Saturday, July 22, 2006

Good News in Wiregate Trial

The federal judge in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against AT&T has ruled that, despite the government's national security arguments, the case will go forward in open court.

My apologies for not being more active the last week or two; between a Constitutional Law final and planning a move, things here have been hectic. Things should be back to normal soon.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Conservatives Against Totalitarianism

I found a good article on conservatives who oppose the authoritarian lawlessness of the Bush administration. This is an interview with Bruce Fein, a constitutional scholar and conservative activist who believes that Bush's disregard of the law is not a partisan issue. Kudos to Mr. Fein.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Another Terrorist Plot Uncovered

So apparently we've foiled another terrorist plot. This one may or may not be more credible than last month's Chicago Crazies arrests. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democrat, has praised intelligence gathering efforts for this capture, and this makes me nervous. Without weighing in on the merits, I'd like to point out that for four years following September 11, we never heard a peep. Not one story of a foiled terrorist plot, no names, no locations, nothing. Now, when Bush's domestic spying program has been revealed to the American people, we've gotten two highly publicized terror arrests in as many months, complete with specific plans, details on the method of infiltration and capture, the whole nine yards. The first one was pretty obviously trumped up, and I'm willing to bet this one won't turn out to be much more credible. We shall see; more as it develops.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bits and Pieces

The seven men arrested for plans to blow up Sears Tower were carefully cajoled into adding targets to their list and allying themselves with Al Qaeda. Entrapment, anyone? Full story here.

Also, Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, famous for calling the Iraq war illegal and refusing to go, was charged yesterday with conduct unbecoming an officer, failure to follow a direct order, and badmouthing the President. HEIL!

A speech that was never given was used in a Supreme Court brief for Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as evidence of legislative intent. Very 1984.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

An Excellent Point

Regarding flag desecration:

"[T]he best way to fight this amendment is to undermine it from the word Go, to prove (without having to be incarcerated) how stupid and pointless this thing would be. So right here and now I promise: the day the 38th state legislature passes this amendment into law, I go into business for myself. Making what? Flags, of course.

What kind of flags? Well, I'll tell you. The flag I have in mind has 13 stripes, alternating red and white. In the top left hand corner, I figure I'd put a blue rectangle, and fill it with white, five-pointed stars, in alternating rows of five and six, numbering, oh, about 50 or so. But where that last star would go, maybe I'd put a circle instead, or a square, or a pentagon, seeing that's it's five sided and all. It'd be 99% the Flag of United States of America, and 1% filler.

It would look like that American flag, it would feel like an American flag, and if I ran it up a flagpole, someone would probably salute it like an American flag. And why not? It's close enough in form and content to evoke all the responses that the American flag would. I'd bet you that even from a close distance, most folks would swear that's what it is. But it's not. What to call it? Something catchy, like "Not The Flag of the United States," "United States Flag Substitute," or, my personal favorite, "I Can't Believe It's Not the American Flag!"

What could I do with my new flag? Why, just about anything I wanted:
Bob: Say, John, what are you doing over there?
Me: Well, Bob, I'm thinking of roasting this here entire pig on the hibachi! But first I must stoke the cooking fire!
Bob: Say, John, isn't that the Constitutionally-protected American flag that you are laying over those red hot charcoal briquettes?
Me: It sure looks that way, doesn't it? But see that tiny white dot over there?
Bob (squinting): Why yes I do! It's so small!
Me: Thanks to that trivial detail, this is Not The Flag of the United States! And I can burn it at will!
Bob: Hey, that's great! Could I use your United States Flag Substitute? I've got a heap of leaves in the back yard I need to take care of!
Me: Sure, Bob! It makes great kindling!

I could wear it, wax my car, swaddle small, incontinent children, potty-train my turtle, towel off after mud wrestling, turn it into a hammock, use it as bandages in a emergency situation or just shred it into fibers with a weed-whacker. Whatever I wanted. God forbid I would want to burn something in political protest, I could set it aflame outside the steps of the United States House of Representatives."

I'd buy them. Read the whole thing here.

LULAC v. Perry

I ran across a good article on the Texas re-districting case. For those who missed it, former House majority leader and all-around asshole Tom DeLay gerrymandered the voting districts in Texas back in 2003, resulting in 6 House Democrats losing their seats to Republicans. A bunch of people sued, and the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld all but one of the changes because the complaints were almost entirely based on racial divisions. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the court's opinion, was very wary of claims that simple racial division was enough to constitute unfair districting practices and focused instead on the socio-economic status of the voters. Although the redistricting was unquestionably a corrupt political move and I think DeLay should be imprisoned for what he did, this ruling looks like a step in the right direction for real equality. More once I've read the case.