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:
"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Almost as good as Tapeheads
Friday, April 18, 2008
"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.”
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.”
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.
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
THE CANADIAN PRESS
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?