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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Apple Defeats the Bloggers 

So it's official. It looks like the shield laws don't protect bloggers from having to reveal their confidential sources. I think that this is a shame, but it highlights the need to determine when a blogger is a "journalist.

There's been a lot of hemming and hawing about the blogosphere on this issue. It makes me wonder if the bloggers over at the Prospect, or Kevin at Political Animal (safely under the umbrella of the Washington Monthly and a California resident like the bloggers in the Apple case) are exceptions to this rule simply because they are affiliated with a more "traditional" publication.

In any event, the newspapers tend to make this about the blogger/"real journalist" divide, but I want to read an opinion. Having some very basic understanding of shield-law application, it's entirely possible that this case hinged on different stuff than the press in its mad rush for blogger news is letting on.

Either way, I think its clear that shield laws generally walk a fine line between protection of and protection from the press. I think sooner or later, the law is going to have to take bloggers into account as members of the press in some form or another...it's just not that time yet.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The ACLU 

Seems to be getting even more flack from the Right than usual lately. As a longtime member, I'm proud. This means we're on the right track.

For example, when ol' blowhard Billy says stuff like this . . .
So look, I'm declarin' war on the ACLU. I think they're a terrorist group. They're terrorizin' me and my family. They're terrorizing me. I think they're terrorists. Can I get some lawyers to help me out here? Can we sue 'em? They're puttin' us all in danger.
. . . you know you're doing something right.

But what really got me to post about this was this from Fafblog - your only source of Fafblog:
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, please," says God. "I believe I have the solution. You may call Me old-fashioned, but I believe the governing structure of this new law should be based firmly on the Biblical principles of a strong executive, an independent judiciary, a bicameral legislature with an upper and lower house, checks and balances, and a bill of rights to ensure the preservation of basic liberties."
"That's a great idea God!" says me. "I don't know why we didn't think it up ourselves!"

Then when nobody's lookin Warren Burger an the ACLU show up an beat up God an steal his lunch money an that's when slavery an stuff happens.
Genius.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hezbollah Enters the Mainstream? 

Holy shit.

I don't even know where to go with this.

David Brooks crept out of retardation long enough to make this decent point in an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan:
Two great things have happened in Beirut recently. First the opposition came out on the streets for a series of peaceful rallies. Then on Tuesday Hizbollah came out with peaceful rallies. Many people are treating the latter as setbacks for democracy. But in reality, they are democracy. It's not only the people who we agree with who get to vote and mobilize. It's everybody. In the Arab world there are going to be plenty of anti-American parties. If these parties' first instinct is to try to rally public opinion and not unleash armies, that's great. This is in a country where people used to kill each other, over such things, remember. Now they are rallying. This is part of what Wolfowitz was working for.
I think Brooks has a point here - and I never thought I would say that.

As to the size of the two protests, Jeff and I were talking today about how much easier it would be to protest in favor of the guys standing next to you with guns (i.e., Hezbollah and Syria) than against them, which might account to some extent for the larger turnout at the pro-Syria rally. But it doesn't account for it completely, so I guess we have to accept that the Hezzy is a political force, and perhaps dealing with it on those terms will prevent the need to blow shit up and shoot people.

But damn. Talk about negotiating with terrorists...

Headlines and Assholes 

The headline of the day:

McDonald's Unveils Healthy Living Campaign

In other news:

Michael Jackson Unveils Babysitting Campaign

and:

Tom DeLay Unveils Grassroots Democracy Campaign

Oh wait, no he didn't. He's gonna get his ass indicted because he can't keep e-mails from popping up that tie him directly to massive corporate contributions to politicians in Texas through TRMPAC.

Get him, Ronnie...

I don't hate many people...but DeLay makes my fucking skin crawl. What a waste of flesh.

UPDATE: Damn...old Tommy's been busy. Heading to South Korea illegally on top of his busy schedule of breaking campaign finance laws and generally being a cock-knocker.

I'm gonna do a jig the day that prick flames out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Trouble in Lebanon 

Just to follow up on my happy posts about anti-Syrian (and presumably pro-Democracy) protests in Lebanon - the pro-Syria faction is firing back, and they're doing it at the request of and with support from Hezbollah.
Hundreds of thousands pro-Syrian protesters waved flags and chanted anti-American slogans in a central Beirut square Tuesday, answering a nationwide call by the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group for a demonstration to counter weeks of massive rallies demanding Syrian forces leave Lebanon.
I think that's a problem. It should also be noted that this rally is as big or bigger than the anti-Syria rallies before it. Hopefully this isn't the start of civil conflict, and it appears things are proceeding relatively non-violently thusfar. But Hezbollah is not known as a bastion of peaceful ideology, so who knows what happens next.

This new rally comports well with Juan Cole's argument that the root of terrorism is not "hating freedom" but hating occupation and interference - and reacting the the resulting feeling of humiliation. I think perhaps that Bush's overt and vocal calls for Syrian withdrawal may be having some (unintended?) consequences here.

UPDATE: Atrios points out something that is implicit in everything I write about this stuff, but I haven't made explicit yet...so here it is, in a slightly shriller form than I might employ (gotta love Atrios):
A big problem with the administration flunkies and their assorted allies in the commentariat giving credit to George W. Bush for all nice-sounding political happenings in the world is that doing so aligns whatever political movement with the US and the Bush administration, and knocks the legs out from under it. This shouldn't be too difficult to comprehend. Just as opposition to the Bush administration is characterized as "pro-saddam" or whatever in this country, as long as political oppposition movements in other countries can be painted as "pro-US" or "pro-Bush" or even as being directly funded by the US they can be deligitimized (or branded as traitors).
I think that perhaps takes it a little too far, but the basic point is true. I think that Bush calling loudly for Syrian withdrawal and the media supporting the idea that the withdrawal is somehow Bush's doing (though I'm not denying that his policies have some impact) is doing more harm than good at this point to the cause of the anti-Syrian voices in Lebanon and will similarly affect any other movement of this sort that may spring up in the region should the same tactics be used.

UPDATE 2: I should point out that you can replace "Bush" in that last paragraph of mine with "X" where X is any president of the United States. It's not Bush's involvement that's the problem here, it's U.S. involvement.

Guns Don't Kill People, Terrorists Kill People 

...with the guns we sell them.

I know that mentioning regulating the gun industry at any level at any time is one of the seven deadly sins punishable by 24 hours of forced viewing of E! and/or death by being tossed into the Pit of the Sarlac.

Indeed, I've been somewhat swayed to the side of a more spirited defense of the 2nd Amendment. There's something about having people in power who frighten you for an extended period of time that will make you reconsider that whole "armed populace" thing. Plus, it's harder to argue for a strong Bill of Rights while completely ignoring one of the amendments.

That said, don't you think it might be a good idea if we didn't, you know, provide guns to the enemy within our borders?

Now I have a problem with the whole terrorist watch-list thing and a lot of the Big Brother-type shit that's going on in the name of the War on Terror. But if we're going to have these lists, don't you think that gun stores might be a good place to use them?

Hat tip: Soldado

Monday, March 07, 2005

Hating Your Boss 

A lot of people hate their jobs. Usually, however, people only come to hate their jobs after working there for a while.

John Bolton has a leg up on those suckers. He hates his job before he's even gotten there!

There's a lot I could say about the wisdom of appointing someone who despises the UN to be our representative in the body. Something tells me there might be a conflict of interest there.

It's like picking a babysitter that you know in advance hates children. Probably not a good idea, and something unfortunate is bound to happen.

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