard Dean].

We can always trust the GOP to distort facts
"Republicans contend that this is the first time in the nation's history that filibusters have been used to block votes on federal court nominees. "It can't be tolerated. It won't be tolerated," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). " Go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14075-2003Nov7.html to read the rest of this propaganda.

By the way, this is a flat out lie

When in fact:
"At the Supreme Court level, a few prominent filibusters have failed, but one was successful. Abe Fortas, nominated by President Lyndon Johnson to head the Supreme Court, was defeated by a Republican filibuster in 1968 because of his activist stand on civil rights issues. After his supporters failed to win a cloture vote, Fortas's nomination was withdrawn."


War is absolute Hell. Justification is key.Wow. Just in case you needed a reminder of why this whole WMD thing should remain a big deal.
This is really terrible.

Has anyone seen anything with this article's flavor anywhere in the past 6 months?


Dean should not have apologized for confederate flag remarks
True that

But, I will say that I saw Dean's "apology" and it really wasn't much of one (he said he was sorry for the pain his remarks might have brought -- fairly Clinton-esque).




Friday, November 07, 2003

The American people have always known that Bush didn't know enough, on his own, to make informed decisions. But, they have always been lead to believe (or have wanted to believe) that at least the people around him are capable of telling him what to do.

If I ran the Democratic party (or any party wanting to win the 2004 presidential election), I would toss ridicule toward, not Bush himself, but those around him. Attack the cabinet members to win in 2004.

If the California recall elections taught anything (In case you had not already learned it in the 2000 presidential elections), it likely taught that the candidate himelf needn't be thought of as intelligent, creative, caring, or careful. He only need be surrounded by what is seen as a "capable cabinet." The capable cabinet is the foundation, the legs, upon which the figurehead stands.

Think of Karate Kid, "Sweep the legs!"

When you think about it, nominating a moron really is a great strategy because he is then immune to criticism (no one expected anything from him anyway). The only way to criticism these moron leaders is by criticising their supporting cast. As has been shown over the past year or so, the individual cabinet members are vulnerable to criticism (while everything tossed directly at Bush seems to bounce off because, again, he's a moron and it isn't nice to insult morons). Any political opponent of Bush should be chomping at the bit right now because the "capable cabinet" whom the American people elected (by a negative minority) has shown itself to be nothing of the sort.

Machiavelli claimed that the best Prince is the one who is intelligent enough to make the decisions for himself, but the next best Prince is the one who surrounds himself with competent advisors and then chooses the best suggestion. The worst Prince, is the one who is not intelligent and who either does not surround himself with intelligent advisors, or is incapable of properly choosing between their (occasionally) conflicting advice.

The American people have never had any delusions that Bush is in the first category, but they have believed (until recently) that he might be in the second.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Am I still a liberal?
I've got to be honest with you. It's as though the lefty guys (with the blogs I feel like I grew up on), are turning into the guys I hate. Atrios is way off base here, he says:

"Given the specific wording of the "partial abortion" ban, apparently it only forbids abortions in which there is a partial vaginal delivery of the fetus. If the law stays on the books, which fortunately is unlikely, I imagine we can look forward to much less safe C-section abortions taking its place."

Well, okay let us take a look at the wording of the actual statute:
"The Congress finds and declares the following:
(1) A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion--an abortion in which a physician delivers an unborn child's body until only the head remains inside the womb, punctures the back of the child's skull with a sharp instrument, and sucks the child's brains out before completing delivery of the dead infant--is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.
(2) Rather than being an abortion procedure that is embraced by the medical community, particularly among physicians who routinely perform other abortion procedures, partial-birth abortion remains a disfavored procedure that is not only unnecessary to preserve the health of the mother, but in fact poses serious risks to the long-term health of women and in some circumstances, their lives. As a result, at least 27 States banned the procedure as did the United States Congress which voted to ban the procedure during the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses.

In P 3 the statute goes on to cite a United States Supreme Court case as authority. So, what does this act really do? How will it be interpreted by judges in this country? What are we afraid of here?

Anyone?
Right Winger Debating Dictionary
My personal favorite is "Why do you hate America?" (Note: for rightists, look under "W")


This one goes in the No Shit? collumn.
I was recently privy to a conversation with a former big shot at the the Department of Justice (David S. Kris, former Director, Executive Office for National Security, United States Department of Justice). We were discussing FISA warrants (under 50 U.S.C. 1801). For those of you who don't know, FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. It basically allows for extraordinary law enforcement surveillance power.

For some time, Mr. Kris' job was waking the attorney general in the middle of the night in order to get clearance for the issuance of these special "FISA" warrants. Well, according to Mr. Kris, upon the first awakening of the new attorney general John Ashcroft, Mr. Ashcroft asked "FISA?, is this the thing that gets taken out of my paycheck every month?"

So, not only is Ashcroft a zealot, he is also an uninformed idiot. (for confirmation of this fact see my link entitled "Ashcroft is crazy" at right).

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

A prediction
Saddam is behind the recent spate of attacks huh ? The soon to be spin from the Bush administration (and your local participating media outlet) --> we need to support the president/the troops/our Iraq policy because the enemy has yet to be vanquished. You see, if he's not yet down, we all need to go back to the way we were during the conflict; no criticism. Oh yeah, and keep pouring money into the coffers of Republican party corporate sponsors.
Just in case anyone is interested, the "public opinions = private laziness" thing is Nietzsche's, not mine. [See, Human, All-Too-Human at (482); "And to say it once more. Public opinions -- private lazinesses."]
Some goals at the outset
Fair game for attack here: any current or new laws passed to make white people feel safer; anything John Ashcroft does; gutless court opinions by gutless judges; Any form of social control and manipulation; the current system of governance; any free-floating hypocrisy currently engulfing society (I hate using generic terms like "society" but it is necessary here); and especially, PROSECUTORS.

The blog will hopefully remain free of hypocrisy, and it will definitely be free of any semblance of political correctness. Neither "side" is safe. The rants here will remain outside the party lines.

This blog is a true public forum (in the legal sense); free speech reigns.

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