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Monday, June 28, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Hard sometimes to get up the motivation to (drag out the black laptop and) do this log-writing thing. Maybe I ought to finally do a server-based CMS for the log, like I keep talking about; then I could do it from whatever computer happened to be around. On the other hand I don't like the idea of the Master Copy of the site being out in "England" somewhere; so I'd have to have something that would synch the CMS content down to the local hard drive next time I happened to get around to it.

And that'd all be work.

So we're no longer occupying Iraq, and a documentary was the top-grossing film of the week (or weekend or something), and Britney's engaged again. Whoa. Also we're being governed by idiots:

Sen Levin: Are you aware of the fact that the subsequent indictments superceded the one that you cite? Are you aware of that fact?

Wolfowitz: Senator I am not a lawyer I don't know what supercede means...

Levin (Interrupting): ... modified, eliminated, reduced, took the place of, got rid of...

And you've heard of this one, but it's too juicy to resist: Cheney Dismisses Critic With Obscenity:

On Tuesday, Cheney, serving in his role as president of the Senate, appeared in the chamber for a photo session. A chance meeting with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, became an argument about Cheney's ties to Halliburton Co., an international energy services corporation, and President Bush's judicial nominees. The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice.

"Fuck yourself," said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency.

Leahy's spokesman, David Carle, yesterday confirmed the brief but fierce exchange. "The vice president seemed to be taking personally the criticism that Senator Leahy and others have leveled against Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq," Carle said.

As it happens, the exchange occurred on the same day the Senate passed legislation described as the "Defense of Decency Act" by 99 to 1.

Well, at least he didn't expose his breast.

Reaching a few days further into the past, Boing boing notes Bush's plan to dose Americans with expensive antipsychotics; and Gene Cowan dot com mentions that "they neglected to mention that Donald Rumsfeld was the former CEO of pharmaceutical giant Searle".

Let's see. The SCOTUS blog gives a happy summary of some of today's raft of decisions:

Here, in summary, is a first look at a new constitutional order that may arise from the new decisions:

1. In general, the courts are open and functioning, and they will insist upon a full partnership in judging the constitutional necessity of wartime actions that affect individuals - citizens and, sometimes, foreign nationals, too.

2. Congress would be constitutionally entitled to exercise a fuller role, if it were so inclined, as a co-manager of the war when that conflict impacts individual rights.

3. Citizens - even those deemed to be terrorist suspects - can no longer be detained indefinitely and without any rights that the Pentagon does not want them to have.

4. Even foreign nationals rounded up and placed at an offshore Navy base - in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - are constitutionally entitled to contest their detention, perhaps even when that might interfere with military interrogation of them, seeking to gain intelligence information.

In historic terms, the new rulings are at least as serious a setback as the Executive branch suffered in 1952 when the Court, in the midst of the Korean War, struck down President Truman's seizure of U.S. steel mills to keep them open to produce war materiel. (Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer)

"History and common sense," the Court said today, "teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means of oppression and abuse of others who do not present. . .an immediate threat."

Good old Justice Thomas seems to have been the lone dissenter on that last issue. An unchecked system of detention is Just Fine With Him.

I don't recommend the three decisions on combatant detention for those looking for some quick SCOTUS reads before bed; there's lots of pages and stuff there.

On the other hand, I do recommend Hiibel (03-5554), as a short and readable and interesting decision for that purpose (this is the one about whether it can be illegal not to give your name when a police officers asks for it). I've been meaning to write about it here, but not found the time or energy.

(Basically I don't have a strong opinion on the issue itself, but reading the decision I find the minority's case stronger; the majority seems to be getting around existing precedent by giving it a completely bizarre reading. The majority also doesn't seem to have heard of these things called "databases" and "computers" and stuff.)

Noted on a weblog inside the firewall:

Then he performed one final analysis: The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia.

It was the seventy-seventh richest country in the world. And it didn't even exist.

And also just like in the real world, someone started up a currency exchange to arbitrage the currencies of the various virtual countries, and just like in the real world they got defrauded.

Does it still hurt?

Unfortunately, yes, right... THERE.

It is not unusual for an entertainment floor to be devoted to special exhibits and events.

Not as much as it's supposed to.




I wonder if anyone is bothered that eventually you'll have patched your computer system so much that its speed and functionality is sapped all the way back to those of a mid-80s computer or earlier ? And if all they're using it for is writing up text documents to print off for people, would they really care ? More specifically, aside from 'The Internet', does it strike you (or maybe your readers) that we might be better off with a less glorified word processor which focuses on doing its job rather than the numerous other... um... things that we don't care about, never asked for and cause us endless problems in trying to turn off so that they're not used against us...


Ms. Vega

I drove the little daughter off to camp again over the weekend; two more amazing days in Vermont, gawking at the green and bathing in the air (why is cool air and warm sunlight so deeply coded into our bodies?), intentionally parking a twenty-minute walk from where I needed to be, just so I could walk. We'll miss her (again), but we're comforted (again) that she's spending a month in a glorious place with some of the nicest people in the world.

Just downloaded from iTunes: Suzanne Vega's 99.9°F. Another one of those voices.


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