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

Monday, September 29, 2003
Quote Of The Day

Sometimes people never cease to amaze me: (via Instapundit)

Please God, don't let this thing explode now.

- Gina Wilkinson, reporter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

So what we have here is a reporter stating that:

1. The Iraqi army had left behind surface-to-air missiles behind in retreating from the allied armies.

2. These missiles are filled with volatile chemicals for propellant and 200 kilograms (~440 pounds) of high explosive.

3. These missiles have remained, deteriorating without maintenance, posing a continued hazard to residents.

4. Children are playing around those missiles, placing themselves at risk of death, as the cluster bomb discussion connects the high risk of death with the missiles.

Implicit in the report is the idea that the Americans are at fault for not disposing of such obviously hazardous items. Even worse, those Yanks have done nothing, despite knowing that children are playing around those missiles! Of course, figuring out the implied message isn't exactly rocket science, if you'll pardon the pun.

However,

1. Children, in all likelihood, do not normally play around those missiles, if the concern expressed by the Iraqi men in the unreleased video is indicative.

2. Wilkinson had the two Iraqi children walk around the missile not once, but twice.

3. She knew the risks deteriorating missiles posed, given that, according to her, "locals say their children could be injured or their homes destroyed by these deadly weapons."

4. Her husband is a UNICEF media officer who had written a press release on the hazards of unexploded munitions to Iraqi children. Of course one does not expect one spouse to know everything the other does, but this does bear on the issue.

5. She believed that this missile posed an imminent risk, as the above quote indicates.

Now, I've done some things I'm not proud of, but I don't think I've ever put a child at risk of harm.

First the BBC, then the CBC, and now the ABC - what is with publicly funded Commonwealth broadcasters lately? (not that PBS is any different, admittedly) It seems that their journalists have been taking lessons from Michael Moore or Jayson Blair.

And journalists wonder why people don't believe that there is any such thing as "journalistic objectivity."


Posted 11:52 PM by Tony


Darn!

Steelers lost yesterday to Tennesee.

Here's hoping next week's game against Cleveland turns out differently.


Posted 12:40 PM by Tony


Dowd Lite

It's Monday, which of course means that it's Mock Heather Mallick Day!

Her latest screed makes absolutely no sense, as is to be expected.

Her column is apparently based off her reaction to a headline "America Puts Iraq Up For Sale." A search on the Globe and Mail yields no such headline.

Instead, the article seems to have appeared in the UK's Independent (full article here), which is hardly an unbiased source of news. The object of Mallick's rage was a proposal by Iraq's finance minister to allow up to 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in Iraq, which the Governing Council has since distanced itself from.

There's a lot of nonsense in her column, but I'll just point one thing. She seems no distinction between Fox News and the Republican Party:

They can have it for $12 because, if I may offer a rationale for this insanity, Republicans don't understand the concept of the public good. People who think they can copyright the words "fair and balanced" (Fox should change its slogan to "entirely without merit," which is what the judge said about that lawsuit) would privatize American traffic lights if they could make money. The Bush deficit is headed for Mars; he needs cash. Did you notice that during the power outage, New Yorkers proved that stoplights run by semaphore worked pretty darn good?

Of course, that's like saying that the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star are mouthpieces for the Liberal Party, or calling the equating the San Francisco Chronicle with any number of leftist causes. The inability to differentiate between a political organization and a business whose employees may share similar beliefs pretty much tells you all you need to know about Ms. Mallick.

Then again, this is a person whose column, "Americans: Hate 'Em or Hate 'Em," was published exactly two years before 9/11. (found here)


Posted 9:10 AM by Tony


Greatest Hits

There's a great compilation of Clinton-era quotes concerning Iraq and WMD over at Doctor Horsefeathers (via Instapundit).

As a Bay Area resident, my favorite is the one by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco:

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Dec. 16, 1998

She's no longer my representative in Congress; unfortunately, I now live in the district represented by Pete Stark, who wanted to bring back the draft to score political points against the President.

Ack.


Posted 7:56 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Debate Highlights

I've been going through the transcript of last night's recall debate.

A couple thoughts:

1. I think Cruz Bustamante is being a tad inconsistent.

At the beginning of the debate, he states:

I think the recall is a terrible idea. I think it's bad for democracy. I think it's bad for our state. I know people right now who are organizing to recall the next governor if it's a Republican. I think that's a bad way of doing politics. I think it's a perpetual type of politics. I agree with my colleagues that there is some good that could come from this as a result. But I think that to do it in this way, even Hiram Johnson as Arnold talked about in terms of him creating the recall process, even in his inaugural address said that it wasn't the panacea. The recalls are not the panacea for government. I really think that we have a situation here that we have to deal with in terms of the budget crisis. That's true. ... But this recall could end being an era of perpetual politics that I think would be bad for California.

Yet, at the end of the debate, he states:

I'd appreciate your consideration when you vote for governor.

His closing statement appears to silently endorse the recall idea.

2. Schwarzenegger-Huffington fighting:

a. Instance # 1:

SCHWARZENEGGER: I love it. Arianna, let me say one thing. Your personal income tax has the biggest loophole -- I can drive my Hummers through it. That's how big your loophole is. Let me tell you something. I don't know what you're talking about. I cannot believe you.

HUFFINGTON: We've got advanced notice in the New York Times that you're going to say that. And you know very well that I pay $115,000 in property taxes and payroll tax. And you know what? I'm a writer. In these two years, I was writing and researching a book and I wasn't making $20 million violent movies. I'm sorry.

MODERATOR: We need to move, we need to move.

HUFFINGTON: Let me finish, because we're talking about something very, very (unintelligible).

MODERATOR: Can you do it 30 seconds?

HUFFINGTON: Yes, I can do it in 16 because the truth is that small businesses sometimes make losses, sometimes make profits. When my book (unintelligible) was published in 2003, it became a best seller. That was a great year, and I'm going to be paying a lot of taxes. There was no loophole. And instead of focusing on distorted information, you should be focusing on the huge loopholes that the Bush administration and other Republicans around the country have allowed that have defrauded us of billions of dollars.

MODERATOR: Thank you, and before we get to the lieutenant governor, I'd like to admonish the candidates very politely. Because we're supposed to stay on topic, I don't know how Ms. Huffington got to Republican sexual morality and balancing the budget, but she managed to do so.

SCHWARZENEGGER: That's our Arianna.

[emphasis added]


b. Instance # 2, in which the candidates address a question on vehicle licensing fees:

HUFFINGTON: Right, well there's a huge connection between our budgetary problems here and the decisions made in Washington. And we need somebody who's going to fight for properly funded mandates -- whether it's on education or in health care -- and who's going to fight the administration when it's completely costing us jobs? It's completely hypocritical of Arnold to come here...

SCHWARZENEGGER: Arianna, we're talking about the car tax right now and not about education.

HUFFINGTOM: Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. You know, this is completely impolite and we know this is how you treat women and we know that, but not right now.

MODERATOR: On that point, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Candidates please, let me take control of this for a moment. I'm going to decide it is my privilege as moderator that that was a direct and personal attack on Mr. Schwarzenegger, so would you respond?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I would like to say that I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in 'Terminator 4.' That's it.

[emphasis added]

Perhaps not the finest moment for each candidate. I do think Huffington comes across worse in these exchanges, however.

3. Camejo (of the Green Party) McClintock and Schwarzengger agreeing on the vehicle licensing fee issue.

Fun, fun stuff.


Posted 4:33 PM by Tony

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Quote Of The Day

As you know, I'm not a big fan of the French government.

Ralph Peters really goes off on the French government in today's New York Post. Some of it is over the top, but I was especially amused by this:

France had every right to disagree with us, but working actively to undercut our efforts to eliminate a bloodstained dictator and liberate the people of Iraq crossed the red line. France should be made to suffer, strategically and financially. The French stabbed us in the back. In response, we should skin them alive.

If today's America is the new Rome, France is a garbage-dump Carthage. And Carthage needs to be broken. We should fight to replace France on the U.N. Security Council with India and Brazil, far more deserving states.

And we should pursue every possible avenue to reduce American purchases of any goods produced by the French.

Perfidy must be punished. The French, who would be eating sauerkraut for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we hadn't liberated them, need to have their treachery shoved down their throats.

First Baghdad, then Paris.


Posted 3:27 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Sports Columns

Those of you who know me know that I don't really take sports seriously, aside from occasional glances at the NFL standings.

That being said, though, Go Steelers! (You can blame a West Virginia buddy of mine for that one.)

I've recently become a fan of Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column at ESPN (he's also writes for The New Republic). With it being football season, he spends some column inches on the cheerleaders, natch.

Where's he find these?

Cheerleader of the Week Catherine Williams of the Denver Broncos holds a bachelor's of science in electrical engineering and a master's in business administration. Electrical engineering degree, MBA -- that can't be right; cheer-babes are not allowed to have more impressive credentials than TMQ! To relax, Williams dances, hikes and works out, and her most recently read book is "A Civil War" by John Feinstein, a football volume. (It's about the Army-Navy rivalry.) Williams, known as Cat, also says she thinks "George W. is doing an unbelievable job as president." Cat, just donate $250,000 and he'll make you an ambassador.

A cheerleader. With and MBA and an EE. Dang.


Posted 11:02 AM by Tony


Recall's On!

The Ninth Circuit just decided in a per curiam (anonymous) opinion to allow the recall election to go ahead. I put a PDF of the opinion here, if you care to read it.


Posted 9:50 AM by Tony

Monday, September 22, 2003
Reevaluations

Oh Young-jin of the Korea Times has some advice for President Bush concerning the US request that Korea provide combat troops for duty in Iraq:

First of all, Bush should not use threats to pull out its troops from the Korean peninsula.

Everybody knows that tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers were killed while helping the South push back the invading North during the 1950-1953 Korean War. In addition, its postwar military presence has helped a lot in keeping peace on the peninsula.

However, if Bush resorts to this threat once and gets his way, he might use it 1,000 times.

In other words, this tactic, valid as it may be, has lost its effectiveness and would likely pique South Koreans, leading them to reconsider the current security status.

Even 10 years ago, the talk of withdrawing U.S. troops would have put South Koreans on alert and made them compliant to whatever Washington wanted. But the country’s economic miracle and the level of confidence that comes with it have greatly changed the national mentality.

He makes it sound like rethinking the current security status is a bad thing. Assumptions need to get reevaluated every so often, or at the very least, aired out so that everyone understands what is going on.

For instance, to what degree can South Korea defend itself?

A story in today's Chosun Ilbo has the following:

If the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division is withdrawn from its positions near the North-South border, the costs to replace its equipment will total W5.5 trillion ($4.6 billion), if the South is to maintain the war-fighting potential there. The figure is about 31.5 percent of this year’s defense budget of W17.4 trillion.

A Grand National Party lawmaker and member of the National Assembly's defense committee, Park Se-hwan, said Monday that the equipment of U.S. forces that would need to be replaced included $2.6 billion in ground equipment, $1.8 billion in air equipment and $51.9 million in anti-air weapons such as missiles. This includes M1A1 tanks, M2 armored vehicles, 155mm self-propelled guns, MLRS/ATCMS (multi-engine rockets), AH-64 Apache helicopters, OH-58D scout helicopters, UH-60 helicopters, stinger missiles and avenger missiles.

[emphasis added]


As the above shows, South Korea would have to make quite the capital investment in order to replace the capability in material that the 2nd Infantry Division provides (and that doesn't even include the US Air Force units stationed in Korea).

I had no idea that it was that much. Nor, I'd wager, do most Koreans.

So, by all means, let's "reconsider the current security status." I'm sure it'd prove educational for all sides.


Posted 7:01 PM by Tony


Data Points

I've been writing a bit throughout this blog about the French government shooting themselves in the foot on the diplomatic front, most recently, here.

It seems that bad feelings about France's handling of its relations with the US is getting bipartisan.

Yesterday, Tony Snow at Fox News interviewed Joe Biden, Democratic Senator from Delaware, who is also on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

SNOW: [ . . . ] Let's talk about — you're one of the many people who've talked about the importance of an allied role. As a matter of fact, you mentioned it at the top of the show.

Now, we have seen in recent weeks that the French are attaching conditions to cooperation that just aren't going to fly. For instance...

BIDEN: I agree.

SNOW: You know, so you think the French have been irresponsible in their demands so far?

BIDEN: I do, yes. I think the French are playing a game here, a gambit here.

But, look, that doesn't mean we can't out-negotiate them. The president's going to be meeting with Putin. Putin sent a very clear signal he's willing to get in this game. The rest of Europe is prepared to get in this game. Why don't we do something — look, I'm not doing the negotiation, but let me give you an example.

Why not go to the Security Council and say to the French, "OK, here's the deal: We'll let the Security Council make the decision when to turn over all control to the Iraqis when they're ready, and we'll let that be done by the Security Council." Now we box France.

France is the only country in the world, with a little lip service from Germany, saying, turn over power that they cannot handle in the next three months. Everybody knows that's a gambit that's being played.

So why aren't we able to outsmart the French, in terms of the world stage and get the control of this issue, by bringing the responsibility back to the world, so we don't pay the whole freight?

And, by the way, nobody's asking for control of the military. Now, the gambit is, they want to have some impact on the political outcome and on the contracting. I think we ought to be able to do this.

SNOW: All right. By the way, the Germans seem to be shifting to our side, as well.

BIDEN: Yes.

SNOW: Gerhard Schroeder writing a piece in the New York Times.

So you think the French are effectively isolated...

BIDEN: I think we're getting smarter, and the president's doing a better job at isolating the French this time. Show them for what they are.

[emphasis added]

I'm getting curious, in a morbid sort of way, about how low Franco-American relations will ultimately sink.

Update: In all fairness, the remarks of Jean-David Levitte, France's ambassador to the US, look sort of promising (Sept. 15 PBS interview):

JIM LEHRER: How would you describe the disagreement between your country and the United States on this turnover issue?

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE: First I would say, Jim, that we will help. We will help because what is at stake is of enormous importance, for the Iraqi people first, but also for the whole Middle East and also for the relations between the Muslim world as a whole and the western world. So we will help. We agree with the U.S. position on the first of the draft resolution which has been proposed to the Security Council. We support the idea of a multinational force with a mandate of the Security Council, and U.S. leadership, no problem.


Posted 5:06 PM by Tony


Hearing Notes

The en banc Ninth Circuit hearing on the recall is today. Howard Bashman has some interesting details on the argument.

News stories such as this discuss the composition of the en banc panel that will hear the case, but never actually tells you who's on the panel.\
The judges are (PDF here):

Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder
Judge Alex Kozinski
Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain
Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld
Judge A.W. Tashima
Judge Barry G. Silverman
Judge Susan P. Graber
Judge M.M. McKeown
Judge Ronald M. Gould
Judge Richard C. Tallman
Judge Johnnie B. Rawlinson

You can find profiles of the judges here.

Judges Kleinfeld and Kozinski, I've pointed out before, wrote dissents to the denial of a reharing en banc in Silveira v. Lockyer. In separate dissents, they argued that the Second Amendment is a right belonging to the individual, not to the states.

Should be interesting, no matter which way the case comes out.


Posted 12:45 PM by Tony

Saturday, September 20, 2003
Quote Of The Day

Yeah, I know, it's a day late, but I noticed it today, so it's close enough for my purposes.

Allah writes:

Now, if you will excuse Allah, he must go and observe the French army's training of Arab troops. Thus are military juggernauts born, kufr!

Unfair? Probably. But it's still darned funny.


Posted 9:11 AM by Tony


Blogads

My blog buddy Dawn has started up a new system of ads on her blog. I'm honored that I'm in her inaugural set of ads, along with Blogcritics, Bloghosts, and Allah.

I must be moving up in the world if I'm sharing ad space with a frickin' deity.

Heck with the Instalanche - bring on the Dawnalanche!


Posted 8:52 AM by Tony


Random Coincidences

Last week, I traveled from San Francisco to visit a friend of mine who lives across the river from New York City.

I'm on Broadway and 32nd when I see a vaguely familiar face. He recognized me as well, and we both squinted at each other, in the way people do when they try to search their memories.

As it turns out, I had somehow randomly run into a classmate from law school in the middle of Manhattan.

This is just a few too many coincidences in my life:

1. Freshman year of college, I lived next door to someone I went to junior high with (I'd moved from that town after junior high).

2. I ended up becoming friends and roommates with another person from that same junior high.

3. While living in Korea, I accidentally ran into a college classmate.

4. I run into that same classmate again in the Bay Area.

5. While traveling in Vietnam last year, I accidentally ran into a law school classmate in Saigon.

Maybe someone's trying to tell me something?


Posted 8:46 AM by Tony

Friday, September 19, 2003
Less Than It Seems

James Taranto noted in yesterday's Best Of The Web that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was coming around to the idea of assisting in Iraq, UN or no UN:

The Wall Street Journal (link for WSJ.com subscribers) reports from Berlin that Germany's chancellor, who narrowly won re-election a year ago by running an anti-American campaign, "his nation is ready to assist American-led efforts to rebuild and democratize Iraq no matter what happens with a United Nations resolution now being negotiated"[.]

I think Taranto may have been overly optimistic.

Schroeder (or "Bad Herr Dye," as columnist William Safire has referred to him) has a piece up in today's NY Times, which suggests that cooperation still has a price. Buried in the midst of highlighting German-US cooperation in other areas and the alleged gratefulness Germany has towards the US, there's this:

It is true that Germany and the United States disagreed on how best to deal with Saddam Hussein's regime. There is no point in continuing this debate. We should now look toward the future. We must work together to win the peace. The United Nations must play a central role. The international community has a key interest in ensuring that stability and democracy are established as quickly as possible in Iraq. The international mission needs greater legitimacy in order to accelerate the process leading to a government acting on its own authority in Iraq. [emphasis added]

This would seem to contradict his response in a Wall Street Journal / Handelblatt interview, in which he states Berlin's intent to assist "exists totally independently of the resolution."

Sounds like Schroder is still being schizophrenic on Iraq.


Posted 8:48 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Greatest Man?

This month's Esquire magazine had an "unscientific poll" in which readers selected who they thought the greatest man was.

The results were:

1. Martin Luther King - I can see that.

2. "My dad" - I can also understand that one.

3. Gandhi - Sure.

4. Winston Churchill - So far, so good.

5. Jimmy Carter.

Excuse me? Jimmy Carter? This is the man who brought us stagflation, a man who dictators call friend.

What about the North Korean deal, you might protest. The one in which the US sent aid to the NKs in exchange for dropping their nuke research? Turns out the NKs never intended to honor that one, anyway. Oops.

I can understand that he may be a good person. But he was a lousy president and is a lousy political figure even now.

Habitat for Humanity? Okay, I'll grant that. I'll grant that Desert One was not his fault.

But to call him one of the world's greatest men simply baffles me. Thousands of years of history, and this guy was in the running?

Simply amazing.


Posted 8:38 AM by Tony


Jumping On The Bandwagon

Even Thomas Friedman is realizing it's time to reassess who our allies are:

It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy.

If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq's transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.

France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its "rightful" place as America's equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs.

Yes, the Bush team's arrogance has sharpened French hostility. Had President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld not been so full of themselves right after America's military victory in Iraq — and instead used that moment, when the French were feeling that maybe they should have taken part, to magnanimously reach out to Paris to join in reconstruction — it might have softened French attitudes. But even that I have doubts about.

What I have no doubts about, though, is that there is no coherent, legitimate Iraqi authority able to assume power in the near term, and trying to force one now would lead to a dangerous internal struggle and delay the building of the democratic institutions Iraq so badly needs. Iraqis know this. France knows this, which is why its original proposal (which it now seems to be backtracking on a bit) could only be malicious.

What is so amazing to me about the French campaign — "Operation America Must Fail" — is that France seems to have given no thought as to how this would affect France. Let me spell it out in simple English: if America is defeated in Iraq by a coalition of Saddamists and Islamists, radical Muslim groups — from Baghdad to the Muslim slums of Paris — will all be energized, and the forces of modernism and tolerance within these Muslim communities will be on the run. To think that France, with its large Muslim minority, where radicals are already gaining strength, would not see its own social fabric affected by this is fanciful.

If France were serious, it would be using its influence within the European Union to assemble an army of 25,000 Eurotroops, and a $5 billion reconstruction package, and then saying to the Bush team: Here, we're sincere about helping to rebuild Iraq, but now we want a real seat at the management table. Instead, the French have put out an ill-conceived proposal, just to show that they can be different, without any promise that even if America said yes Paris would make a meaningful contribution.

But then France has never been interested in promoting democracy in the modern Arab world, which is why its pose as the new protector of Iraqi representative government — after being so content with Saddam's one-man rule — is so patently cynical.

[emphasis added>

Of course, he's covering ground already well explored by Victor Davis Hanson in several columns earlier this year, including this one.


Posted 8:27 AM by Tony

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Reinforcements

The Korea Herald has a story on the American request to South Korea to send troops to Iraq:

As controversy grows, voices in Cheong Wa Dae and other political circles are getting louder in their call to reject the U.S. request to send combat troops to Iraq and instead dispatch more non-combat forces to rebuild the war-struck country.

Yoo In-tae, senior adviser to the president for political affairs, said Tuesday that the government should delay its decision on whether to dispatch additional troops to Iraq for as long as possible.

"We have various cards (to negotiate with the United States)," Yoo told reporters, without elaborating further.

"I cannot understand why they want to take out a combat force from a divided country like ours," he added, noting that there are also many American forces in other countries like Japan and Germany.

Rep. Chang Young-dal, chairman of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee, also opposed the U.S. request for South Korean combat troops.

[ . . . ]

A top government official, asking to remain anonymous, acknowledged Monday that the United States has officially asked Seoul to dispatch a "light infantry" unit with autonomous command and support troops to Iraq.

While Washington did not specify the exact number of troops it wants South Korea to dispatch, it cited the "Polish-type division" operating in Iraq as an example, the official added.

The Polish division consists of some 10,000 troops from 10 countries, including about 2,500-3,000 troops from Poland, and is so named because it is under Polish command.

It is unclear whether U.S. officials were referring to a 10,000-strong division or just the 2,500-3,000 Polish unit when they referred to the Polish division.

Not this nonsense again! We already went through this before, when Korea grudgingly decided to send some noncombat troops. Enough is enough.

I'm all in favor of bringing in reinforcements from Korea, though.


Posted 8:50 AM by Tony

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Quote Of The Day

Via Opinion Journal:

"Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
- Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti


This is in response to a complaint by CNN's Christiane Amanpour in USA Today:

I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did.

Of course, given CNN's "silence-for-access" policy before the war, Amanpour's protestations are a trifle misplaced.


Posted 4:05 PM by Tony

Friday, September 12, 2003
Just Like Mike

I love movies, but sometimes, my life is a bit too much like one:

Mike: Then why won't she call...?

Rob: Because you left, man. She's got her own world to deal with in New York. She was a sweet girl but fuck her. You gotta move on. You gotta let go of the past. The future is so beautiful. Every day is so sunny out here. It's like Manifest Destiny man. I mean, we made it. What's past is prologue. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. All that shit. You'll get over it.

Mike: How did you get over it? I mean how long 'til it stopped hurting?

Rob: Sometimes is still hurts. You know how it is, man. I mean, each day you think about it less and less. And then one day you wake up and you don't think of it at all, and you almost miss that feeling. It's kinda weird. You miss the pain because it was part of your life for so long. And the, boom, something reminds you of her, and you just smile that bittersweet smile.

Well, maybe not quite, but almost, sometimes.

Please pardon my venting.


Posted 6:25 AM by Tony

Thursday, September 11, 2003
Last Words

The Observer has published a 4 page document found in the baggage of Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers (found via LGF:

Then implement the way of the prophet in taking prisoners. Take prisoners and kill them. As Almighty God said: 'No prophet should have prisoners until he has soaked the land with blood. You want the bounties of this world [in exchange for prisoners] and God wants the other world [for you], and God is all-powerful, all-wise.' [emphasis added]

All of a sudden, I don't feel as bothered by what happens to al Qaeda detainees.


Posted 2:11 PM by Tony


Memories

Two years.

I sometimes think people have forgotten. This may refresh your memory.

Some "educated" people still don't get it. It sometimes seems that for every Todd Beamer, there's a Jennie Traschen.

Some of our "allies" still don't.

And for God's sake, let's not call them "victims." Let's call them what they are - casualties of a war.

A war that "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."

And as for the faceless army that opposes us, the concept is rather simple: "First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it." We just have to have the will to see it through.

The war isn't over yet - there are still scores to settle.

Check out the posts by Moxie, Bill Whittle, and Allah. And at least one columnist in Canada understands.


Posted 7:44 AM by Tony

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Who's Up For An Impeachment?

Santa Cruz appears to be, from this SF Chronicle article:

The Santa Cruz City Council became the first in the country Tuesday night to demand a congressional investigation that could theoretically lead to President Bush's impeachment for the war in Iraq.

At least it could lead to impeachment if there was the slightest chance that a Republican-dominated House Judiciary Committee would comply with demands from tiny, lefty Santa Cruz.

And not even the most ardent supporter of last night's 6-1 vote in Santa Cruz gives that possibility much hope.

But the coalition of peace groups that placed the item before city officials Tuesday are hoping that other communities will follow Santa Cruz's lead, creating a ripple that will be felt in Washington, D.C.

Well, if Santa Cruz is attacking a Republican president, it must be serious, right?


Posted 1:34 PM by Tony

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Vampires

Over at Penny Arcade (one of my favorite web comics), there's a bit on White Wolf's lawsuit against Sony. That site has a copy of the complaint in PDF format. For the sake of preserving their bandwidth, you may want to access it here.

White Wolf is basically alleging that Sony's new movie Underworld copies concepts found in certain White Wolf products, including Vampire: The Masquerade.

The guys at Penny Arcade have their own take on this.

I just hope this doesn't delay the movie. I figure any movie with a gun-toting Kate Beckinsale in a skin-tight suit has got to kick ass.


Posted 6:11 PM by Tony

Monday, September 08, 2003
Article 86 Sentencing

I've written about Stephen Funk here, here, and here. I had been under the impression that his trial date was September 11 - apparently, I was mistaken.

Stephen Funk was found guilty last week by court-martial (via Washington Post):

A jury of four Marines on Saturday found Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk, 21, guilty of unauthorized absence but innocent of a more serious charge, desertion with intent to shirk important duty.

The jury recommended that Funk, who argued he was a conscientious objector, be demoted to private, the Marines' lowest rank, and that his pay be docked by two-thirds during his incarceration. It also recommended a bad conduct discharge, which means Funk would lose his military benefits, a punishment his attorney Steve Collier said is too severe.

Collier said he will request that Funk receive a normal discharge and a prison term of 47 days instead. Lt. Gen. Dennis M. McCarthy, commander of the Marine reserves, has authority to accept or reduce the sentence.

I'm guessing that the reason for finding Funk innocent of desertion was because the prosecutors failed to show Funk knew that he would be sent on important duty (via Times-Picayune/AP):

To convict Funk in a court-martial scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Marine prosecutors have to convince a jury that Funk knew he might be skipping an assignment of heightened importance.

The fact that prosecutors must prove a specific intent by Funk to miss such training may be the soldier's only hope for avoiding conviction.

My guess is that Collier may also attempt to have time already served included in the prison term. Assuming Collier is completely successful, Funk could potentially walk away from all this.

I don't have any particular expertise in this area, so take this with a grain of salt.


Posted 7:43 PM by Tony


Faulty Comparisons

In an otherwise readablearticle on President Roh, the press, and the Japanese occupation of Korea, Cho Se-hyon writes:

Personally, I had the misfortune of living during the colonial years. Even though I was a young elementary school student, I have vivid memories of how humiliating, depressing and fearful life was under the Japanese colonialists. Compared with their brutal, merciless and inhumane rule, today's ruthless communist regime in North Korea is engaging in child's play.

Excuse me? I don't intend to denigrate the brutality of the Japanese occupation (interestingly, Cho doesn't mention the comfort women as an example of Japanese barbarity). However, to consider the North Korean dictatorship as "engaging in child's play" is, literally, astonishing.

Child's play. I don't think this and this can be called "child's play," even in a comparative sense.


Posted 5:47 PM by Tony


Canadian Tourism Slogans

Here's a quote from a story about al Qaeda in Canada (via Instapundit):

"Canada has everything for the discriminating terrorist," says David Harris, former chief of strategic planning at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service - a hybrid of our CIA and FBI.

"It's a convenient place. It's a modern economy so that you can get money, you can transfer money, channel it around the world."

I strongly suspect that the Canadian Tourism Commission won't be using this quote in its ad campaigns.


Posted 11:59 AM by Tony

Friday, September 05, 2003
Translation Time!

Johnny Depp claims that he wasn't slamming on the US when he compared the US to a "dumb puppy," and claims his remarks were taken out of context:

Depp says, "I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it. It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful.

"What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation.

"My deepest apologies to those who were offended, affected or hurt by this insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent."

[emphasis added]


The Stern interview with the "dumb puppy" remark is located here.

The "dumb puppy" remark follows:

[Stern:] Das Verhältnis von Amerika und Frankreich ist nicht das beste.

[Depp:] Amerika ist wie ein dummer Welpe. Mit großen Zähnen. Er kann dich beißen und verletzen. Ein aggressives Land. Die amerikanische Regierung und die Medien haben die Franzosen beschimpft, Präsident Chirac sei ein Tier. Ich war froh, als ich las, dass Pommes frites von "French Fries" in "Freedom Fries" umbenannt wurden. Erwachsene Männer und Frauen in Machtpositionen, Leute in der Regierung outeten sich auf einmal selbst als Idioten. Ich dachte: Endlich zeigt ihr der Welt, was für Volltrottel ihr seid. Man muss nur unseren Präsidenten anschauen, unglaublich. Ihm ging es im Irak nur ums Geschäft. Um Kontrolle. Geld. Und er ist einer der schlechtesten Lügner, die ich je gesehen habe.

Unfortunately, I don't know German, and only found the puppy remark by using Babelfish. From what I could make of the translation, I don't think his words were taken out of context, but I could be wrong.

Anyone want to give it a shot?


Posted 4:47 PM by Tony


Birth Manipulations

Everybody has at least one area of sensitivity. By this, I mean an area where an offense is guaranteed to cause rage.

For me, one of these areas relates to citizenship. My American citizenship is something I value highly, even though I received it just by being born here.

I feel that part of being an American citizen is having an emotional connection to America. This connection includes appreciation that our sacrifices made at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Iwo Jima. The knowledge that the U.S. Consitution is one of the greatest documents ever created. A bone-deep awareness of who we are and the qualities that make us American that can never be perfectly expressed in words. It's manifested in our national self-confidence, and illustrated most starkly by the gap in perception between us and our "allies" after 9/11.

Carthidae has a link to this news article in the Chosun Ilbo. It relates to the cynical manipulation of citizenship laws by pregnant Korean women who purposely enter the US so that their kids can gain American citizenship:

The number of pregnant women going abroad to bear their babies in English-speaking countries for citizenship advantages has been quietly rising across all social strata. The figure is up from 3,000 in 2001 to a projected 7,000 for this year.


According to a company that organizes such trips, it used to be mostly the wives of doctors and lawyers who went abroad to have their babies; but now the practice is widespread, attracting even the wives of ordinary salarymen and owners of small shops. The company says more and more pregnant women are calling for appointments.

Couples prefer Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States because these countries automatically grant citizenship to babies born on their territories.

Until about two years ago, about 75 percent of the pregnant women going abroad to give birth preferred the United States as a destination, but now more are choosing Canada and New Zealand, saying they are less costly and do not require an entrance visa.

With entrances by pregnant foreigners up sharply, these countries have begun to impose strict regulations on these women. New Zealand said this week that it would start forcing foreigners going there to have babies to pay for the related medical costs.

New Zealand had been the only country among the main English-speaking nations where the Korean women could have their babies with the state paying the entire tab.

The United States, for its part, will shorten the time pregnant women can stay in the country, which is now usually about 30 days.

Travel agents here sell basic packages to go abroad for 50 days and have a baby - they cost W1.5-3.5 million won for America and W1.5-2.5 million for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Since the travel-abroad baby boom began in 1999, about 105 travel agencies have begun offering the packages.

This is absolutely infuriating and insulting.

One might argue that I'm being hypocritical about it because my parents were Korean citizens when I was born. There's a tremendous difference, however. My parents had decided to make a life for themselves in the United States, and had committed themselves to staying here permanently.

Compare that to these people who fly in, drop a child, then go back to Korea. Why should these kids gain American citizenship when they'll never grow up with any connection to America, and whose parents have no intention of making any committment to America?

My only comfort is that, in comparison, New Zealand was dumb enough to pay for the privilege of being manipulated, at least until recently.

Cathartidae has a link to a site, run by the Hana Medical Center, located in Van Nuys, Pacoima and Los Angeles. The site promotes a systematic program aimed at getting Korean mothers to travel to the US, popping off a kid, then departing back to Korea, baby and American citizenship in hand.

I think it's about time to tighten up the immigration laws:

Pregnant woman on a tourist visa = no automatic citizenship for the child

Granted, there may be exceptions where a foreigner is here for an extended length of time without having decided to give permanent residence a shot, for example, those on work or student visas. Those people may end up staying permanently, contributing to American society. But tourist visas are something else entirely.

Now, if you're a certain type of Korean citizen, you're probably already thinking, "Tony's a baeshinja (traitor)."

Well, f*ck you too.


Posted 3:04 PM by Tony


Hearing Aid(e) Needed

Some people are just waaaay too touchy, and hard of hearing:

An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stormed out of a presentation by Victor Davis Hanson, author of the book Mexifornia about illegal immigration in California. The Pelosi aide, Federico de Jesus, said Hanson's views were racist and backed that up by accusing Hanson of being an admitted "classist."

Hanson is in fact a scholar of ancient Greece and Rome and had been introduced to the group as a, "classicist," a distinction apparently lost on de Jesus, who proceeded to storm out of the room, trying as he left to grab one of the pizzas that had been brought in for the participants. Pelosi called the whole thing a misunderstanding.

I'm always amused how lefties almost reflexively call opponents racists.

And I shudder to think of what would have happened had Hanson been introduced as a "pianist."


Posted 11:55 AM by Tony


Prognostication

Before the Iraq war, Rumsfeld had mentioned Germany, Syria, and Cuba as refusing to help in the reconstruction of Iraq (via Deutsche Welle):

Berlin has not reacted to statements by U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld putting Germany in the same category as Libya and Cuba.

Testifying at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Rumsfeld [ ] said these three countries had ruled out any role in a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq or post-war reconstruction.

According to Rumsfeld, a "pretty good group of countries" had indicated they would help rebuild Iraq after any departure of President Saddam Hussein.

"Then, there are three or four countries that have said they won't do anything," he said. "I believe Libya, Cuba and Germany are ones that have indicated they won't help in any respect."

Rumsfeld did not name any other countries as having ruled out a role, not even the four blacklisted by Washington as alleged state sponsors of terrorism along with Iraq, Libya and Cuba: Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea.

[emphasis added]

Then, in today's Globe and Mail, there's this, on the reaction to a draft UN resolution relating to reconstruction:

France, Germany and Syria criticized it while supporters of the Iraq war welcomed it as a positive step.

Well how about that?


Posted 11:50 AM by Tony

Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Interviews

Howard Bashman at How Appealing has an interview with Judge William Curtis Bryson of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The Federal Circuit, among its other duties, handles all appeals of all patent cases nationwide.

Just follow this link.

I thought this part of Judge Bryson's answer to question 5 interesting:

In a typical sitting week, a judge on our court will have, perhaps, sixteen argued cases and another eight submitted cases. We sit every month, and I spend the first week and a half to two weeks of each month working on opinions. So that leaves a week to a week and a half to read briefs in preparation for the week of sitting. That means I have five to seven working days to read and digest 48 briefs, not counting reply briefs. A dense, 60-page brief that is hard to plow through is not a very welcome sight in the middle of that process. It would be lovely if we had only four or five cases to prepare for each month and could devote days to each one, but there is no appellate court in the land that has that luxury. You can imagine how refreshing and effective a lucid, simple, nonrepetitive presentation can be in that setting. That is particularly true of an appellant's brief. The fact of the matter is that, as appellate court dockets get larger and larger, the presumption of correctness attached to lower tribunal decisions gets stronger. The default position is to affirm, and it is easy for an ineffective presentation to mask decent appeal points so that a case gets tossed into the "probable affirmance" pile early on. That's a hard pile to escape from, and you normally can't count on your brilliance at oral argument to save you. So the main message is, keep it simple, make it clear, don't lard it up with footnotes that head off on tangents that are of interest to you but are not going to affect the court's decision in the case. Don't put something in just because you did the work and don't want it to go to waste. And, most importantly, remember that the purpose of the brief is to persuade, not to impress.
[emphasis added]

Something to remember, I think.


Posted 5:10 PM by Tony


Stupid Web Trick Of The Day

A new Internet version of the clock. (via Parkway Rest Stop)

Can't stop laughing at the sheer absurdity of it all.


Posted 11:09 AM by Tony


Safe Havens

There's a piece over at Shark Blog which points out a rather interesting statistic.

Let's hear it for our elected representatives.


Posted 10:00 AM by Tony


A Traitor By Any Other Name

Jonathan Pollard wants early release:

"The Jonathan Pollard case is a stain on the American legal process," his attorney Eliot Lauer said. "The government agreed they would not seek a life sentence, and that's exactly what they did . . . and Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly been denied justice."

[ . . . ]

Pollard, the son of a Jewish academic, was a civilian analyst for the Navy when he offered his services to Israeli intelligence officers in the belief that the United States should have been sharing the information with Tel Aviv. He was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy. The Israeli government granted Pollard citizenship and has repeatedly sought his release.

Though prosecutors said in a plea agreement that they would not seek a life sentence, Chief Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. meted out that sentence. Pollard and his then-wife, Anne -- who served three years in prison for aiding him -- acknowledged that they had violated terms of their plea agreements by granting interviews to reporters before sentencing.

Screw that. A person in a sensitive post admitted to handing over classified documents, and compromised America's efforts to keep its secrets from foreign nations. He is a man forsworn, and a life sentence seems appropriate to me.

Ralph Peters puts it better:

Pollard was in court yesterday asking for a reduction in his sentence. But he should have been executed for his crimes. His life sentence was a mercy he didn't deserve. Releasing him from prison while he's still breathing would be terrible for America - and even worse for Israel.

Spying is spying. Treason is treason. Such acts must be punished and deterred, without exception. It doesn't matter if the recipient of the information is North Korea, Israel or even Canada. Every American citizen's first and incontrovertible loyalty must be to the United States.

Many of us have loyalties and even family ties abroad. Every country in the world is represented in America. But while we may celebrate our various heritages, no American may ever place the welfare of another state, or of a religious group or ethnicity, above his or her obligations to our Constitution and our national security.

No exceptions. None. Never.

Perhaps the saddest - and most dangerous - aspect of the Pollard case is that demands for his release are an enormous gift to anti-Semites and Israel-haters. Pollard, who has managed to recast himself as a champion of Israel, was no such thing: He was as willing to sell secrets to China or to various Muslim states as he was to pass information to Israel. His hallmark was greed, not courage.

Pollard's supporters would protest that Pollard got life, while Robert Kim, who I've blogged about before here and here, did not. So what? I, for one, would have been perfectly happy with Kim joining Pollard in a life sentence.

Pollard and Kim may not have been found guilty of treason in the legal sense of the term. However, in the more common "oath betrayer" sense of the term, a traitor by any other name is still a traitor.


Posted 9:32 AM by Tony


Mmm, Chocolate

The SF Chronicle has a story relating to a quality that I admire, the entrepreneurial spirit:

"Would you like some chocolate?" Timothy Childs, standing on a sidewalk in Noe Valley on a recent Saturday, offers a small piece of candy to a passing shopper. Because it is summer in San Francisco, Childs wears a parka and an exuberant polar-fleece hat covered with bouncing fuzzy tendrils. The passerby, her own polar-fleece jacket zipped up to her lips, keeps walking.

"I made it myself!" shouts Childs. The woman turns around and takes the half-inch piece of dark chocolate Childs offers her, chewing as he begins his spiel: "It's the best chocolate you'll ever eat. We took pure Venezuelan cacao and found a way to make it soft and velvety."

The woman appears to tune out when the first wave of chocolate blankets the inside of her mouth. When the second wave of flavor hits her, she gets a funny look on her face, like she's having too much fun in public. "I think I'd like to support you," she says, reaching into her pocket for $14.99 for a four-ounce box of Cabaret chocolates.

I have to admire the inherent risk-taking quality of entrepreneurs, though I'm not sure I share in that quality myself.

I also love the concept - making chocolate is rocket science!


Posted 8:35 AM by Tony

Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Feeling Smarter Already

I used to equate the New Yorker with a certain suave, smart, cool sophistication.

Then, I got better.

A New Yorker blurb on Sent by Earth by Alice Walker points out that:

[Alice Walker] has transcended expectations in her response to September 11. Sent by Earth...is simple, practical, and beyond argument.

The New Yorker's approval graces a book containing the following passage on Osama bin Laden [for the memory-impaired, I'd point you to where the World Trade Center used to be]:

But what would happen to his cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, non-violent things he has done? Further, what would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? This is not as simple a question as it might appear. I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love. Or, as the Buddha said: Hatred will never cease by hatred. By love alone is it healed."

I agree completely, if love comes in .50 caliber sizes.

The New Yorker feels that stuff like this is "simple, practical, and beyond argument."

I'm feeling smarter already.


Posted 5:35 PM by Tony


Stranger Than Fiction

The Washington Post notes a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, Summerlin v. Stewart (PDF here), which examines whether or not death penalty sentences imposed by judges are subject to review in habeas corpus proceedings.

The Court's introduction is a bit lurid:

It is the raw material from which legal fiction is forged: A vicious murder, an anonymous psychic tip, a romantic encounter that jeopardized a plea agreement, an allegedly incompetent defense, and a death sentence imposed by a purportedly drug-addled judge. But, as Mark Twain observed, “truth is often stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.”

A interesting facts:

1. Attorneys' name changed to "Jane Roe" and "John Doe" = clear sign of a f**kup.

a. During the course of the proceedings, Roe, the defendant's public defendar, and Doe, the prosecutor on the case, left a Christmas party toegether and "had what she later described as a 'personal involvement . . . of a romantic nature.'"

b. Apparently, neither Roe nor Doe informed anyone of their compromised interests until much later.

2. The defendant's mother-in-law was the one providing the tipoff:

The caller later was identified as Summerlin’s mother-in-law who testified that the basis of her information was her daughter’s extra-sensory perception.

3. A marijuana-using sentencing judge:

The amount of marijuana that Judge Marquardt may have used during the trial or deliberations is unknown because the district court did not allow discovery on this issue, although there is record support for Summerlin’s claim that Judge Marquardt was either having difficulty concentrating or experiencing short-term memory loss.

Definitely attention-getting stuff, and a lesson in both criminal procedure and professional responsibility.

And I'm feeling quite proud that I managed to get to this topic before the CrimLaw blog. Woo. :)


Posted 4:35 PM by Tony


An Orange County native trapped in the SF Bay Area. Email at orblog-at-yahoo.com.

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