People in my hometown were at all four corners of some of our main drags this morning and last night with Pro-Prop 8 banners. They included "Prop 8 = Religious Freedom", "Prop 8 = Less Government", "Prop 8 = Parental Rights", Prop 8 = Free Speech" and "Yes on Prop 8 - Bring Back Marriage."
People, please. Prop 8 means gay people can't call their marriages marriages, and can't have quite all of the benefits of marriage. It's more government, not less. It's not about schools or parental rights. It's not about suppression of speech or free speech. It's not about religious freedom. It's not about bringing back marriage rights that were lost. It's about going back to denying gays the right to be in a marriage.
If you think that's good for society, vote accordingly, but please don't carry bullshit signs that try to tell me it's about safe schools and religious freedom and the first amendment.
A judge threw out a Nebraska legislator's lawsuit against God, on the ground that the defendant cannot be served. The plaintiff, State Senator Ernie Chambers, sought a permanent injunction against God for causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." He claims the suit was intended to demonstrate that anyone can sued anyone for anything.
In the dismissal order, Douglas County District Court Judge Marlon Polk wrote that "Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice." Weird, right? It gets weirder.
Chambers, who graduated from law school but never took the bar exam, believes he found a basis for appeal in that order.
"The court itself acknowledges the existence of God. A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God's omniscience. Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit."
Sorry, Ernie. Acknowledging the existence of God is not the same as acknowledging that omniscience of God. You can acknowledge the existence of God without believing that God pays attention to the goings on of Earthlings, much less believing that God knows all and sees all. In other words, "God exists, therefore God knows about my lawsuit" is a great big logical failure.
Methinks I know why Chambers never took the bar exam. A man has to know his limits.
According to CNN, "a national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top, but there was overwhelming agreement that both Obama and John McCain would be able to handle the job of president if elected." That means Obama pretty much won the debate, right? Not so fast, my friend. There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. But look at the statistics and you'll see that the debate was watched more eagerly by Democrats, so the poll's sampling had 51% more Democrats than Republicans.
Fifty-one percent of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night's debate, while 38 percent said John McCain did better. The results may be favoring Obama simply because more Democrats than Republicans tuned in to the debate.
Of the debate-watchers questioned in this poll, 41 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans and 30 percent as independents.
In other words, if you assume that each candidate was supported by viewers from his own party, it means that:
10 out of 30 independents thought Obama did better, and
11 out of 30 independents thought McCain did better.
That looks to me more like a push, with a slight edge to McCain.
Someone else did a better job of pointing out the root cause of this mortgage mess than I did on Friday.
Memo to Sarah Palin, next time Katie Couric lobs you a softball like asking when, oh when, did John McCain propose more regulation, tell her "How about 'The Housing Enterprise Regulatory Act of 2005' Senate Bill S-190, Katie. That might have even prevented dis whole mess."
If you guessed that the Bush administration was the one pushing for less oversight when it came to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you guessed wrong. When the GOP pushed for more regulatory oversight five years ago, blowhard Barney Frank and the Democrats painted it as an attempt to prevent working class Americans out of the affordable housing market.
From the September 11, 2003 New York Times:
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.'' Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed. ''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.
I'll be watching the debate from Bubba Gump's and probably won't hear a damn thing, so this is all I have on the current, most relevant topic.
But if I was John McCain, I'd love it even more if, during a debate, Barack Obama goes to the "they said Lincoln was unprepared, too" card. Because if he does, John McCain could look back at him and say
"Senator, I served with Abe Lincoln. I knew Abe Lincoln. Abe Lincoln was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Abe Lincoln."
This is a truly devastating political ad, unless Obama can come out with a response ad that shows that second quote to be taken wildly out of context.
[Update: here is the context. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart: "You may end up going against a Senate colleague, perhaps McCain, perhaps Frist?" Sen. Biden: "John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off -- be well off no matter who..." Stewart: "Did I hear, Did I hear with?" Sen. Biden: "You know, John McCain and I think" Stewart: "Don't become cottage cheese my friend. Say it." Sen. Biden: "The answer is yes."]
I did not sign up for the Barack Obama text message announcing his choice for vice-president. I knew that it was just an excuse to get a list of text message recipients for the campaign to beg for money from, and I don't really need half a dozen "please send money" texts each day. But many people did, and some of those people do not put their phones on silent ring when they go to bed at night. So this morning, some of them were awakened at three o'clock in the morning by their cell phone ringing with a new text about Joe Biden.
I hate when the phone rings between midnight and 7 a.m. It's almost never good news, so I wake up and assume something terrible has happened. If it isn't something terrible, and you wake me up for it, I'm going to chew your ass out. I once bitched at my dad for calling me at two in the morning to tell me my aunt had won a spectacularly large slot machine payout. My philosophy is that good news can wait until morning. Always has. Always should. I'm not the only one who thinks like that.
Someone forgot to tell the empty suits in Obama Biden land. I guess they took those "It's 3 AM" ads too seriously, and for some reason, they thought, "the president is busy sending texts" was going to be an impressive answer.
Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his VP candidate. I really wanted John Edwards to be the next vice-president. There. I said it. Beyond that, I originally wanted him to be the next president. That was then. Now I think the man is too unprincipled and too foolish to be anything important.
I've heard people complain how disgusting it is that the news media has stooped so low as to consider the John Edwards affair "news", as if to say that we used to live in a grand age wherein such "news" was kept private. Those people are probably not old enough to recall the 1884 campaign slogan used by Grover Cleveland's opponents: "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha." Curious, eh? At first, the L.A. Times thought the John Edwards affair wasn't news, because he wasn't a candidate anymore, it hurt his sick wife, and it was just tabloid trash. He's still not a candidate, his wife is still sick, and the story is still tabloid fodder. But itbecamenews, dinnit?
"I think every single candidate for president, Republican and Democratic have lives, personal lives, that indicate something about what kind of human being they are. And I think it is a fair evaluation for America to engage in, to look at, what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make."
Beyond curious, Elizabeth Edwards's "diary" on the matter was downright bizarre. Essentially, she complains that the public is gobbling up her private embarrassment that is two years in the past, and that the new story is not news, and everyone should just try to understand and support her and John as she stands by her man. At least 99% of ordinary wives who had been cheated on in 2006, when confronted with the fact that her husband was flying across the country to meet with his "ex"-mistress in the wee hours of the morning wouldn't be supporting that asshole one little bit. But then again, less than 1% of wives have a scoundrel of a husband who has brought their family into the fold of America's ruling elite. Since I'm not part of that one percent, I don't understand the mindset.
Not surprisingly, the former mistress says she will not participate in DNA testing to establish the paternity of her daughter, even though her family wants to see it happen. Rielle Hunter's lawyer says she wishes to maintain the privacy of her and her daughter, so she is making no statement now or in the future and will not participate in DNA testing or any other invasion of her or her daughter's privacy now or in the future. Of course, nothing would bring more privacy to her and her daughter than a DNA test that said John Edwards was not the daddy.
I don't really care that John Edwards cheated on his wife. I care that he's a liar, a hypocrite, and a deluded narcissist who ran a campaign knowning damn full well that there was a ticking time bomb that could have blown up the election at any time. But soon, I just won't care about John Edwards anymore. She's just another empty suit. A good trial lawyer from a state in which I don't live, trying cases that have nothing to do with me. His 15 seconds are over.
Barack Obama is all about words. What does Barack Obama offer us, if not words? The man has accomplished little, if anything, in government. He sells us hope, wrapped in words. Little else. He's a great speaker, and his ability to charm people with his words is what makes him who he is today. But if words are just words, perhaps Senator Obama is just an empty suit.
"Don't tell me words don't matter", says Barack Obama, in this speech, supposedly his best speech ever (but borrowed without attribution from Deval Patrick).
"I have a dream" ... just words?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal" ... just words?
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself" ... just words?
But how about this one: "I am my brother's keeper." Just words? Does it really matter that Barack Obama has a half-brother living in Kenya on a dollar a month? Some people say this is a total non-issue. He's not his brother's keeper. But is he? Let's ask Barack Obama. Start paying attention just before the three minute mark. Yes, he does say he is his brother's keeper, doesn't he? And that we are all our brother's keepers. And that this is what makes America so great.
"I am my brother's keeper." Just words? Yeah, just words.
That long journey of America helping develop foreign nations, as a good neighbor must, is a journey of 1000 miles that Obama should start with the single step of helping his dirt poor brother. Or, alternatively, and equally acceptable to me, he can shut the hell up about the debt that I owe to strangers, and how he is going to help me pay that debt. Barack Obama is just an empty suit. All he has are words. And they are just words.
I am opposed to AB 1634, the proposed California Healthy Pets Act. If passed, AB1634 would require almost all dogs and cats in California to be spayed or neutered. I think that encouraging people to spay and neuter their pets is good. Giving people benefits for spaying or neutering is good. But making it so that no amateurs can ever breed a litter of puppies or kittens is an unreasonable restraint on personal freedoms. I've never abandoned a litter of puppies to a dog shelter, but if I want to breed my dog, I should damn well be allowed to do it.
But if personal freedom is not enough to inspire people, maybe fear tactics will work better. Because, as this recent blog post from the OC Register demonstrates, if this bill passes, your lipstick will become more expensive, and fish food will be affordable only to the super-elite.
Every week, a truck pulls up to the county Animal Shelter in Orange. The carcasses of some 400 dead dogs, cats, bunnies and other unlucky creatures are loaded up. Then the truck hauls them to the West Coast Rendering plant in Vernon.
There, the remnants of Fido and Fluffy (alongside the carcasses of slaughtered cows, pigs, chickens and restaurant scraps) are essentially cooked at very high temperatures for hours. What happens then?
Frothy fat floats to the top of the stew, eventually making its way into lipsticks, lubricants, polishes, waxes.
The harder fats settle in the middle, eventually appearing in soaps, candles, drugs, gummy candies.
The densest stuff falls to the bottom. It’s dried, squeezed, dried again and finely ground, to create a protein powder that becomes a key ingredient in animal feed. The meat and bone meal made from ”companion animals” isn’t supposed to make its way into feed in the U.S. But protein meal containing Fluffy and Fido sells overseas, where it’s apparently popular for fish feed on fish farms.
Wait. WTF? Did I read that right? Gummie candies? Our freaking gummy candies are made of fat from the boiled remains of animal shelter discards?
I think I'm about done eating delicious gummy candies.
... I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal....
The nomination of Barry Obama will forever be remembered as the day the oceans stopped rising slowed their rise? Does this guy think he's Moses? Does he think he's GOD?
Hillary Rodham Clinton told colleagues on Tuesday that she would consider joining Barack Obama as his running mate, and advisers said she was withholding a formal departure from the race partly to use her remaining leverage to press for a spot on the ticket. Even more interesting, although few are discussing it openly, is Clinton's plan to approach John McCain and seek a spot on the Republican ticket if she is rebuffed by the Obama camp.
"What an incredible ticket this would be!" suggested one high-ranking Clinton campaign official. "With Senator McCain's draw among Christians, wealthy Americans and right-wing wackos and dittoheads, and Senator Clinton's support among atheists, gays, middle-class Americans, hard-working white Americans, feminists and the left-wing nutjobs who don't hate America, Senator Obama would have difficulty winning even a single electoral vote." Another supporter added, "What are the Republicans going to do, vote for Obama? I don't think so."
Obama insiders consider the threat to be a bluff, and opine that Senator McCain is likely to reject the idea of a McCain-Clinton ticket. "That won't dissuade her," added the Clinton campaigner. "She's been advised that this is a possibility, and Senator Clinton is prone to believing what she wants to believe. Don't forget that this is the same woman who thought that the Monica Lewinsky allegations were part of a vast right-wing conspiracy, and who thinks that the possibility of a June assassination is a reason to continue campaigning."
Senator Clinton has made no formal comment regarding the rumors. Senator McCain, shown above admiring Mrs. Clinton at an earlier event, has also not denied the rumors. Stay here for further updates as they become available.
Hillary has taken to calling herself the "Rocky" of the campaign. Aside from the fact that Rocky was a slow, dim-witted heavy old washed-up poor dude when he suddenly found success, it's a great comparison. Because in the end of the film, Rocky loses the decision to his black opponent.
New York's new governor, David Patterson, wanted to get off to a clean start, so one of the first things he did as governor was tell the Daily News that he had extramarital affairs for a few years, back around 1999-2001,, in particular. He wants to make one thing abundantly clear: that motel room he was using on September 10, 2001 (and still on 9/11) was for official state business, not for sexy time with the mistress. So now that we know, he doesn't want anyone to get all impeachy on him. Fair 'nough?
So this news clip airs, discussing the opening of new Barack Obama campaign headquarters in Houston. People notice that the wall behind the desk has no American flags, but a Che Guevara communist flag.
The reaction is negative.
But wait. That banner was hung by a silly young person who doesn't know any better, right? Wrong. It was hung there by Maria Isabel, an older, Cuban-American (who should know better), who is the campaign "'precinct captain," co-chair of the Houston Obama Leadership Team, and someone who is well-connected enough in the campaign to meet and greet the candidate for some photo-ops.
So the local media seeks her out for an explanation. They get none. To paraphrase, she says she's too important a person, and too busy working on Senator Obama's campaign to answer silly questions like why the Obama campaign headquarters in Houston features the flag of a vicious communist murderer rather than the stars and stripes.
The reaction from the national Obama campaign was pretty mellow.
"We were disappointed to see this picture, because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans -- and Americans of all backgrounds -- and because it does not reflect Senator Obama's views."
No resignations, reassignments, condemnations. Just "disappointment.
Chris Matthews: "You're a big Barack supporter, right Senator? ... Name some of his accomplishments, if you can."
Texas State Senator Kirk Watson: "Uh ...." [crickets]
According to some anti-Obama sites I found when I googled "Obama sponsored bills" he has two: a bill to name a post office, and a bill to provide relief and promote democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Senator Clinton got busted last week for "planting" questions in a town hall type rally.
"After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. 'They were canned,' she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. 'One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],' she said. "Clinton called on Gallo-Chasanoff after her speech to ask a question: what Clinton would do to stop the effects of global warming. Clinton began her response by noting that young people often pose this question to her before delving into the benefits of her plan.
I should have known they were up to something when I went to a rally earlier this year and a "random" audience member was picked to ask the following question: "Senator, you are clearly the most qualified candidate in the field. Can you elaborate?"
We normally think almost all protesters are idiots, and this is probably no exception, but because these guys are protesting the imprisonment of all the lawyers, I'll go ahead and pimp it a little bit. Good luck, guys.
Speak Out: Protect Human Rights in PAKISTAN FRIDAY, NOV. 9th
Time: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm Location : Pakistan Consulate- 10850 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (intersection- Malcolm and Wilshire, 2 BLOCKS EAST OF THE 405 FREEWAY IN WESTWOOD )
End the violence and abuse against the people of Pakistan
Free all activists, lawyers, judges and others detained since the declaration of state of emergency
Stop feeding the dictatorship in Pakistan that continues to violate human rights.
For more info: Bokhari (310) 918-4427, Mazhar (310) 293-2557, Arsal (310) 908-3810, Hamid (562) 230-4578
Commentary on Pakistan by John Parker delivered on KPFK Mid-day News Today: After repeatedly trying to frame the issue as one of "freedom" and "democracy" versus authoritarianism, Washington is hard-pressed to find any justification for its support of the hated Pakistani Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Dictators like Musharraf, who heads the now nuclear armed Pakistan army, and his U.S.-supported predecessors are depended upon by U.S. imperialism to maintain control over the region and quell any national liberation movements there with the justification of defending democracy. However, last week's announcement by Musharraf declaring martial law, suspending the constitution, ousting the head of the supreme court and arresting by the hundreds lawyers in opposition, continue to make this regime seem anything but democratic.
Ironically, this move is primarily a result of the pressure put on Musharraf by the U.S. to maintain tighter control and repression over Pakistan. Since 9/11 the U.S. sent $9.6 billion in aid to Pakistan, mostly for the military and to secure Musharraf's obedience to allow, on Pakistani soil, the U.S. "war on terror." The U.S. uses the excuse of fighting Islamic fundamentalism as a means to cover its war for the oil of the Middle East and Iran for the sake of profits for the rich ruling class here.
For Musharaff, that meant saying yes to the U.S. plan in July to send Pakistan's tanks and troops to destroy a mosque in central Islamabad, killing students and teachers.
Last month it meant carrying out an offensive in the northwest territories bordering Afghanistan, where both U.S. and Pakistani armed forces bombed supposed headquarters of local leaders sympathetic to the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan against U.S. occupation. Even before this offensive in Pakistan, Pakistanis were very aware of the brutal war being carried out against their neighbors in Afghanistan and can sometimes hear the roar of U.S. jet planes as they unload their deadly bombs. This is why, during that offensive, although many Pakistani civilians were killed, the army suffered major losses as well.
That's because the resistance in Pakistan to U.S. orchestrated domination, as in Iraq and Iran, is strong and grows daily.
And, as opposition to U.S. domination grows there it must also grow here in the belly of the beast. This is why leaders in the South Asian community here in Los Angeles are holding a protest to Protect Human Rights in Pakistan occurring tomorrow Friday, November 9th at 2:30 pm at the Pakistan Consulate located at 10850 Wilshire Blvd, corner of Malcolm and Wilshire. You can call 562-230-4578 for further information about this protest. I hope to see you there.
Suppose a Republican came out and said that blacks were more likely to be in prison than in college, even though black men are four times as likely to be enrolled in college than to be behind bar. He'd be branded a racist, don't you think?
That's why guys like Obama are democrats. It gives you the right to say false stuff like this:
"We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America." --Barrack Obama, NAACP forum, July 12, 2007.
Or how about this one:
"The idea that we can keep incarcerating and keep incarcerating -- pretty soon we're not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They're all going to be in prison or dead. One of the two." --John Edwards, MTV political forum, September 27, 2007
According to 2005 Census Bureau statistics, the male African-American population of the United States aged between 18 and 24 numbered 1,896,000. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 106,000 African-Americans in this age group were in federal or state prisons at the end of 2005.
According to the same census data, 530,000 of these African-American males, or twenty eight percent, were enrolled in colleges or universities (including two-year-colleges) in 2005. That is five times the number of young black men in federal and state prisons and two and a half times the total number incarcerated. If you expanded the age group to include African-American males up to thirty or thirty five, the college attendees would still outnumber the prisoners.
"I was entirely against a resolution condemning Turkish atrocities against the Armenians when Bill Clinton also opposed it. Then it occurred to me that if we passed such a resolution, the Turks would be furious enough to end their assistance with American military operations into the Iraq and such as. Once I found out from the Pentagon that 70 percent of the military's cargo heading into Iraq either flies into or over Turkey, I knew that 1.5 million dead Armenians' memories could finally be put to a good political use, and now I wholeheartedly support the resolution." Sincerely, Politically Correctness
According to an article published this week in the Recorder, UCLA School of Law professor Richard Sander wants access to data to study whether affirmative action increases or decreases black students' access to becoming a lawyer. Specifically, he wants to study whether affirmative action sets up black students for failure by placing them in schools for which they are unqualified, and is possibly the cause of black students' high failure rates on bar exams around the country. To find out if this was true, he asked the California State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners for access to historic data on past bar exam scores, including the race and academic credentials for each applicant, not including, however, individual names. The Bar said no.
Sander previously published an article in The Stanford Law Review, using bar exam failure and passage rates obtained for a national study by the nonprofit Law School Admissions Council to assert that race-based preferences had opened the doors of elite law schools to minority students who were academically unprepared. As a result of that mismatch, the article asserted, there were about 8 percent fewer black attorneys in 2004 than there would have been if law schools had employed color-blind admissions practices. For those who question his motives, Sander points out that his has always been a civil rights activist and that he has an African-American son.
Gayle Murphy, the State Bar's senior executive for admissions, says "We're not against people doing research," she said. "And nothing prohibits [Sander] from contacting the law schools directly or even the students themselves." But the reality is that this data would be incomplete, and its findings dismissed, if access to State Bar records are kept private.
Many civil rights leaders, who ostensibly want to advance the interests of black students, are opposed to the study. Michael Yaki, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights opposed the release, saying "we might as well hang a sign saying 'blacks and other minorities need not apply' on the doorways of Yale, Harvard and other elite schools."
John Steele, a lawyer and law professor, told the State Bar "that the problem in understanding and combating exclusion is the absence of careful statistical studies, not the existence of them. "In the absence of well-constructed studies based on sound data," he added, "ignorance reigns."
The data can only do one of two things: it can reinforce the validity of affirmative action, or it can suggest that changes should be made, for the benefit of blacks and other disadvantaged minorities. The preliminary findings suggest that changes would benefit blacks. If so, why do minority advocates oppose knowing this?
"I think that’s pretty lowlife. I have absolutely no use for those people."
He explained that Briley suffers from alcoholism, so his conduct is therefore, somehow still acceptable for an elected public servant, especially one who is also a 40-year-old lawyer and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
After all, the only things Mr. Briley did wrong were to:
cause and leave the scene of an accident;
evade arrest by leading officers on a high-speed chase at speeds near 100 MPH;
register a “high level of intoxication;”
have several bottles of medication on his car seat;
leave to an empty bottle of Maker's Mark on his car seat; and
attempt to kick out the window of the police car after his arrest.
That's all. Seriously. Nothing else. It's not like he tapped his foot in a bathroom stall or anything really dangerous. Besides, five of the six things I mentioned are mere misdemeanors. Only the second one is a felony, and the grand jury hasn't even looked at the arrest report yet. Those crazy partisan GOP bastards.
Why do you have the right to use contraception, have non-commercial consensual sex of whatever kind you want with any consenting adult, obtain an abortion and the like? According to the federal courts, it is the "penumbra of privacy rights" one can infer from the other provisions in the Bill of Rights. In other words, you have the right to not have government poke its nose in your business as it pertains to your body.
I've always thought that this was a good policy, but completely intellectually dishonest from a Constitutional standpoint. The court wanted to give people complete sexual and reproductive freedom, so it made up this non-existent Constitutional right to make up for the contrary decisions, or lack of action, by the legislative branch of government. Deep down, however, the courts know there is no such right, and when sex and abortion are not factors in the analysis, privacy disappears from the Constitution.
Terminally ill patients do not have a constitutional right to be treated with experimental drugs, even if they likely will be dead before the medicine is approved, a federal appeals court said Tuesday. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned last year's decision by a smaller panel of the same court, which held that terminally ill patients may not be denied access to potentially lifesaving drugs. The full court disagreed, saying in an 8-2 ruling that it would not create a constitutional right for patients to assume "any level of risk" without regard to medical testing. "Terminally ill patients desperately need curative treatments," Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote for the majority. But "their deaths can certainly be hastened by the use of a potentially toxic drug with no proven therapeutic benefit."
To paraphrase, you have a constitutional right to privacy over your body when it comes to sexual conduct or aborting an unborn child in your womb. You have no constitutional right to privacy when it comes to ingesting substances that you believe might cure your terminal illness. No, if the government hasn't approved that substance and regulated its sale, you need to just sit there and die. No privacy for you.
The two dissenting justices (who had cast the majority votes in the original 2-1 decision in Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Von Eschenbach before the ruling was reviewed en banc) nailed the issue: Judge Judith W. Rogers called the ruling "startling" and observed that courts have established the right "to marry, to fornicate, to have children, to control the education and upbringing of children, to perform varied sexual acts in private, and to control one's own body even if it results in one's own death or the death of a fetus." However, in the majority's opinion, "the right to try to save one's life is left out in the cold despite its textual anchor in the right to life."
The popular topic of discussion here in the Orange County legal community is the sentencing this morning of Albert Gore III, the son of former Vice President Al Gore Jr. He pleaded guilty today in Orange County Superior Court to unlawful possession of prescription drugs and marijuana and was referred a drug diversion program.
Defense attorney Al Stokke, pictured here as shown in the OC Register, told reporters that Gore got no more or no less than anybody else charged with similar crimes. My friends who do criminal work tell me he's right. I wouldn't know. I'm not that kind of lawyer. Mr. Stokke, incidentally, is the same guy who is getting unwanted attention as the father who doesn't want ephebophiles oggling his teenage daughter's track and field photos.
There were protests all over the state, including a fairly loud rally outside the state capitol building in Sacramento, calling for the release of General Vang Pao. Vang Pao is accused by the U.S. government of plotting to overthrow the government in Laos. I'm not sure why Laos should be any less free from American interoping than, say, Iraq, but apparently it is. I'm also not sure why this was the governor's problem, but apparently it is.
The only reason I knew about it was because I was in Sacramento for a court appearance that was an utter waste of my precious time, and I had to get out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m. to catch the first Southwest flight out of Ontario. After the quick waste of my time in Sacramento County Superior Court, I had nothing useful to do until my 1:25 p.m. flight back. So I got to watch the protest while I ate a sammich.
British historian Edward A. Freeman once argued that the way to solve all of America's problems was if "every Irishman should kill a Negro and be hanged for it." That guy would definitely not have voted for Obama.
What do you do with a politician so corrupt that you can't trust him to sit on the Congressional Ways and Means Committee because he's a crook who accepted bribes and stuffed them (at least the $90,000 he hadn't spent yet) into his freezer? Before you answer the question, suppose that you were recently elected Speaker of the House, and you've promised the American people that you were going to run the most ethical Congress in the history of the United States of America?
The answer, of course, is that you put him on a different prestigious committee. But which one?
So, on what panel should this asshat sit? What would be appropriate? If I was a smart ass, I might jokingly say that this guy belongs on the Homeland Security panel. Then we would all have a good laugh and find out what assignment he really got. But that's what he really got. Nancy Pelosi has appointed Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson to the Homeland Security panel, where it looks like he will remain until he gets convicted and goes to prison.
So, January 31 was "officially" celebrated as Gorilla Suit Day. How ironic that on such a day, news would leak of Al Franken's intentions to run for U.S. Senator in the state of Minnesota. Franken's big break in show biz came when he landed the role of Baggage Handler #1 in Trading Places, wherein he was one of two imbeciles in charge of a caged gorilla who was later joined in the cage by Clarence Beeks in a gorilla suit. The baggage handlers ate bananas and watched in amusement as Beeks was about to get suit-raped by the real gorilla. That's kind of how I envision a world ruled by Al Franken, but I'm not sure who, in my little metaphor, would be the gorilla, who would be Beeks, and who would be the banana.
Look at the bullshit the KosWiki has ripping conservatives for personal responsibility in their daily personal, social and political lives:
Are you willing to give up a night with your family or your beer to help a friend in need? A friend calls up at 5:30 on a Saturday and says (s)he really needs your help? Then you're not a Republican Conservative.
Are you willing to give your time, your thought, your sweat, your convenience... to help a friend in need? Even though that friend hasn't called you in a while? Then you're not a Republican Conservative.
Your good friend (whom you haven't heard from in quite a while) has suddenly been fired. (yeah, thankfully, they have Unemployment Insurance (A 'lieberal' invention, if ever there was one) to see them through the next few months). Do you say 'tough tittie, my loser acquaintance, hope you aren't homeless the next time you call' or do you extend the hand, the shoulder, the sympathy? If you do, you're not a Republican Conservative.
Conservatives like to talk about personal responsibility. Usually, this is an excuse for selfish behavior, a way of saying, “go fend for yourself, weakling, I ain’t helping.” But the phrase has such a nice sound to it… personal responsibility… that it’s hard to counter.
Meanwhile, liberals support the idea that Americans have a responsibility to their fellow men; that we should care about each other and help each other out in a pinch. We call this virtue charity or social responsibility.
I am proposing that we rename charity to interpersonal responsibility – literally, the responsibility we have to each other. This renaming has two effects. First, the word “responsibility” emphasizes the fact that it’s not an option. Taking care of each other isn’t something we can do if we feel nice this afternoon. It’s a daily responsibility, which we owe to each other.
Second, the phrase interpersonal responsibility is intentionally similar to the phrase personal responsibility. The similarity implicitly places the two value systems in face-to-face contrast with each other. While personal responsibility sounds good taken in isolation, it sounds cheap and selfish when placed side-by-side with interpersonal responsibility. It’s the difference between looking out for numero uno and looking out for one’s fellow man.
To maximize the effect, we need to push this as a dichotomy. The goal is to make it so that every time a conservative says “personal responsibility,” the listener will silently finish the sentence: “or interpersonal responsibility, which is morally superior?”
yes..."interpersonal responsibility" means nothing?? Do you really think most voters know what this means??? This only serves to re-enforce the notion that all liberals are hi-falutin', and ......ELITE AND NUANCED. We must reach people on the issue of "Responsibility" head on, and the way republicans do it. Which simply put,...responsibility means you take care of yourself,( and if you haven't...go to charity, friends, or Jesus.) Born again church groups and prayer groups will help you, and you of course become new REP voters as well. RESPONSIBILITY IS A VICE intended to bring in religion, AND SHAME for those unable to plan better, or be unfortunate enough to have been caught up in an unforseen disaster. Again..".Responsibility "induces begging, prayer, dependence, shame, and finally and very cleverly lets Govt participation in our social responsibility/compact with our citizens off the hook. "Interpersonal Responsibiity" with who? We should reframe Reponsibility and attack and expose the manner in which repubs use these slogans/memes against AVOIDING THEIR responsibility to us. Suggestion: " Republican Responibility Means Refusal"Refusal is Republican Responsibility"......."Responsibility means having the ability to work so as to feed our families. To pay for drugs, to educate our children, etc. There are memes here and good framing for dems against the repub use of this framing.
I'm not sure which political ads annoy me the most this year, but the two that keep coming to mind are the No on 87 ads featuring a fireman talking about how gas prices are going to go up, and the one with Cruz Bustamante for insurance commissioner saying "Boy was I fat. I promised my family I would lose 70 pounds. I kept that promise. And I'll keep my promise to you to lower your insurance rates."
WTF? Not to be mean-spirited like John Kerry, but what makes a fireman such an expert on oil prices, gas taxes and economics? And since when does mixing in a salad make you an honest insurance commissioner?
I am getting so annoyed that I'm running out of issues and candidates to not hate. The only candidate I know I'm going to vote for is Tony Strickland, but only because he played college basketball with my brother. And the only ad I like is the anti-Bustamante ad "You Cruz, You Lose."
As Gallagher used to joke, if pro is the opposite of con, then Congress must be the opposite of progress. He was right. Congress is out of its collective mind.
The latest proof of this: the outrage over the raid of Congressman William Jefferson's office. What right-minded person can take issue with that raid. Congressman Jefferson has been videotaped engaging in worst sort of breach of the public trust that a politician can commit. Bribe money totalling $90,000 was found in his freezer. And the only meaningful reaction out of Congress is to complain that the FBI has no right to ever enter a congressional office because of constitutional separation of powers.
Dennis Hastert had this to say:
“We think those materials ought to be returned." And the FBI agents involved “ought to be frozen out of that (case) just for the sake of the constitutional aspects of it.”
WTF? The raid came after a judge issued a warrant, based upon powerful evidence that a crime had been committed and that evidence of the crime might be in the congressman's office. How can you possibly complain about that?
Because I am white, I used to worry about people thinking I was a racist. I worried about racist jokes. I worried about inadvertent racism. I watched what I said, what I did, even what I thought, because an accusation of racism was about the worst thing accusation someone could face without actually killing or raping someone. I didn't want someone claiming I was a racist.
It used to be that being a "racist" meant you had to think and act with hate toward people with different skin color, simply because of their flesh tones. Now, however, being a "racist" just means you have common sense. If that is the new definition of a "racist," then I plead nolo contendere.
Senator Clinton apologized today for her remarks that today's youth don't work hard, saying that young people today "think that work is a four letter word." She apologized after her daughter called and bitched her out. "'Mom, I do work hard and my friends work hard," she said. The funniest part of the story is that her remarks were made at a college commencement address, and her audience consisted of 2,000 young people who had worked hard enough to earn a degree, and who were all eager to get out in the real world and work their asses off, as today's young people do, to pay off their student loans.
To their credit, none of the graduates pointed out to the former First Lady that anyone who went to college outside Arkansas knows that the word "work" does, indeed, have precisely four letters in it.
USA Today is reporting that "the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth." I'm too busy to do the analysis, but if that isn't a violation of the 4th Amendment, then we need another amendment; and if it isn't animpeachableoffense, it should be. So says this Republican.
California assemblyman Ted Lieu has sponsored legislation (California Assembly Bill 2360) that would ban the private sale and use of ultrasound machines, the kind that take sonogram images of unborn babies. Apparently satisfied that California has solved its more important problems, Lieu felt compelled to act before some other private citizen gets ideas from Tom Cruise and takes pictures of her unborn babies with a machine.
What rationale does the assemblyman use to justify banning prospective parents from taking sound pictures of their fetuses? It appears to be a combination of class envy and unfounded paranoia. "This is not a toy for the rich and famous," says Lieu, who also cites reports (though I've heard of no actual studies) by doctors expressing concern that the sonograms might harm the unborn babies. "What we don't want is someone who unintentionally damages the fetus," he added. The bill has already passed the heavily democratic assembly and is now on its way to the state senate. So, let me get this straight:
1. It is about to become unlawful for a pregnant woman wants to take a photo of her baby by purchasing and using a soundwave machine to create images of the fetus inside her body. The woman has no right to exercise dominion over her own body if the purpose of her conduct is to take a picture. and...
2. Though she cannot take a picture of the baby, it is a woman's constitutional right to abort the baby.
Try to reconcile these two concepts. This would make a great law school question. It would end with something like this: Debbie contends that, pursuant to the holding in Roe v. Wade, AB 2360 violates her constitutional right of privacy. Discuss.
I guess to understand Lieu and his bill, you should focus on his use of the word "unintentionally." If the expectant mother intentionally kills her baby, we want to allow that. If she wants to do something that might unintentionally kill her baby, the law must step in.
While this bill is idiotic, Lieu might not actually be an idiot. A graduate of The Leland Stanford Junior University, in law school, he held the coveted post of editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Review. Perhaps this just goes to illustrate the old adage that the A students become civil servants, while the B students end up working for the C students. Then again, in this case, perhaps not. Lieu lists his office address with the California State Bar as: "Ubs Wealth Management, 725 S. Figueroa Street, Floor 41sy, Los Angeles, CA 90017-5524"
After graduation, I clerked for Judge Thomas Tang on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and then served on active-duty as a military JAG. It’s just like the TV show. After defusing a nuclear threat, marrying my beautiful and brainy girlfriend, and saving the President of the United States (two of these three assertions are false), I decided I needed to try something that had no hope of winning, so I worked on the Bill Bradley for President Campaign.
When I realized that even Al Gore could win the popular vote, I decided that, golly gee, me too. So I ran for City Council in Torrance, CA (current pop. 150,000) and won the popular vote. At the same time, I worked at Munger, Tolles & Olson because winning the popular vote does not generate any income. Last year I moved to UBS Wealth Management (formerly PaineWebber), where I am a Corporate Vice President and Associate General Counsel. Currently, I am focused on the two joys of my life, my wife Betty (who is in-house counsel at Harriton Investments) and my baby boy Brennan. I like my baby because he sort of looks like me.
In recorded history, there is only one publicized example of a private citizen buying a sonogram machine to take prenatal photos. Ted Lieu is clearly the right man to make sure that we don't have a second. I can't wait to see how he boasts of this achievement for the next Georgetown reunion.