April 30, 2008

I want an airplane

If ever there were a market opportunity, this is it. In the wake of Aloha Airlines' unexpected shutdown of its passenger service earlier this month, now its cargo service has ended. There were two potential buyers for the (profitable) business, but GMAC, which was Aloha's main financial backer, apparently demanded a higher price than initially anticipated by either purchaser. Neither could/would come up with the additional money.

So, if I had an airplane I could make a fair bit of money just moving goods from Oahu to the Neighbor Islands and back. We may be seeing higher prices and lower supplies of produce like papaya and strawberries.

Aloha had 85% of the cargo market between islands, and Hawaiian has expressed little interest in expanding its share, so there's a huge scramble going on to keep goods flowing.

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April 29, 2008

Ah, history

Someone on Talk of the Nation, discussing the Miley Cyrus flap, just said this was the first time Disney had ever exerted its media hype machine on behalf of an individual.

Lady, you're too young. Let me introduce you to Annette Funicello.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

Military misogyny

When I was in the Navy from 1972-1974 there were very few women sailors serving alongside me. I don't recall any cases of rape or violence against my female colleagues.

Things have changed.

The Department of Defense statistics are alarming — one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military.


But, now, even more alarming, are deaths of women soldiers in Iraq, and in the United States, following rape. The military has characterized each of the deaths of women who were first sexually assaulted as deaths from “non-combat related injuries,” and then added “suicide.” Yet, the families of the women whom the military has declared to have committed suicide, strongly dispute the findings and are calling for further investigations into the deaths of their daughters. Specific US Army units and certain US military bases in Iraq have an inordinate number of women soldiers who have died of “non-combat related injuries,” with several identified as “suicides.”

94 US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). 12 US Civilian women have been killed in OIF. 13 US military women have been killed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). 12 US Civilian women have been killed in Afghanistan.

Of the 94 US military women who died in Iraq or in OIF, the military says 36 died from non-combat related injuries, which included vehicle accidents, illness, death by “natural causes,” and self-inflicted gunshot wounds, or suicide. The military has declared the deaths of the Navy women in Bahrain that were killed by a third sailor, as homicides. 5 deaths have been labeled as suicides, but 15 more deaths occurred under extremely suspicious circumstances.

What follows in the essay are several horrific examples and detailed accounts of the circumstances of some of these soldiers' and sailors' deaths.

Although the data on the number of suicides in the military is vague and purposely underreported by the Veterans Administration, of 69 suicides of men in the military since 2002, 64 committed suicide in the United States, 1 in Kuwait, 2 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. Men are much more likely to commit suicide once they return from a combat zone, than in the combat zone. Of the 8 alleged suicides of women in the military, 3 were in Iraq, 2 in the US, 1 in Kuwait and 1 in Bahrain. The question of why women would be more likely to commit suicide outside the US than once home should be investigated.

I couldn't agree more.

h/t Philip Barron at Shakespeare's Sister

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April 27, 2008

Tear down the walls

Right before this chorus Grace sings a very naughty ten-letter word.

We must begin here and now
A new continent of earth and fire
Come on now getting higher and higher
Tear down the walls
Tear down the walls
Tear down the walls
Won't you try

The Airplane anthem We Can Be Together:

On the album (Volunteers) this song directly follows the title track. I always thought it was interesting that the chord structure for the rhythm guitar was exactly the same in each song.

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April 26, 2008

We know, already

Please explain why Amazon customers feel that Abbey Road needs 1,084 reviews. What do you have to add if you're the person putting that 1,084th one up?

That isn't the only album burdened with a plethora of reviews. Sgt. Peppers has 1,155, The White Album has 955, and even With the Beatles has 179.

Seriously, what's there to say? It's not like the reviews are old, either. The latest review for With... is five hours old as I type this.

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I paid $27.36 to fill up my gas tank yesterday. That's $3.72 per gallon.

What have you paid recently?

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April 25, 2008

Disabled dog, part III

We've been having a helluva time keeping the bandage on Tigger's elbow. Because it's a joint, it bends every time she moves, and that causes the bandage to slip and it ends up down around her ankle (I'm anthropomorphizing here for clarity).

So I had the idea of using a muzzle to hold the bandage in place. If you look at the muzzle design, it's perfect for a leg. It's got a cloth sleeve and adjustable straps. The sleeve would fit over the leg and bandage, and the straps would extend above her shoulders and could be attached to exert upward pressure on the bandage to keep it from falling down.

The vet looked at me, said, "Wow," and did it.

We'll see how well it works.

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April 24, 2008

Lost, Season Four, Episode 9

Yahoo calls this Episode 12 for some reason.


The Shape of Things to Come

"Locke's camp comes under attack; Jack tries to determine the identity of a body that washed ashore."

Ryan's post.

Well now. For the first time there's an acknowledgment that there's some structure behind all this. When Alex was killed Ben said "He changed the rules." Then when he invaded Widmore's apartment he told Widmore that the rules had been changed.

So, what rules?

We learned that Ben can somehow control the smoke monster, whatever it really is. I did think that the Locke/Ben/Sawyer group was awfully blasé about standing around after the monster did its thing; how did they know that there weren't some survivors who could show up and blast them all away? And why is Sawyer so confident he can take Claire back to the beach with a crying child in tow without being discovered by the newest set of bad guys?

We also learned how Ben got off the island (assuming he wasn't lying to Sayid, which is entirely possible).

I thought Sayid's wife Nadia had been killed off-screen years ago when Sayid was still in the Iraqi Army, so how is it that he found her, married her, and then saw her murdered in Los Angeles several years later?

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Fair pay for women? P'shaw!

There's been plenty of discussion of misogyny throughout this election season, but most of it has focused on voters' attitudes toward Senator Clinton. Since that's necessarily subjective, let's see what objective method of measuring it there is out there.

Why, look! It's the Senate's vote on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, taken yesterday.

This bill would essentially reverse a Supreme Court decision affirming a lower court's ruling that Ms. Ledbetter had waited too long to sue for back pay after learning she was being paid far less than her male colleagues were for doing the same work. There's more background here.

Every Republican but six voted against this (the six were Senators Arlen Specter of Pa. and Olympia Snowe of Maine and four others who face re-election battles this fall: Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire).

Every Democrat voted in favor (except Senator Reid, who had to switch to no at the final vote in order to retain the ability to bring the bill back up later).

Tell me again about the Republican party's respect for women.

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April 23, 2008

Money, money, money

In case you missed it and you're anxious to learn when that stimulus check might arrive, here's the official word from the IRS. If you used EFT for your refund or payment here are the ranges/dates using the last two digits of your SSN :

  • 00 - 20 May 2
  • 21 - 75 May 9
  • 76 - 99 May 16
For paper checks, see the schedule at the link.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

123'd again

Jeepers. I've been hit with the 123 meme again, this time by my friend Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders.

Okay. Rules:
1) Pick up the book nearest you with at least 123 pages. (No cheating!)
2) Turn to page 123.
3) Count the first five sentences.
4) Post the next three sentences.
5) Tag five other bloggers.

  1. The book is Kim Harrison's A Fistful of Charms. It's Book Four in a series she calls "The Hollows." So far there are six books.
  2. Page 123 is the first page of Chapter Nine.
  3. The first five sentences are scene setting.
  4. The next three sentences are: "Reaching to a top shelf, he dropped a jar of yeast in with the rest. "Bee pollen," he grumbled under his breath. "Where in Tink's bordello do they keep the vitamin supplements?"
  5. Bonus sentences to finish the thought in item 4: "Can't find a bloody thing in this store. Who laid it out? Gilligan?"

I'm probably not going to buy these books, but they are amusing. Harrison has a breezy style, which is probably necessary if you're going to title all your books as takeoffs of Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns and fill them with urban fantasy about a witch who's a bounty hunter. It's a darker world than the Trenton that other bounty hunter Stephanie Plum inhabits in Janet Evanovich's books.

I don't know who comes by here regularly any longer, so I'm not tagging anyone. If you're of a mind to play, let me know in the comments.

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Once more, with feeling

Today's fun included a second visit to the endodontist for a second root canal.

Think happy thoughts for Mom, who had to deal with that today (twice in three weeks!).

Her dinner tonight was cream of broccoli soup.

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April 21, 2008

Slip slidin' away

How does one persuade a recalcitrant CD/DVD standalone player that it should send its tray out from inside the box? At the moment it just whirs for a few seconds and then gives up in what sounds like disgust.

It's a cheapie: a Coby DVD-218, which isn't made anymore if you can believe Coby's website. I don't see a little hole to push a paper clip into, which used to be the standard method for getting diskette drives to release.

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April 20, 2008

Live concerts!

Wow. Via Avedon, here's a link to Wolfgang's Vault, which bills itself as follows:

Wolfgang’s Vault is the home for the past, present and future of live music. This is the exclusive destination for The Bill Graham Archives, the King Biscuit Flower Hour and the Record Plant along with a dozen other archives that live here, and are relived here.

Within the Concert Vault are thousands of carefully restored and archived concert recordings to stream for free, hundreds of which are available for download. Browse the Concert Vault at your own pace by performer, by date or by venue; make your own playlist or let us guide you through the depths of the archive with Vault Radio.

A quick perusal of the bands shows offerings from Airplane, The Band, Quicksilver, Santana, and Zeppelin, among many others.

Here's a link to concerts from some old favorites, The Who.

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Product sorta-endorsement

IcyHot acts as advertised. It goes on cold and gets warm.

It doesn't seem to get sufficiently warm for the neck and shoulder problem to go away, but. . .

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April 19, 2008

Photo Opp lost

In yet another example of why one should carry a camera at all times, I was driving back from the store this afternoon when a red convertible Mini-Cooper went by. It was driven by an older lady, and it pulled up at the light ahead a minute or so before I did. While waiting, I looked over into her lane and saw more hair/fur than I'd expected, so I craned my neck a little and saw what looked like a golden Pekingese standing up in the passenger seat. But the cool thing was, the Peke had a pair of Ray-Ban shades on, tied behind its head the same way a muzzle is.

It was seriously cute.

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April 18, 2008

Injured dog update

The pooch had her bandage removed, but the wound reopened, so the vet put a new one on.

She's actually pretty beansy, despite all these indignities. She's walking reasonably well -- there are a couple of other photos at the Flickr link of her walking around the yard with the older bandage/cast.

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April 17, 2008

A Fan's Lament

From comment #100 at a thread on Dodger Thoughts:

"I've been paying $20 for parking and $10 for a beer, I want to see a team that has better players than the other team."

Boy, isn't that a universal thought.

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If the other network news shows were better, I'd watch them

Discussing the Gibson/Stephanopoulous performance last night, here's Michael Bérubé at TPM Café:

The point is that we are not dealing merely with a "corporate" media. That would be bad enough. We are dealing instead with a deeply decadent and deeply entrenched class of courtiers in the late stages of Bloated Beltway Media Empire, one of whose pastimes is chattering on about the folkways of the salt of the earth (bowling, shots-and-beer, guns, God). The level of chattering is inversely proportional to the decadence of the commentator, which is why you hear so much about small-town values from people who last caught glimpses of my neighbors when they watched the opening thirty minutes of Deer Hunter in their suite at the Willard Hotel.

Bérubé teaches at Penn State; hence the "my neighbors" reference.

I'm still boggled at Charlie Gibson (who, according to the print edition of Parade Magazine which I received in my paper last Sunday, makes $10 million a year) worrying about capital gains taxes. He really does seem to think that the average American makes above $200K a year (also from Parade, 2007 American median income -- $36,140) and sells stocks and bonds everyday. To pose a question that's often asked of candidates to him, "don't you think you're a little out of touch?"

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April 16, 2008

Awful awful job

In my considered opinion, Peter Jennings and David Brinkley would have been absolutely ashamed of the job their respective successors did "moderating" that debate (Transcript).

Every Republican talking point in recent history was touched on, from guns and affirmative action to taxes and flag pins. Not a single Democratic one that I can think of was. Healthcare? Veterans Affairs? Energy? Global warming? Nothing.

And Charlie Gibson is sure worried about tax on his capital gains, isn't he? That's the second time he's brought that up.

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Got the T-shirt

Obama was right. So says John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News.

As a native-born, small-town Pennsylvanian, a son of native-born, small-town Pennsylvania parents - one from the coal region, one from Lancaster County - let me assure you that the so-called offensive, condescending things Barack Obama said about the people I come from are basically right on target.

"Bitter" perhaps best describes my late mother, an angry Irish Catholic who absolutely clung to her religion.

Dad, also a journalist, wasn't really bitter as far as I know, but he sure liked to hunt.

So, despite carping from Hillary Clinton and annoying yapping from her surrogates (really, it's like turning on the lights at night in a puppy farm), I take no offense.

What's offensive to me is suggesting that small-town, working-class, gun-toting and/or religious Pennsylvanians are somehow injured by a politician's words.

Are you kidding me?

They're injured all right, but the injury is long-term and from lots more than "just words."

They've been injured from decades of neglect by political cultures in Washington and Harrisburg driven by special interests.

They're injured by a system of isolated, insulated political leadership that protects itself and the status quo above all else.

They've been harmed by a lack of political guts to fix a health-care system that works against the poor and forces middle-class families to pay more for less, while at the same time giving politicians the best coverage taxpayer money can buy.

They've been taken for granted by political parties and candidates who stay in power by - and this was the apparent gist of Obama's remarks - forcing attention and debate on issues tied to guns, religion and race (precisely because such issues resonate) rather than real problems such as health care and the economy.

I daresay the political party most attuned to the politics of resentment is the one Senator McCain belongs to.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A welcome return

A couple of weeks ago the legendary Fafblog came back from a lengthy sleep or hiatus. Today Giblets explains why Senator Obama's "bitter" remarks are all wet:

America's impoverished working class are a chipper and cheerful lot, prancing and scampering about their foreclosed homes and crumbling industrial sectors with a spirit of adorable pluckiness, smiling and laughing through their unemployment and their black lung disease like a pack of hardscrabble leprechauns!

As they say in the trade, read the rest.

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April 15, 2008

Danger, Will Robinson!

Bumper sticker seen on the road this afternoon:

"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons. . .For you are crunchy and good with ketchup."

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 14, 2008

Newseum opens

You know, I'm glad there's a new $450M building celebrating the collection and dissemination of news. The Newseum will serve a noble purpose, I'm sure: cheering on the First Amendment's stipulation of freedom of the press.

I just hope that somewhere in its exhibits is a room dedicated to press failures, such as its unwillingness (until recently) to point out government's criminal misbehavior over the past seven years.

It shouldn't have taken a hurricane the size of Katrina in 2005 for the press to wake up to the fact that the Bush Administration was inept, incompetent, and often corrupt.

Nonetheless, it's a beautiful place.

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Aviation mystery solved?

Any admirers of Le Petit Prince here? Its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, disappeared in 1944 while on a reconnaisance mission for the Allies. He flew a P-38 from Corsica and never returned.

The circumstances of his death have never been explained.

Until now.

A former Luftwaffe pilot has just revealed that he shot down a P-38 in the area where Saint-Exupéry disappeared, and his story seems to be accepted by many, though not all.

I was first introduced to the wonderful story of the interstellar traveller in my sophomore year of high school when studying French; it was one of the outside texts Mr. McConnell assigned. If you'd like to read it, it's online here with Saint-Exupéry's original drawings.

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April 13, 2008

Loop de loop

Trevor Immelman wins the Masters.

Who is this guy?

  • This is his 20th career appearance in a major.
  • His previous best finish in a major was T-5th in the 2005 Masters.
  • He's the fifth South African-born player to win a major and the second to win the Masters, joining his idol Gary Player who claimed three green jackets.
  • He's the first to win the Masters when holding at least a share of the lead after every round since Seve Ballesteros in 1980.
  • He's the first to win the Masters when holding at least a share of the first-round lead since Ben Crenshaw in 1984.
  • He's the first player born outside North America to win the Masters since Vijay Singh in 2000.
  • Winner comes out of Sunday's final pairing for the 17th time in the last 18 years.
  • He entered as 29th-ranked player in world.
  • He had one win in 95 previous PGA TOUR events (2006 Western Open).
  • He had missed the cut in four of eight PGA Tour events this season; best finish was T-17th at WGC-Accenture.
  • He had broken par just once in 16 Masters rounds before this year.

Oh, the post title? That's from this.

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April 12, 2008

Timesink additions

Library Thing has added a new feature which advises the library cataloger which of his/her books are part of a series. I foresee problems for those of us who are compulsive "completists." The feature allows the user to determine which parts of a series he doesn't yet own, which could lead to excessive book purchasing.

Then LT went ahead and improved it. Now when you click on an author's name you can see which books are standalone and which are parts of a series, and you can also see all the series you own from your own profile's page.

If you haven't bought your membership yet, what are you waiting for?

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April 11, 2008

"I did it and I'm glad."

Has Bush concluded that he's immune from prosecution, impeachment, or even loathing? ABC news reports:

President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

I thought the idea of having staffers meet to decide these things without the President's knowledge was to give him "plausible deniability." I guess Bush no longer thinks he needs it.

I hope he doesn't plan to travel abroad after his term expires; this admission might really cause him some trouble if some judge in Europe wants to try him for war crimes.

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Uh-oh. It's bad enough I still haven't read or reviewed Dream Lucky, which I got through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program a week or so ago, but now I've been notified that I'm about to receive Barrie Sherwood's Escape from Amsterdam as well.

The To-Be-Read pile grows and grows.

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April 10, 2008


Bah. My Federal tax refund will just about pay what I owe the State. Hawai'i has very regressive income tax rates. If you make even as little as $1,000 you owe $14. My AGI was a little more than that.

Hopefully the Fed refund will be directly deposited into my checking account in time to cover the check I have to write on April 20th.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

Well now

From the National Lawyers Guild, which says of itself "The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States."

In a memorandum written the same month George W. Bush invaded Iraq, Boalt Hall law professor John Yoo said the Department of Justice would construe US criminal laws not to apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants. According to Yoo, the federal statutes against torture, assault, maiming and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of the war.


Yoo also narrowed the definition of torture so the victim must experience intense pain or suffering equivalent to pain associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in loss of significant body functions will likely result; Yoo's definition contravenes the definition in the Convention Against Torture, a treaty the US has ratified which is thus part of the US law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause. Yoo said self-defense or necessity could be used as a defense to war crimes prosecutions for torture, notwithstanding the Torture Convention's absolute prohibition against torture in all circumstances, even in wartime. This memo and another Yoo wrote with Jay Bybee in August 2002 provided the basis for the Administration's torture of prisoners.

"John Yoo's complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes Act," said National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn.

Congress should repeal the provision of the Military Commissions Act that would give Yoo immunity from prosecution for torture committed from September 11, 2001 to December 30, 2005. John Yoo should be disbarred and he should not be retained as a professor of law at one of the country's premier law schools. John Yoo should be dismissed from Boalt Hall and tried as a war criminal.

The Bush Administration has been pushing self-regulation of industry since it came into office, so how could it possibly object to the legal industry doing just that?

Via Think Progress

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April 08, 2008

O good and faithful servant

We got Tigger when she was about six months old; she was a Christmas present to my ailing father back in 1992. She's fifteen-plus.

One of these days, and not very far off, she is going to die.

Not yet, though. She's still got a lot of resilience in her. She developed a horrid sore on her left elbow recently, and we'd been giving her antibiotics for it, but it wasn't healing. So we took her to the vet, thinking terrible thoughts about bone infections and other awful things. She came home this afternoon, looking a little worse for wear.

Not three minutes after this picture was taken, she jumped up and ran twenty feet into the playroom to bark at some intruder walking past her house. She's the most incredibly strong and stoic dog I've ever seen.

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April 07, 2008

A Joke

I suppose it's possible there's someone in the US who casually looked in on the Kansas - Memphis game this evening and said "A state versus a city? That seems a little unfair."

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Where's my enabler?

Where have you gone, John Yoo? A President turns his lonely eyes to you.

Mike Luckovich
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Apr 4, 2008
Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner's eyes poked out?

Or, for that matter, could he have "scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance" thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting?

These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities. The specific prohibitions, he said, depended on the circumstances or which "body part the statute specifies."

But none of that matters in a time of war, Yoo also said, because federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief.

What a lovely man.

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April 06, 2008

A day of rest

In honor of Mose's death I'm taking the day off.

The Ten Commandments was a helluva movie, but I liked the chariot race in Ben-Hur even more than the parting of the Red Sea.

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April 05, 2008


So far the Dodgers have lost a nationally-televised baseball game to their division rival the Padres and UCLA is down six points to Memphis with five minutes left in the first half.

How's your Saturday going?

Update: Mine went from bad to worse. Memphis won handily, 78-63.

Man. UCLA has had three trips to the Final Four in the past three years and lost all three times. For a program with as much history as it has, that's gotta hurt its fans and its players.

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April 04, 2008

40 Years Later

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

This is a speech he gave a year earlier, stating his opposition to the Vietnam War.

This was one of the speeches which infuriated his erstwhile allies in government. We forget now that the Vietnam War was not unpopular among the political classes at the time. It took several more years for the bloom to go off that particular rose.

Two minutes in he says "Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty." Does that sound familiar?

Full transcript here.

Real Audio file here.

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April 03, 2008

Not one of those again!

I said the other day that every possessor of an MBA degree has probably silently said to George W. Bush, "Thanks, pal. Like anyone in the country will ever vote for me because of that credential. You ruined it, man."

Apparently the NYT thinks like I do:

For a man who came into office as the nation’s first M.B.A. president, Mr. Bush has sometimes seemed invisible during the housing and credit crunch. As the economy eclipses Iraq as the top issue on voters’ minds, even some Republican allies of the president say Mr. Bush is being eclipsed and is in danger of looking out of touch.

Of course, on past performance, I don't trust him to do anything useful for we hoi polloi anyway.

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April 02, 2008

Reactions to torture memo

Dan Froomkin has encapsulated much of the initial reaction (in print and from legal bloggers) to the release of the 2003 memo from DOJ to the Pentagon telling it its interrogators were exempt from existing anti-torture law.

Scott Horton has more, including a link to a book excerpt at Vanity Fair with horrific detail. Horton writes:

the torture lawyers fully appreciated from the outset that torture was a criminal act. Most of the legal memoranda they crafted, including the March 2003 Yoo memorandum released today, consist largely of precisely the sorts of arguments that criminal defense attorneys make–they weave and bob through the law finding exceptions and qualifications to the application of the criminal law. But there are some major differences: these memoranda have been crafted not as an after-the-fact defense to criminal charges, but rather as a roadmap to committing crimes and getting away with it. They are the sort of handiwork we associate with the consigliere, or mob lawyer. But these consiglieri are government attorneys who have sworn an oath, which they are violating, to uphold the law.

Once again we see that John Yoo and David Addington were contemptible servants of the Cheney "unitary executive" agenda. Yet Yoo is now teaching at a prestigious law school (UC Berkeley) and is still a "go-to" guy for the broadcast media, and Addington still works for Cheney.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

Aloha, Aloha

Aloha Airlines went out of business yesterday after 61 years of mainly inter-island flying.

It was driven out in part by high fuel costs but mostly by an unsustainable price war brought on by the entrance of go! Airline, a deep-pocketed subsidiary of Mesa Air.

Prices got ridiculous. At one point last year go! was offering one-way tickets for as little as $9. The usual price had been around $89 round-trip until the company entered the market; currently a one-way ticket runs $49.

Aloha and Hawaiian (the other carrier) have pending lawsuits against go!, but Aloha couldn't hold out. Hawaiian won eighty million bucks in an earlier suit claiming go! and its corporate owners misused confidential information it had received when Hawaiian was looking for investors.

The bankruptcy comes as Aloha is suing go! for misusing confidential information to try to drive it out of business. Aloha has alleged that Mesa used proprietary records to launch go!

A similar lawsuit by Hawaiian Airlines resulted in an $80 million judgment against Mesa.

In that lawsuit, Hawaiian's lawyers disclosed e-mails in which Mesa's chief financial officer at the time, Peter Murnane, stated: "We definitely don't want to wait for (Aloha) to die, rather we should be the ones who give them the last push."

Ornstein previously denied that Mesa attempted to drive Aloha out of business. Ornstein testified that his company attempted to invest $20 million in Aloha.

Aloha's suit will go to trial in October.

Nearly 2,000 people are now out of work, thanks basically to greed on the part of a Mainland airline.

If you're planning to fly between islands out here, your choices just got smaller and your costs probably just got higher.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lemons to lemonade

If you have to go see an endodontist to undergo a root canal, it's not much fun. However, if the doc's office is 8 minutes away at least you don't have to put up with traffic as well.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack