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

Friday, March 24, 2006
Our Friends The Russians

From the SF Chronicle"

The Russian government provided Saddam Hussein with intelligence on U.S. military movements and plans during the opening days of the war in 2003, according to a Pentagon report [entitled "Iraqi Perspectives Project"] released Friday.

[ . . . ]

Based on a captured Iraqi document — a memo to Saddam from his Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated April 2 — Russian intelligence reported through its ambassador that the American forces were moving to cut off Baghdad from the south, east and north, with the heaviest concentration of troops in the Karbala area. It said the Americans had 12,000 troops in the area, along with 1,000 vehicles.

In fact, Karbala was a major step on the U.S. invasion route along the Euphrates River to Baghdad. The Karbala assault was launched April 1. A key bridge over the Euphrates, near Karbala, was seized on April 2, permitting U.S. forces to approach Baghdad from the southwest before Iraq could move sufficient forces from the north.

The Pentagon report also said the Russians told the Iraqis that the Americans planned to concentrate on bombing in and around Baghdad, cutting the road to Syria and Jordan and creating enough confusion to force Baghdad residents to flee.

Longer discussion, and a copy of the report, at Foreign Affairs. Albeit a bit rash of me, but, when it comes to our "friends," nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Posted 9:23 PM by Tony

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Now, I expect a certain amount of stupidity from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. I further expect a certain amount of institutional hubris from SF's city government.

But this still surprises (via SF Chronicle):

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution that takes aim at a statement issued two weeks ago by Cardinal-elect William Levada, the former archbishop for San Francisco who now serves as second-in-command at the Vatican. Levada said Catholic agencies "should not place children for adoption in homosexual households."

Now let's get some things straight - I think my church is wrong on this. However, the Catholic Church's internal policies are not the affair of the Board of Supervisors. The resolution adopted by the Supervisors (and apparently sponsored by Supervisors Ammiano, Dufty, Alioto-Pier - who I've mentioned before - Mirkarimi, Ma, and Daly) is astonishing - here's the whole text, from

Resulution urging Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity as head of hte Congregation for the Dctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, to withdraw his discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing children in need of adoption with homosexual households.

WHEREAS, It is an insult to all San Francisans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great City's existing and established customs and tradisions such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need; and

WHEREAS, The statements of Cardinal Levada and the Vatican that "Catholic agencies should not place children for adoption in homosexual households," and "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children" are absolutely unacceptable to the citizenry of San Francisco; and

WHEREAS, Such hateful and discriminatory rhetoric is both insulting and callous, and shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by the Board of Supervisors; and

WHEREAS, Same-sex couples are just as qualified to be parents as are heterosexual couples; and

WHEREAS, Cardinal Levada is a decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city, and of the people of San Francisco and the values they hold dear; and

WHEREAS, The Board of Supervisors urges Archbishop Niederauer and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada; now therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition), to withdraw his discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing childre in need of adoption with homosexual households.

BTW, "defamatory"? How is Cardinal Levada's comment defamatory? Distasteful, I could understand. But defamatory?

I like the allusion to the "level of insensitivity and ignorance," given fun stuff like this pro-abortion counterprotest. And the cute, albeit in a juvenile way, attempt to associate Cardinal Levada with the medieval Inquisition.

It's also kind of fun to point out that the Board is bitching about the Vatican's "meddl[ing] with and attempt[ing] to negatively influence this great [heh] City's existing and established customs and traditions," while simultaneously urging Church officials to "defy" Cardinal Levada's directives. Meddling, indeed.

Posted 8:51 AM by Tony

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Sure, That's Not A Double Standard

I had heard about the Claude Allen incident in passing, but hadn't followed it - all I knew is that a former Bush aide had been arrested. I remember thinking that that's unfortunate, and that since he's a former Bush aide, the Kos types are going to wet themselves. That's it. I had no idea what his race was, or even seen a picture.

At least, not until I read this article by Erin Aubry Kaplan in the LA Times (via Opinion Journal):

Loyalty has been the price of admission to this administration, and black conservatives have proved to be more loyal than most.

That has unfortunately, but not always unfairly, invited comparisons to slave times, when the most loyal blacks were those who worked in closest proximity to their white masters — house Negroes, as they were derisively known. Such Negroes gained privilege but lost standing in their own community, a price that might have been reasonable if they were eventually granted the same status as the whites they so assiduously served. They weren't, of course; race has always mattered. And it matters now, though the dynamic is more subtle and devious.

[ . . . ]

It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him. Was he testing the limits of a power he wasn't sure he had, but needed? Was he fatally overconfident — fatal indeed for a black man — that his position shielded him from the consequences of crime, or at least the consequences of petty theft? After a career of always conducting himself appropriately, as his mentor Clarence Thomas reportedly advised, did he finally crack under the pressure? (All black folk, even conservatives, know they have to be three times as upstanding just to get along.) Was he acting out a latent bitterness at being denied a spot on the federal appeals court by a Senate that found his resume too thin and his past reference to gays as "queer" too cavalier for comfort? Or was he a closeted compulsive grifter who would have done this anyway? Hard to know.

Let's ignore the "you look like me, therefore you must think like me" implication of the column. Now, am I the only one who finds it odd that it is apparently acceptable to a) call refer to a black person as a "house Negro", and b) that Allen's transgressions can be blamed on his being black? Wow.

To put the shoe on the other foot for a second, isn't Democratic poster child Barack Obama a black person loyal to the Democratic party who works in close proximity to its leadership, the most prominent of whom (Pelosi, Reid, Dean, Clinton, etc.) are white? Hmm.

I'm a bit surprised that Ms. Kaplan didn't accuse Allen (or Clarence Thomas, who is married to a white woman) of being a race traitor. For example, see Representative Diane Watson, who stated of Ward Connerly, "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white." Or Representative William Clay, who referred to a black Republican colleague as someone who wanted "to maim and kill other blacks for the gratification and entertainment of . . . white racists."

Posted 6:31 PM by Tony

Friday, March 10, 2006
An Unkind But Hilarious Cut

Jacob Weisberg, in an article entitled "The Three Stooges," on SF congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (available at Slate and Financial Times)

Ms Pelosi epitomises this problem. Here is a typical Bush-bashing quote of hers: "The emperor has no clothes. When are people going to face the reality? Pull this curtain back." She dismisses people who disagree as hoodwinked or stupid, though she is not exactly Hillary Clinton. A five-minute interview is usually sufficient to exhaust her knowledge on any topic. When Jack Murtha, a Democratic congressman, proposed a pullout of US troops from Iraq last November, Ms Pelosi’s first reaction was negative. "Mr Murtha speaks for himself," she said. But after a drubbing from leftwing bloggers and her anti-war constituents, she announced she supported Mr Murtha after all.

[emphasis added]


The other two are Harry Reid and Howard Dean, by the way. The article is worth reading in its entirety, as it highlights a major issue with the Democratic Party leadership. Frankly, I wish they would get their act together - I'm a big believer in a vigorous multiparty system.

Posted 9:00 AM by Tony

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

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