Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Questions about the legality of the wiretapping, etc., that NSA has been doing?

Over at Radioblogger, read that transcript of Hugh Hewitt's interview with Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago's Constitutional Law professor, and a liberal one, to boot. Money quote:
CS: Yes. That's clearly right. What that Court says is that for domestic surveillance that don't involve foreigners or foreign threats, the president needs a warrant. But now we're onto the last question, which is whether there's a Fourth Amendment requirement of a warrant. And the Supreme Court has never said that in circumstances like this. The lower court seemed to suggest otherwise.

HH: That's why I wanted to come back and do your middle one in the middle, because now we've got the Constitutional issues out on the table. There are some arguments the other way. I want to be fair to people who are arguing, because they haven't been really fair to the president's position. You could make arguments the other way. But by no means does the...in my opinion, do they have remotely as strong a case as the advocates for the Constitutionality of what the president has done. Do you agree with that assessment, Professor?

CS: Well, what I'd say is that the Department of Justice is the president's lawyer, and they have a duty, the lawyers there, to protect the president's Constitutional prerogatives. I actually worked there myself around the same time that Chief Justice Roberts was in the Justice Department, and that's the Department of Justice's job to protect Constitutional prerogatives of the president. But in this case, it's not as if the Department of Justice is stretching badly to protect the president. It's not as in the what I think is the unfortunate torture memo, where the Justice Department really was stretching. Here the Department of Justice is making more than plausible arguments. If you put me to it, is the president right on this? It's very complicated. I think he has...he probably has the better argument. As you say, there are complexities.
And don't forget to read James Lilek's hilarious interview: "Hi, Hugh. And it's another grim Christmas in Hitler McNixon's America, isn't it?"

Monday, December 26, 2005

It's Boxing Day!

And here in the Tannerball household, we are getting ready to go out to the country and do some shootin'. Busting up clays is a great way to blow off a little holiday steam. I will be using my new Remington 870:The Daytimer will be using her sweet Beretta Silver Pigeon "S" over/under 20 gauge:Just so you know, here are the potential origins of Boxing Day, as reported in Wikipedia:
There is much dispute over the true origins of Boxing Day. The more common stories include:

Centuries ago, merchants would present their servants food and fruits as a form of Yuletide tip. Naturally, the gifts of food and fruit were packed in boxes, hence the name "Boxing Day".

In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which makes it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. After all the Christmas parties on December 25, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land, and one family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Under this explanation, there was nothing voluntary about this transaction; the lord of the manor was obligated to supply these goods. Because the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.

In Britain many years ago, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrive for their day's work on the day after Christmas (26 December). Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. This can be compared with the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence the name Boxing Day.

In churches, it was tradition to open the church's donation box on Christmas day, and the money in the donation box were to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that one gigantic lockbox in which the donations were left.

In slave labour camps, many of the negros were forced to enter a festive tournament of hand to hand combat, the prize for the winner being their freedom and a large hamper of bananas, the punishment for the losers death. This has now led to the day being called Boxing Day.

In Britain because many servants had to work for their employers on Christmas day they would instead open their presents (ie. boxes) the next day, which therefore became known as boxing day.

The theories above, irrespective of the specifics, all seem to indicate that the original tradition that lead to what we know now as Boxing Day may have been to maintain society's class structure. It was a one-way gift-giving practice, where gifts flowed from a higher class of society to the lower classes (the serfs, the poorer people, etc). An exchange of gifts would indicate equality between the giver and the receiver, which is what Boxing Day may originally have been intended to fight against.

Alternatively, some have proposed that "Boxing Day" may have been when all the Christmas decorations went back in their boxes to await next year's festivities. This seems less likely, however, when we consider the known age of the term "Boxing Day", which predates the modern decorating obsession by several centuries.
Have a good one!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY CHANUKA! WHATEVER!

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, have a great one. Here in the Tannerball household we have given/received presents--shotguns, bouncy horses, and a bike, to name a few. Off to enjoy more family togetherness!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

WaPo has some good stuff today

Although I don't know whether it's aware that it is making the best argument ever for de-nationalizing any industry that other nations depend upon.
A YEAR AFTER Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Russia's effort to combat the spread of democracy in Eastern Europe continues unabated. Its latest weapon is natural gas. As the heating season got underway this month, Moscow announced through its state-controlled energy company, Gazprom, that it would more than triple the price it charges Ukraine for gas supplies, to $160 per 1,000 cubic meters. When Ukraine's government sought to negotiate a more gradual increase, Moscow threatened to raise the price further, to more than $200, or cut off supplies as of Jan. 1. Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to trigger this crisis just as Ukraine approaches a crucial parliamentary election on March 26. Thanks to Mr. Putin, soaring energy prices for Ukrainian consumers may be a punishing issue for the former Orange revolutionaries.
When will Russia learn that this is bad juju? It is difficult to fathom a political structure so opposed to self-determination that it will extort political outcomes that shouldn't have any real impact on Russia, other than to make Russians aware that elections matter. I hate realpolitik more than I hate cottage cheese.

Also, an interesting editorial on political hijinks in Egypt. Apt, because my sister in law got back from Cairo yesterday. Welcome home, Lucy!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Manolo's Christmas hits


Via the Manolo, we find out that David Hasselhof is back and ready to rock it out. The reviews of this album are spectacular (scroll through them, lord):
Let me just say that this CD changed my life. I was busy looting the sewage-filled stores of New Orleans (for my family, of course)in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As I sloshed thru the streets full of bloated animal corpses, a large boom box under one arm, all the bling I could put around my neck and wrists, and a fur coat over my free shoulder - I saw IT!! Shining and floating in the cesspool of the 9th ward - a beautifully wrapped, untouched, unopened CD of the Master Jerklehoff - "Very Best Of" Heir Dingleberryhoff, I might add. At first I started to let it drift down the rat-infested, turd - o - toilet my home had become. Common sense kicked in and I put it in my new Gucci bag dangling from my hip. Hours later, when relaxing with my new gun collection from Walmart, having a few warm brewskys and taking pot shots at the cops - I remembered the CD. I gathered up the pilfered batteries that my three sons had on the new Louis the XVI chesterfield (the antique store was OPEN I tell you) and cranked up the new boom box. Let the magic begin...

40 drunk Santas on a rampage

Just read the whole thing.

All I want for Christmas is my Barbie dead, my Barbie dead


Check this out.
"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."
Microwaving?!?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Reaction to the transit strike in NYC

In NYC, the transit worker's union is on strike. Our friends at Stone know that they are safe in Marc's devious and union-busting hands.

Devious Canadian bar owners !!

I just love this:
Edmonton bar owner Tony Burke has found a creative way around the city's new smoking ban: a remodeled bus where customers can go to light up out of the cold. Since the bus has wheels instead of a foundation, it's not covered by the smoking ordinance. (Just to be on the safe side, Burke registered it in his own name, rather than the business's.) "Despite the loophole," reports the Globe and Mail, "Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has told reporters that bars should comply with the spirit of the law."
Yes, mayor, your subjects (and that's what they are) should comply with the "spirit of the law" that restrains your citizens' freedom to do as they please, as opposed to your having to follow the letter of the law. But what about the children? THE CHILDREN!!
Of course, if your real goal is to stop people from deciding how they use their own bodies, you're failing--which is why this case nicely exposes the fact that the public health argument isn't the true motivation for many of the anti-smoking nannies.

VDH is at it again.

And, as usual, he is completely merciless
For some time, a large number of Americans have lived in an alternate universe where everything is supposedly going to hell. If you get up in the morning to read the New York Times or Washington Post, watch John Murtha or Howard Dean on the morning talk shows, listen to National Public Radio at noon, and go to bed reading Newsweek it surely seems that the administration is incommunicado (cf. “the bubble”), the war is lost (“unwinnable”), the Great Depression is back (“jobless recovery”), and America about as popular as Nazi Germany abroad (“alone and isolated”).

But in the real adult world, the economy is red-hot, not mired in joblessness or relegating millions to poverty. Unemployment is low, so are interest rates. Growth is high, as is consumer spending and confidence. Our Katrina was hardly as lethal as the Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake. Thousands of Arabs are not rioting in Dearborn. American elderly don’t roast and die in the thousands in their apartments as was true in France. Nor do American cities, like some in China, lose their entire water supply to a toxic spill. Americans did not just vote to reject their own Constitution as in some European countries.

Oh yeah--read this too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Zarkman is back

and he's keepin' it real.
In fairness I guess you expect that kind of pussified goatshit from French recruits, even when they're shahids. Weasels or not, at least they have enough sense to try to save their own asses. But man, then there are these crazy fucking Saudi and Yemeni and Syrian assholes. Those guys are so stupid and horny for Paradise poontang that they're already blowing themselves up before they get their luggage unloaded from the courtesy van. We got a little joke here at the office:

What's the last thing a Saudi says to a Syrian before they met Allah?

"What does this button do?"

I'm telling you, If you were around these felchers 10 minutes you'd be convinced we need to rethink this whole marrying-in-the-clan thing. And, along with the stupid, comes the gullibility. Zawahiri, in all his motivational wisdom, bought a Dish Network subscription for the office so we could get the CNN and MSNBC feeds. "Good for morale," or something like that. Oh yeah, brilliant move there, Ayman. Next time some of my clueless shitheads decide to attack the "demoralized and broken" Team Satan after watching the Chris Matthews Show, maybe you can help stuff the remains into the Ziplocs and write the goddamn thank-you notes.

Which brings up another thing: those worthless Satanland dhimmis. Yeah, I know they mean well, but Allah save us all from these cocksuckers' "help." I suppose you heard about the infidel peace creeps we snatched last week. Nice little PR coup, huh? Well, you try being in a cramped office with a bunch of smelly Unitarian hippies from Austin bitching about "vegan optional meals" and demanding "natural fiber wrist ropes." Mohammed H. Prophet, I swear that beheading deadline can't come soon enough.

Islamonazism?

A former CIA director give you the straight poop on Wahhabism. The point? Let's start taking these mullahs at their word:
Such totalitarian visions seem crazy to most of us; we thus tend to underestimate their potency. Yet the Salafists' theocratic totalitarian dream has some features in common with the secular totalitarian dreams of the twentieth century, e.g., the Nazis' Thousand Year Reich, or the Communists' World Communism. The latter two movements produced tens of millions of deaths in the 20th century in part because, at least in their early stages, they engendered "fire in the minds of men" in Germany, Russia, and China and were able to establish national bases. Salafists had such a national base for the better part of a decade in Afghanistan and have had one controlling the Arabian Peninsula for some eight decades. They haven't attained the Nazis' and Communists' death totals yet, but this is only due to lack of power, not to less murderous or less totalitarian objectives.
It's long, but you should read the whole thing.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Most Irishmen useless at housework"

According to this study, dogs bite men on occasion.

WARNING!!

Yes indeed.
Due to increasing products liability litigation, American liquor manufacturers have accepted the FDA's suggestion that the following warning labels be placed immediately on all varieties of alcohol containers:
[snip]

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may be a major factor in getting your ass kicked.

Of course, he's abolutely correct . . .

but that won't keep our elected representatives, in their lunacy, from trying to do the wrong thing.
By blocking much drilling in Alaska and offshore, Congress does nothing to lower the price of oil. Then Congress spends taxpayer dollars to soften the impact of the price, thereby encouraging consumption that raises the price. Then Grassley asks oil executives to join the moral grandstanding by squandering their shareholders' wealth -- diverting it to protect oil consumers from some consequences of their representatives' irrationality.

[snip]

This year the six largest oil companies will disperse 34 percent of their cash flow -- $31 billion -- in dividends to shareholders. But such flows can be shrunk by "windfall profit" taxes. That is explained, with a clarity sufficient even for the dimmest 35 senators, in a study -- "The Economic Impact of a Windfall Profits Tax for Savers and Shareholders" -- by Robert J. Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration, and Nam D. Pham, an economist.

Although the real rationale for a windfall profits tax is to allow legislators to strike a histrionic pose, Dorgan's tax, say Shapiro and Pham, would have produced gross revenue -- depending on where the price of oil is in the range between $45 and $60 a barrel -- of $18.5 billion to $104.9 billion over five years. But because the windfall profits tax payments would have reduced corporate income tax payments, the government's net, say Shapiro and Pham, would have been only $8.6 billion to $48.7 billion.
As they say, read the whole thing.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

What can 58,000 lbs. of thrust do to a car?

Excellent.
Via the Corner--"Big engine, lightweight hippie car."