"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Almost as good as Tapeheads
Shorter, much less sarcastic address by Tim Robbins to the National Association of Broadcasters:
"You've repeatedly shit the bed over last few years and I'm going to rub your noses in it. Then I'll explain how to get the stains out."

Almost as sarcastic as this:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some more rockin' weekend entertainment
The music of my youth - all Canadian edition

Ah the days of yore, when we could sit around on a Friday night in someone's basement, smoking Players Extra Lights, drinking Ex, planning bush parties and wondering what Erica Ehm looked like naked...

"Like actors who play Jesus in a movie of the week"

Mullet fever!!

"can't write songs about girls anymore, I have to write songs about women"

Club owner slain!
Police baffled in search for suspects

(Yeah, I mess around in Second Life, hanging out with the General and his crew among other places - this is the latest dramatic turn of events.)

(Assorted Press) Thurssday April 17 -- Early this morning the body of club owner freereed Freenote was found dead in Birdland, in the Moondust sim. Although there were no signs of a struggle first responders on the scene said the cause of Ms. Freenote’s death is being ruled “foul play.”

Second Life Police questioned a despondent Wellington Bahram, last to see Ms. Freenote alive. “I don’t understand it,” said Mr. Bahram, a photographer with Metaverse Messenger. “She was fine when I last saw her. She said she had had a long day and was very tired. She lay down to sleep and I sat up with her. I thought she looked fine.” According to his statement Mr. Bahram left the sleeping Freenote around nine o’clock SL time.

Medical Examiner Thomas Noguchi said it appears Ms. Freenote died from asphyxia somewhere between the hours of 10PM and 2AM SL time. “It appears,” said Dr. Noguchi, “that Ms. Freenote was suffocated in her sleep. She was in good health before the time of her slaying and death by overdose of prescription drugs has been ruled out”. Police were also quick to add that Mr. Bahram is not being considered a suspect. At the time of discovery, Mr. Bahram would not leave the body of his dead friend.

Police have interviewed dj Speelo Snook, musician Tone Uriza, and artist Filthy Fluno all of whom had extensive conversations with Ms. Freenote on her last day of Second Life. Mr. Snook said, “I can’t begin to say what a loss this is to the music community of Second Life. Free loved music more than anything, especially jazz music. She built Birdland a as tribute to the jazz musicians she loved the most: Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. It just won’t be the same without her. I can tell you one thing though, Free said to me last week that if anything ever happened to her she wanted a Dixieland funeral, and we aim to see that she gets one.”

Musician Tone Uriza said, “On the day she died we were arranging for a gig at Moondust Lounge, just across the street from Birdland. I know she would never have skipped out on a deal like this. She lived for music.”

Artist Filthy Fluno said, “Free is also the owner of the Newggenheim Museum. We were over an hour in conversation on Wednesday making arrangements for my one man retrospective show over there. I can repeat what Speelo and others have said, when Free was behind you, she was there 100%. She would move mountains to help and promote the artist, regardless of personal cost. I cannot imagine what kind of sick bastard did this.. she hadn’t an enemy in the world.”

Revpaperboy Boozehound, a partner with Ms. Freenote in the Moondust clubs, said that he was in conference with the other residents and musicians of Moondust and will release a statement to the press later this week. As to his plans to keep the clubs open he said, “We are all in shock right now. We can’t understand who would do this.. She lived for the music and it is our aim to keep music alive here at Moondust.”

Police have interviewed more than 50 people who saw Ms. Freenote on Tuesday. According to witnesses she had expressed great frustration with the U.S. health care insurance system, her unbridled rage at the cost of the war on Iraq, and a longing to return to Ireland where she had been living the last. fifteen years. Anyone who has any information leading to the capture and arrest of Ms. Freenote’s killer or killers please report to Officer RobboDobbo Kawashima with the Second Life Police.

What this space in the coming days for more information.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A very Canadian genocide
Take a look at this horrific story on StageLeft about mass graves being found on the sites of residential schools and ask yourself why this isn't on the front page of every newspaper in the country right now. Ask yourself why the story of this tragedy isn't taught in every classroom in the country. Ask yourself why there isn't a national day of shame, ask yourself why a massively disproportionate number of First Nations People continue to live in abject poverty and squalor? I hope the answer you come up with isn't as depressing as the one I get.

Where's Turd Blossom?

coming soon to a campaign stop near you!

With apologies to H.P. Lovecraft and Gary Larson and a grateful tip of the hat to the Raincoaster, from whom I swiped these.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Openness and accountability
for thee, but not for me

From Canadian Press via the Mop & Pail:

Prisoner probe to continue despite government efforts to stop it
April 14, 2008 at 6:40 PM EDT
OTTAWA — The head of the Military Police Complaints Commission vowed Monday to continue looking into Canada's handling of prisoners in Afghanistan, despite a legal effort by the government to kill the investigation.
Chairman Peter Tinsley said he's “surprised and disappointed” the federal Conservative government has decided to go to court seeking a judicial review.
Justice Department lawyers filed an application with Federal Court on Friday, arguing the independent commission doesn't have the jurisdiction to either investigate or hold a hearing into the handling of prisoners.
“It's especially surprising given the fact that the government did not challenge our jurisdiction a year ago when we first launched our investigation,” Mr. Tinsley said.

Read the whole thing. Just what is it the government is so afraid will come out?
Alison has a more comprehensive post on Afghanistan up over at the Beaver

Legal, schmegal -- he's the deciderer

Being a bit behind in my podcast listening, I just heard about this story from last year on the March 28 episode of This American Life (episode 353), which dealt with the lawyerly style of the Bush administration - and when I say "lawyerly" I mean it in the sense of the Ambrose Bierce definition of a lawyer as "one skilled in circumventing the law."

Apparently, the libertarian bible-college law school dimwits in the Justice Department have decided that a century of precedents and the actual language of the Constitution and an international treaty aren't going to stop them from doing whatever they want, especially when it comes to anyone trying to challenge the will of the White House. More on case here.

The short version of events is as follows:

The International Boundary Commission was established nearly 100 years ago by a treaty between Canada and the United States as an international independent body to resolve border disputes between the two countries and to establish exactly where the border is. The U.S. Constitution says that treaties ratified by the Senate are the supreme law of the land. The IBC notified a couple in Washington State that the concrete wall they put up along the back of their yard encroached on the ten-foot border buffer where no construction is allowed and that the IBC could tear down the wall and send them the bill if they didn't remove it forthwith. The couple sued the IBC which, not having much of a budget, approached the U.S. Justice Department for advice. Justice told them they could not help them as they were an international body, not part of the U.S. government.

Then things get interesting. The Pacific Legal Foundation takes up the couple's case and suddenly the Justice Department is all over it. They insist that the IBC hand the whole thing over to them, that the IBC is not an independent international body, but an arm of the U.S. government. When the U.S. commissioner refuses to play ball, he is fired, despite the fact that International Treaty Commissioners like Supreme Court Justices, International Trade Commissioners or the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, can be appointed by the President to fill vacancies, but cannot be fired. The idea is to take politics out of the position to the extent possible. By putting such appointees beyond the reach of those that appointed them, they are thought to be immune to political pressure and further patronage and therefore able to act with greater impartiality to do the job they were appointed to do.

How did it work out? Well apparently some judges also think the president can do whatever he wants (see also this story). Canada has said nothing about the dispute, at least nothing public.

"So what?" you ask. "What's the big deal?"

Well, the big deal is that this is a classic example of the White House's power grab. In the past, it has taken the form of things like signing statements, unilateral reinterpretation of treaties (like the quaint Geneva Conventions) and withdrawal from treaties (like the ABM treaty) by presidential whim.

Remember when and where Dick Cheney comes from. He still doesn't think Nixon did anything wrong and was just sandbagged by a couple of smart-ass liberal journalists. He is all about centralizing power in the executive branch. And once that power becomes centralized, it isn't going to be decentralized anytime soon. Conservatives and Republicans and assorted Bush fans may think this is a wonderful thing that their president can do whatever he wants, but how would the same people feel about President Hilary Clinton or President Ted Kennedy or President Chelsea Clinton have the sort of monarchical powers that Dubya is claiming. What if President Obama suddenly declares by executive prerogative that he is replacing the members of the electoral commission or by his order black helicopters full of UN troops will be landing across the country to confiscate all privately owned handguns -- how do you like the doctrine of Unitary Executive now?