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  • Wednesday, December 28, 2005


    I pick Yoo

    There is some ancient business advice about picking an accountant which suggests that you should keep asking prospective applicants how much two plus two equals until you get the response: "How much do you want it to be?".

    Then you have your man.

    I was reminded of this by Digby's post on John Yoo who rose from mid-level paperpusher to George Bush's Calvinball/WOT Game Master.

    posted by tbogg at 2:54 PM

    Tuesday, December 27, 2005



    Sick as a dog. Posted by Picasa

    Not Beckham.


    Everybody at work has had that sniffling, sneezing, coughing, impeach George Bush, aching, stuffy-head, Worst. President. Ever, scratchy-throat thing...and now I have it.

    I'm going to bed with the dogs and a good book.

    By the way, the girls are gone again. This time to LA until Friday.

    I just know that a waiver from Girls Gone Wild: Christmas Break is going to show up on the fax machine any moment now...

    posted by tbogg at 10:04 PM


    Stone the bitch and then go out for beers.
    -Works for me.

    And it stoned me... Posted by Picasa

    Maggie "Payola" Gallagher links somewhat approvingly to a story where a woman who was having an affair wasn't sufficently punished:

    Who Owes Faithfulness?/Maggie Gallagher

    Lynne's post reminded me of another key part of marriage norms that we are in danger of losing: not only do married people owe each other a duty of sexual fidelity, but other people also owe "fidelity" to the couple.

    In a marriage culture, people understand: You have an obligation not only to be faithful to your own wife, but also (whether married or single) not to have sex with anyone else's wife. (ditto: husband).

    In privatized, contractual schemes of marriage, this element gets lost or downgraded. (If adultery is wrong only because it violates a private understanding of two people, then that's their business, not any one else's.)

    A judge in New YOrk, in the middle of quite properly punishing a man for killing a friend who had become involved with his wife, was apparently operating on this deep understanding: "Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman noted that Elio Cruz 'made this selfish, emotional decision to punish Mr. [German] [Dionisio Cabrera], when, in fact, it was his wife doing bad things.'"

    DAREH GREGORIAN. New York Post. New York, N.Y.: Dec 14, 2005. pg. 017

    A man who gunned down his cheating wife's lover in a Chelsea subway station was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison yesterday - as the judge suggested the hubby retaliated against the wrong person. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman noted that Elio Cruz "made this selfish, emotional decision to punish Mr. [German] Cabrera, when, in fact, it was his wife doing bad things."

    "She is the one who was unfaithful," Berkman said.

    Cruz, 34, a room-service waiter, was convicted last month of killing the brash rival for wife Belkys Pena's affections in February 2004.

    The judge noted that even before the shooting, Cruz would vent his anger over the affair at Cabrera instead of his wife - and Cabrera would just goad him on.

    Prosecutor Peter Casolaro had asked the judge to sentence Cruz to the maximum of 25 years to life, but Berkman refused, noting he had no criminal record and "was on some level provoked."

    Still, Berkman said, the goading aside, she didn't understand why Cruz made Cabrera the target of his anger.

    "I suppose one might add salt to the wounds of the victim's family by saying, 'Gee, he wasn't perfect.' He was a young man, and he acted like young people sometimes do," Berkman said, wondering why Cruz "addressed the victim rather than his wife."

    Well actually it was both his wife and the friend who was (as Ms. Gallagher might put it) "boning her" that were doing bad things, but Maggie gets some sort of visceral thrill about harlots being taken to the rhetorical woodshed for being total ho's (not that Mags herself doesn't have a spot on her virginal rapsheet). Nonetheless I think that is beside the point. Somehow I get the feeling that Maggie posted this article as a warning to her husband, as if he hasn't already been punished enough... being married to Maggie Gallagher.

    posted by tbogg at 9:35 PM

    Monday, December 26, 2005


    Little Green Lords of the Flies

    Unsupervised children with sharp sticks. Posted by Picasa


    Civilized people were appalled, disgusted, and sobered by the vicious execution of Daniel Pearl, and the beheadings that followed. But many of the warbloggers are not civilized people. It is clear that despite their sincere protestations of horror, rage, and pity, the execution of Daniel Pearl aroused them on some primitive, subconscious level. They got off on it. It functioned as death porn to their seething, frustrated psyches. (Frustrated, because the war in Iraq simply hasn't gone the way they thought it would or should. They have been denied the glorious clearcut victory they craved.) The beheading ritual tapped into their sadistic impulses, and excited their own fantasies of torturing their foes. When rightwing bloggers and posters conjure that under Islam, Democrats--which they've come to call dhimmicrats--will get what's coming to them (i.e., the business end of a butcher's blade), it's as if it's a horrible fate that couldn't possibly happen to them*--because it's a death wish directed outward. The Islamic terrorists serve as proxies and stand-ins in this imaginary theater of cruelty, enacting what they (the warbloggers) would like to mete out to us (their domestic adversaries). Sometimes the punishment they seek is more Jacobean, as when Michael Fumento greeted Cindy Sheehan's threat to tie herself to the fence in Crawford, Texas to protest the 2000th military death in Iraq with the sentiment, Good, let her lash herself to the fence: "Leave her there and maybe the crows will do the world a favor and eat her tongue out."

    It's no accident that it is the rightwing bloggers and pundits who have been avid about defending the use of torture against suspected terrorists. Nor is it an accident that many of them pooh-poohed Abu Ghraib, sluffing it off as no more harmless than fraternity hazing. But what their decapitation odes reveal is that what they'd really like to do is permit torture closer to home. Domesticate it. Trivialize it. Completely destigmatize it as a tool of the state.

    Jane has a post up today about the tools over at Pajamas Media and how these guys (in particular, Charles Johnson, Roger L Simon, and to a lesser degree, Glenn Reynolds) landed some VC bucks for their little business model based on pissing down a few dollars (it's the new 'trickle down') to their merry band of goobers, shut-ins, and wannabes. One has to wonder how much these three are pulling down, although it's pretty obvious it's not enough for any of them to stop going to Fantastic Sams. Meanwhile their affiliates are probably looking at their PJM stipend and wondering whether they should save it for their kids college fund or blow it on a Cheetos Big Grab.

    But what really gets me is the swill that you find on the major anchors like LGF, that Wolcott describes above, and how PJM advertisers like Victoria's Secret and Circuit City feel about having their ads placed on StormFront Lite and its lessers...unless of course Victoria's Secret is getting ready to launch their Illsa, SheWolf line and Circuit City is having a sale on nipple clamps and car batteries, in which case it all makes sense.

    Maybe someone should ask them.

    posted by tbogg at 10:30 PM


    Which Hunt

    She turned me into a newt... Posted by Picasa

    Powerline now:

    Normally, it's front page news when Colin Powell, or someone who knows Powell, criticizes any aspect of Bush administration policy. But I didn't see anything on the Post's front page (or anywhere in its news section) about Powell's support for Bush's policy with respect to electronic intercepts of terrorist communications. Powell told ABC's This Week that "I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions. . . .He was trying to protect the nation. And we have done things like this in the past."


    UPDATE by JOHN: Michelle Malkin has much more on the Times' latest leak. It sounds to me as though the data-mining project that is the subject of today's story is something quite different from the much more limited surveillance that was described in the Times' original stories. Both, I think, are good ideas. The data mining project is reminiscent of Able Danger, and it sounds exactly like the Echelon program that briefly stirred controversy during the Clinton administration. I think the NSA intercepts that are the subject of today's article have been going on for years, if not decades.


    Undoubtedly NSA vacuums up enormous amounts of communications traffic outside the US in a fairly indiscriminate manner and then analyzes it with powerful software (think Able Danger) for relevance and for more directed targeting. By targeting those non-USPER operatives NSA may learn the identities of al Qaeda operatives within the US. Those operatives within the US may or may not be USPERS--citizens or resident aliens who acquired their status without fraud (for example, not by lying about their hostile intent toward the US) qualify, but no other categories of persons within the US qualify.

    If the operatives that are discovered within the US turn out to be non-USPERS, then NSA can continue surveilling them when they communicate with persons outside the US. If, by further investigation, it is determined that the surveillance has identified USPERS within the US and that it is desirable to "intentionally" target those USPERS within the US, then of course FISA comes into play--usually through or at the instigation of the FBI, our primary Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence agency. It seems to me that something like this would be the overwhelmingly most likely scenario, and that the authors of FISA recognized and allowed for this type of situation--while not necessarily foreseeing the specific circumstances of the GWOT.


    PAUL adds: This is an excellent analysis of 50 U.S.C. 1801(f)(1). If the activity at issue constitutes surveillance under FISA, it more plausibly does so under section (f)(2), which encompasses

    the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire communication to or from a person in the United States, without the consent of any party thereto, if such acquisition occurs in the United States. . . .

    But the NSA intercepts avoid this prong to the extent that the acquisition of the wire communication can be said to occur outside the U.S.


    I'm still trying to reach firm conclusions on the legal issues surrounding President Bush's decision to have the NSA conduct, without court approval, electronic surveillance of communications between foreign terrorists and Americans (who might also be terrorists). I've reached the firm conclusion that the Fourth Amendment does not blanketly prohibit search searches. As John has noted, the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches, which is not the same thing as searches without warrants. There are clear exceptions to the search requirement. For example, as Bill Otis notes, "exigent circumstances" will justify searching without a warrant in ordinary criminal investigations. So it can certainly justify such searches, under certain factual circumstances, when it comes to figuring out how al Qaeda plans to attack this country.

    It also seems clear that the president has the inherent authority to authorize warrantless searches where necessary to protect this country from foreign enemies. This appears to have been the holding of every court of appeals that has considered the question. I haven't seen any contrary authority.

    Power Line then:

    JOHN adds: I enjoyed the film for its excellent jazz music, its lovely black and white aesthetic, and its portrayal of 50s vices. (At one point I wondered whether the audience was supposed to be aware of a certain parallel between Murrow's smoking himself to death and McCarthy's drinking himself to death.) And to its credit, the film does briefly acknowedge the existence of actual Communists in the federal government, specifically Alger Hiss. On the whole, though, the movie's perspective was too cartoonish to be very informative, or to generate much sense of conflict.

    One of the things I can't figure out is how the McCarthy story is supposed to have anything to do with today's issues. George Clooney clearly thinks that it does, and there are a couple of portentous moments in the film that indicate that we are supposed to draw some kind of a parallel. But what is it? The closest potential parallel would be if there were a "witch hunt" for suspected Islamic terror supporters going on. For better or worse, however, there isn't. Maybe the parallel is supposed to relate to the abuse of Congressional committees. But who has been unfairly hauled in front of a committee in recent years? The closest "witch hunt" analogies I can think of are Ronnie Earle's persecution of Tom DeLay and other Republicans, and the special prosecutor's hauling of Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and many others before a grand jury to investigate the Plame pseudo-story.

    But somehow I doubt those are the parallels Clooney had in mind.
    (my emphasis)

    posted by tbogg at 9:15 PM


    Shorter Mark Steyn

    Fear of A Black Planet is both a recording and an effective pick-up line at Christian Singles Night.

    posted by tbogg at 12:05 AM

    Sunday, December 25, 2005


    They call them "Dittoheads" because Sean Hannity's posse already had dibs on "Toostupidtoliveheads"

    Rush's kids Posted by Picasa

    Now that the War on Christmas has been declared a quagmire and stored in the attic for another year we turn to theYellow Elephant front, where we see that they are taking the fight (that would be the whining sniveling "I got bad grades" fight as opposed to the "bang bang...I'm hit! Medic!" fight) to the college campuses with a story here in the NY Times and this one from Faux News with this priceless quote:

    "This is where reform should happen: on the local levels, on the state levels," said Flickinger, whose ire is mostly directed at what he says is liberal bias in the classroom. He said a "quiet rebellion" is occurring among students who Flickinger calls "(Rush) Limbaugh babies" � students were brought up in households where the popular conservative talk radio host could be heard. "They have developed critical thinking skills and don't take at face value what the left is saying."

    They are so cute when they try to frame an argument...

    posted by tbogg at 11:10 PM


    Jesus of Manzanar

    Michelle Malkin celebrates the birth of the Christ child.

    ...and if that swarthy Lord of the so-called "religion of peace" happens to enter our borders she wants him secretly surveilled and possibly interned, him being a Middle Easterner with his phony claims of being be "persecuted" and all.

    posted by tbogg at 9:43 PM


    Something About Roy

    There is a reason that some of us feel that Roy Edroso is one of the best writers, not only only the blogs, but on the internets.

    This is why.

    posted by tbogg at 4:59 PM


    Meme me

    With four you get eggroll Posted by Picasa

    Accepting the challenge from Tom Tomorrow (Defender of Democracy™), nine sets of four:

    Four jobs you�ve had in your life: Roofer, travel agent, running-shoe store owner, merchandise manager for a menopause catalog (hah! beat that one)

    Four movies you could watch over and over: Chinatown, The Godfather, Babette's Feast, Annie Hall.

    Four places you�ve lived
    : Pacific Beach Dr (twice), Law St, Hornblend St, Felspar St. Let's face it, I have never lived more than five miles from where I live now.

    Four TV shows you love to watch: Law & Order SVU, Desperate Housewives, Sabado Gigante (I have no idea what they are saying but Don Francisco is the shits), the late great Action, sample quotes here.

    Four places you�ve been on vacation: Maui, Cancun, Nanaimo, White Horse (Yukon).

    Four websites you visit daily
    : Eschaton, Roger Ailes, Firedoglake, First Draft (those are just a few of the blogs)

    Four of your favorite foods: Fried chicken, hot & sour soup, dark chocolate nonpareils, calamari.

    Four places you�d rather be
    : Barcelona, Ensenada, San Francisco, on a boat far from land .

    Four albums you can�t live without: The Stone Roses (eponymous CD), Aimee Mann - Whatever, Cassandra Wilson - New Moon Daughter, Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny - Beyond the Missouri Sky

    ...and so we pass the baton to: Roger Ailes the Good and Not A Prick.

    posted by tbogg at 3:11 PM


    There goes our shot at Parents of the Year

    The girls are back in town Posted by Picasa

    Not to sound too maudlin, but the best part of my Christmas is having the girls back. Now I have to have a talk with my wife about keeping my daughter out of bars.

    The fact that she looks older than sixteen is no excuse...

    posted by tbogg at 2:56 PM

    Saturday, December 24, 2005


    Christmas Eve Basset Blogging

    See the good dogs?. Posted by Picasa

    Obviously the above bassets are not Satchmo & Beckham. You can tell because they are behaving. Instead we present Beverly & Fred owned by Gene Lyons (that would be this Gene Lyons) of whom I'm a big fan and someone that I share basset stories and questions with infrequently.

    I imagine that while Gene's dogs were sitting patiently having their picture taken with Santa, my dogs were probably doing this:

    Feral bassets. Posted by Picasa

    Not a creature was stirring, my butt.

    posted by tbogg at 8:04 PM


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