The parties are advised to chill.
Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 908 (9th Cir. 2002)

Friday, September 30, 2005
Care For Some Ultra-Violence?

A thought:

You know, when liberal talk radio hosts make sweeping statements about Republicans, they better watch out... Just beat the crap out of them. If you can do it with a keyboard, fine. If you need to do it with a sword, fine. If you need to do it with the sword, that's ok, too. You know it's said that the pen is mightier than the sword... that's fine. Just cut off their heads and piss down their necks. Maybe drive stakes in their hearts as well... after all, it's the only way to be sure.

A little extreme, no?*

That, with a little embellishment, is Air America host Mike Malloy spewing forth regarding blogger Mark Noonan.

Quit trying to suppress my dissent!


(Since I'm in the Bay Area, trust me, my non-leftist views make me a dissenter)
* And for the record, no, I do not advocate physical violence against those with whom I disagree. I leave that to, inter alia, the single digit IQ denizens of Democratic Underground and Daily Kos.

Posted 6:53 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Payback Comes A Little At A Time

You may remember Representative Barbara Lee as the far-left congresswoman from Oakland who opposed the use of force in Afghanistan after 9/11, as well as in Iraq. Well, it seems that payback comes a little at a time (via SF Chronicle; also Washington Post):

House Republicans rejected an effort Tuesday to name a post office in Berkeley after longtime Berkeley Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek after a conservative lawmaker questioned whether the 94-year-old activist represents American values.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has been trying for more than two years to name the city's main post office on Allston Way for Shirek, a civil rights leader and peace activist who served on the Berkeley City Council for 20 years.

But House Republicans have sought to block the effort, mostly through a whisper campaign about her reported past ties to communist leaders and left-wing causes. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, objected Tuesday to Lee's proposal and rallied Republicans to defeat the measure in an unusual roll call vote.

Lee, who said Shirek helped inspire her to run for elected office, was furious after the House defeated her measure on a mostly party line vote of 215 to 190. The measure needed two-thirds support for passage.

[ . . . ]

The decisions to name post offices and federal courthouses are so routine in Congress that they typically are approved by a voice vote that signals unanimous consent. But Lee's bid to name the post office in Berkeley for Shirek has been controversial from the start.

In March, a group of California Republicans blocked Lee's measure by refusing to co-sponsor it. The House Government Reform Committee generally will not move a bill to rename a federal building unless all the state's members agree to the request.

Lee's bill was H.R. 438 (PDF; roll call vote). In his remarks yesterday, King voiced his opposition to the measure (PDF of H8370 of the Congressional Record):

Mr. Speaker, just to make a couple of gentle points, the effort has been, at least on the record, as not, I do not want to say fighting against injustice, but a record of fighting against justice, particularly in the case of the effort to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. I think most of us know about that particular case. And I am concerned about a role model. I am concerned about young people a generation or two from now. When they go back by that post office in Berkeley and look at the name on the post office, they are going to ask what were the principles that brought this about? And I contend that those principles would be running contrary to American values.

Lee seems ticked. Oh, well.

Just for fun, let's take a look at the other post office naming bills that were also up for consideration yesterday:

H.R. 2062 (PDF, Cong. Rec.): Post office in Newville, Pennsylvania, to be named after Randall D. Shughart

H.R. 3667 (PDF, Cong. Rec., also here): Postal facility in Los Angeles, California, to be named after Karl Malden

H.R. 3703 (PDF, Cong. Rec.): Post office in Spring Hill, Florida, to be named after Sergeant Michael Schafer

H.R. 3767 (PDF, Cong. Rec., also here): Post office in St. Charles, Illinois, to be named after Jacob L. Frazier


Posted 9:42 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Katrina Chutzpah

These days, there's quite a vigorous (and in my opinion, long-overdue) debate among Republicans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, involving the need for cutting back on earmarking pet projects, i.e., "pork," to help offset the costs for Katrina reconstruction.

A particularly egregious example was Don Young's reaction of "kiss my ear" when asked to reconsider his hundreds of millions worth of earmark for the Gravina Bridge, which would connect a city of 8000 people to an island of 50 people, to replace a four-minute ride on a ferry leaving every 15 to 30 minutes. Contrary to Young's suggestions, critics aren't "just smoking pot," particularly where the senator justified the earmark by saying, "I'd be silly if I didn't take advantage of my chairmanship."

Of course, the flip side is that the expenditures for reconstruction had better be worth the pain.

Senate bill S. 1766, sponsored by Senators Vitter (Republican) and Landrieu (Democrat) from Louisiana, (PDF) isn't.

As the Washington Post notes (via Instapundit), the $250 billion total in requests, which includes $25 million for a sugar cane research lab, is a bit excessive:

This the equivalent of New York responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center by insisting upon a federally financed stadium in Brooklyn.

The Louisiana delegation has apparently devoted little thought to the root causes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. New Orleans was flooded not because the Army Corps of Engineers had insufficient money to build flood protections, but because its money was allocated by a system of political patronage. The smart response would be to insist that, in the future, no Corps money be wasted on unworthy projects, but the Louisiana bill instead creates a mechanism by which cost-benefit analysis can be avoided. Equally, Katrina was devastating because ill-conceived projects have drained coastal wetlands and caused their erosion, destroying a natural buffer between hurricanes and human settlements. The smart response would be to insist that future infrastructure projects be subject to careful environmental review. But the Louisiana delegation's bill would suspend the environmental review process. Rather than grappling with the lessons of Katrina, Louisiana's representatives are demanding an astonishing $40 billion worth of Corps of Engineers projects in their state. That is 16 times more than the Corps says it would need to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane.

Someone needs to punch both Senators where it hurts.

Posted 11:30 PM by Tony

Monday, September 26, 2005
I'm Just Wondering...

...why you never hear of PETA demonstrating against leather at the Folsom Street Fair.

After all, it's not like there's a shortage of leather, um, outfits on display there.

Posted 5:42 PM by Tony

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Consider the following.

December 2, 2004 interview of Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong Young (previously mentioned here:

To speak once again of the defector issue, the government clearly opposes organized defections. For the people in the North to live their lives in the North with their families is necessary both for individuals and for co-existence and co-prosperity. The policies of reconciliation and cooperation call for humanitarian aid to the North along with strengthening of economic cooperation, and continuous pursuit of North Korea's participation in the international community.

North Korean woman who recently escaped to Thailand, despite the loss of both feet (account from the Marmot):

North Korean State Safety & Security Agency personnel welcomed her [Park] back [after a first, unsuccessful attempt] by poking her frostbitten feet with a rusty iron skewer and mercilessly stamping on them with their boots. Her feet began to discharge bloody pus. Security personnel kept up the torture, though, telling her that only if her legs rotted away to the thigh would she be unable to flee to the South. This apparently made Park even more determined to get out. A month later, she was freed, and in September 2004, she fled across the border to China again.

Starving and with a pair of crutches, she made it to China. When she met her son, he hardly recognized her, her face mashed from the beatings and her body reduced to skin and bones. In February, she underwent surgery in China to amputate her feet. In June, she left Changchun again for Manzhouli to take the train to Mongolia, but when help disappeared following a strengthened Chinese crackdown on North Korean defectors from May, she had to change her plans.

[ . . . ]

In a letter to the Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, Park said, "The screams I cried and my moaning was not mine, but the screams and moans of our parents and brethren currently living in the North… Please pray so that they may come to South Korea."

As you can see (and also here), confusion as to which side the Unification Ministry is on is completely understandable.

Posted 7:27 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Things That Made Me Say "Good God Almighty"

A Category 5 hurricane (via Hurricane Rita tracker at NOAA, by way of SF Chronicle):

The landing gear of an Airbus A320 (via SF Chronicle):

Ridiculously hot news anchors (Melissa Theriau, found at Phenix, see also here by way of Say Anything):


Posted 10:07 PM by Tony


Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (and Senate minority leader), explaining his opposition to the confirmation of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court:

Some say that the President is entitled to deference from the Senate in nominating individuals to high office. I agree that such deference is appropriate in the case of executive branch nominees such as Cabinet officers. With some important exceptions, the President may generally choose his own advisors.

In contrast, the President is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary. The Constitution envisions that the President and the Senate will work together to appoint and confirm federal judges. This is a shared constitutional duty.

[emphasis added]

The Washington Post notes, "during those six years [of Republican control of the Senate during the Clinton Administration], the Senate confirmed 245 of President Bill Clinton's judges. If Republicans had been applying Mr. Reid's standard, they would have been within their rights to reject them all."

I also like the unspecified "some important exceptions" to the president's ability to choose executive officers. Cute.

It's a certainty that the next time a Democratic president presents a judicial nominee to the Senate, these words are going to come right back.

Update: To follow up on Jimmy's comment, the following passages from the Federalist seem relevant , with emphases in bold.

Federalist No. 76:

But might not his nomination be overruled? I grant it might, yet this could only be to make place for another nomination by himself. The person ultimately appointed must be the object of his preference, though perhaps not in the first degree. It is also not very probable that his nomination would often be overruled. The Senate could not be tempted, by the preference they might feel to another, to reject the one proposed; because they could not assure themselves, that the person they might wish would be brought forward by a second or by any subsequent nomination. They could not even be certain, that a future nomination would present a candidate in any degree more acceptable to them; and as their dissent might cast a kind of stigma upon the individual rejected, and might have the appearance of a reflection upon the judgment of the chief magistrate, it is not likely that their sanction would often be refused, where there were not special and strong reasons for the refusal.

To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.

Federalist No. 77:

Upon a comparison of the plan for the appointment of the officers of the proposed government with that which is established by the constitution of this State, a decided preference must be given to the former. In that plan the power of nomination is unequivocally vested in the Executive. And as there would be a necessity for submitting each nomination to the judgment of an entire branch of the legislature, the circumstances attending an appointment, from the mode of conducting it, would naturally become matters of notoriety; and the public would be at no loss to determine what part had been performed by the different actors. The blame of a bad nomination would fall upon the President singly and absolutely. The censure of rejecting a good one would lie entirely at the door of the Senate; aggravated by the consideration of their having counteracted the good intentions of the Executive. If an ill appointment should be made, the Executive for nominating, and the Senate for approving, would participate, though in different degrees, in the opprobrium and disgrace.

Posted 8:33 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I'm "Hurt" By The Word Choice

Here's an article from the AP feed in the SF Chronicle on Cindy Sheehan. I'd like to know where the "hurt" is:

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said Tuesday she was hurt slightly in a scuffle that erupted when police broke up a rally as she was at the microphone.

[ . . . ]

"I was speaking and someone grabbed my backpack and pulled me back pretty roughly," Sheehan said, describing the scene at Manhattan's Union Square on Monday. "I was shoved around."

Sheehan, the grieving mother whose vigil near President Bush's Texas ranch sparked anti-war protests around the country, said [she] wasn't roughed up by police, but was jostled when officers broke up the rally and arrested organizer Paul Zulkowitz.

"I think their use of force was pretty excessive for someone that didn't have a permit," Sheehan said.

[emphasis added]

So if she "wasn't roughed up," where's the hurt? Geez.

Posted 7:43 PM by Tony

Friday, September 16, 2005
Babe Of The Day

Since Dan is out, I guess I should step up.

Here's Josie Maran, a model who's featured in the upcoming Need For Speed: Most Wanted video game (via Electronic Arts):

And one from Maxim:

Posted 7:42 PM by Tony

Thursday, September 15, 2005
Deep Thoughts From The Other Side

I read stuff from the other side of the political spectrum, just to see what's going on. One of the sources I read from time to time is Daily Kos, who, I suspect, is giving himself a little more credit than he's due. I have found myself in disagreement with his position on some issues (though I think I'm not alone in that - bit of a sore loser.

Which makes this exercise in reading incomprehension by one his co-bloggers a bit unsurprising:

This WaPo article provides a fair overview of just some of the costs of Katrina. Apparently, Rove Bush has decided to throw money at the problem hand over fist, in an attempt to deflect criticism over his administration's unforgivable bungling in the most critical days after the storm. But the last sentences of the article are so spectacularly representative of the entire new-conservative movement that they really stand as a monument to the whole disaster:

To reach $62 billion in savings, Cato Institute analysts Chris Edwards and Stephen Slivinski have proposed cutting NASA in half, slashing energy research and subsidies just as Congress is gearing up to increase them in the face of soaring gasoline prices, cutting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' budget by $4.6 billion after its levees failed to protect New Orleans, and eliminating $4.2 billion in homeland security grants while lawmakers are debating the nation's lack of preparedness.

A younger me would have marveled at the level of sheer square-headed poindexterism required to propose that, in order to finance the reconstruction of New Orleans... we further cut funding for the levees.

Hunter's logic equates advocating the funding cuts for the Corps of Engineers with advocating funding cuts for levees. Nice try, no cigar.

First, let's take a look at why the Cato analysts are looking at $62 billion, which is in the same Washington Post article - I've put the important part in boldface:

Since Katrina struck, Congress has already spent $62.3 billion, dwarfing the inflation-adjusted $17.8 billion that Congress spent on hurricanes Andrew, Iniki and Omar, which struck in 1992, and the $15.2 billion emergency appropriation for the Northridge, Calif., earthquake of 1994. The entire Persian Gulf War of 1991 cost less than $83 billion in today's dollars.

Tom DeLay then asked for suggestions where current spending could be cut to offset the $62 billion expenditure:

Against calls to trim spending elsewhere to accommodate the emergency, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) did little to close those floodgates when he suggested this week that the Republican-controlled Congress had already trimmed all the fat from federal spending. "My answer to those that want to offset the spending is 'Sure, bring me the offsets,' " he said. "I will be glad to do it, but no one is able to come up with any yet."

The Cato analysts aren't suggesting that the levees not be rebuilt, as suggested by the Kos post. Instead, the suggestion appears to be more general, and presumably includes non-levee related work. Therationale for the cuts is that much of what the Corps of Engineers does can be done either by private or state entities.


Posted 8:16 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Your Employees At Work

Behold, in all its glory, the awesome majesty of the United States Senate (or at least a part thereof), exercising its solemn duties in the advice and consent process (via Washington Post):

SPECTER: [ . . . ] Do you think that the cases which have followed Roe fall into the category of a "super" stare decisis designation?

[a few moments later...]

And I don't want to coin any phrases on super-precedents -- we'll leave that to the Supreme Court -- but would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent in light of...


... in light of 38 occasions to overrule it?

And then there's Schumer, with this questionable bit of legal scholoarship:

In my view, over the past 60 or 70 years, maybe longer, three legs have sustained our constitutional rights: the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process; the right to privacy; and a broad delegation of authority to Congress to pass legislation -- usually under the commerce clause -- necessary to protect our nation's security, the environment, Americans' health and workers' civil rights.

At least Kennedy wasn't using cheat sheet.

Posted 7:54 AM by Tony

Monday, September 12, 2005
Some Pointers

Now, there's been a lot of finger-pointing concerning the response to Hurricane Katrina. Frankly, I'm not sure how blame should be apportioned between the federal, state, and local governments, while accounting for physical and security constraints.

However, there's a few interesting things I'd like to point out:

1. Right Wing Nut House has a Katrina response timeline that seems pretty comprehensive.

2. Senator Landrieu's comments are a bit puzzling - she is on record as saying that "Now is not the time for fingerpointing." Unless it's at the Bush administration, I suppose. Well, I guess she couldn't blame state and local officials, given her earlier remarks - otherwise, she'd have to punch herself out.

3. And for those seeking a good laugh from incoherent lunacy, certain columnists set the mark.

Posted 6:29 PM by Tony

An Orange County native trapped in the SF Bay Area. Email at

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