Monday, December 19, 2005

Cue the Death March 

I'm about to go pick up my fed courts* exam.

If you see me on the interweb between now and 5 o'clock, please come the the 5th floor of the law school library and smack some sense into me.**

*If you don't know what I'm talking about, relish that fact.
**If, that is, it's not too far out of your way.

UPDATE: I just sent it to print and it's not coming out. They're having "printer problems." Be still, my beating heart.

UPDATE AGAIN: Whew. It's printed...time to run it down.

UPDATE THE LAST: And now to drink so much whiskey that I see four of each cartoon bird circling my head after I smash it on the coffee table while falling over because I drank too much whiskey.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

NSA Spying and Libtertarians 

I thought there was nothing illegal, immoral, or undemocratic that this administration could do that would leave me speechless. I thought I'd earned a degree of immunity from constant shell-shock. But this domestic spying business has left me dumbstruck. The secret NSA spying program authorized by the president makes no sense. If the government was only spying on the folks the administration claims it is, then they could do that legally with FISA court authority. Why wouldn't they just get the (apparently ridiculously easy to come by) warrants before surveiling? The FISA courts aren't exactly known for being stingy with them - they've denied less than 10 requests in about 25 years and granted thousands of warrants.

Why did/does the administration need to get around that little (and I mean little) failsafe protecting what little privacy and liberty we've still got guaranteed to us? Well I've got an idea. Remember that thing with John Bolton getting access to NSA records when he wasn't supposed to that surfaced during the debate over his nomination as U.N. ambassador? Now look at these two things side-by-side for a moment. Get it? The FISA courts are easy when it comes to security issues, so why not go through them? Perhaps it's because the intel has less to do with national security and more to do with native political threats to the administration? Not even the most lenient FISA court where the ALJ was not named Rumsfeld or Cheney would issue a warrant for purposes demonstrably divorced from national security.

Can you say COINTELPRO?

I can. And so, I hope, can those politicos in this country that call themselves "libertarians." The next "libtertarian" who defends Bush after this gets his decoder ring taken away and is no longer allowed to use the secret handshake.

UPDATE: That guy who could be underground touches on the subject as well.

UPDATE 2: "Otherwise authorized" my ass. What a ridiculous argument.

Persons of the Year 

So it's lame that it's three people, but I think Time did well this year. The "persons of the year" are Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono.

Everyone knows Bono is a goody goody 2 shoes or whatever, but not many people realize just how much money Bell and Melinda have - and just how much of that they give away.

[Time] praised the [Gates] couple for building the world's largest charity - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - and for "giving more money away faster than anyone ever has" in 2005.

The foundation has saved some 700,000 lives in developing countries around the world by supporting vaccination programmes, has donated computers to tens of thousands of libraries and sponsored a big scholarship fund, the magazine said.

That's pretty nuts.

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