Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, August 29, 2005

What the Anti-War Crowd Doesn't Need to Do

It's been a while, and it's going to be longer, before I can really post. And when I do, I'll return with a series of musings I've been writing since I began sleeping in my large, ancient, spooky house, one per night since Wednesday, in old-fashion pen and ink on a legal pad.

In the meantime, however, I urge you to take a few minutes to read this post, a propos the supposed burden on the anti-war Left to supply the Bush administration with what it has lacked ever since we entered into Iraq: a plausible, executable strategy with a clear mission and a concrete, articulable exit strategy.

I read the Juan Cole post Cooper links to, and I thought it represented a kind of policy fantasy, a pardonable effort at prophylaxis on the part of somebody who's been documenting just how relentlessly things are going to shit and must get tired of feeling completely hopeless most of the time. But I couldn't take it very seriously. A good detailed rebuttal, in terms of the ground realities in Iraq, comes from greenboy at Needlenose, for my money the best and most insightful Iraq war blog out there. More to the point (a point greenboy doesn't make)—who exactly is the audience for this sort of policy wanking supposed to be? Other than a tiny community of Beltway or Beltway-oriented intellectuals, or wannabes. The anti-war left is nowhere near the seat of power. Power is held, in fact, by a gang that regards opposition in general, and opposition to the war in particular, as tantamount to treason. We're supposed to have a nice, polite, national debate over an endgame strategy? Debate, with this crowd? Even if we had detailed, rational and realistic policy advice to give, they wouldn't listen to it. In fact, to the extent it was rational and realistic, and persuaded anybody, they'd likely run in exactly the opposite direction. We've had five years now, and people like Cooper still don't get the psychology of the Bush administration?

It's not "unserious" or "immature" or whatever other bullshit terms are favored by the Beltway types to advocate the simple message Out Now. On the contrary—advocating such messages is the only real political space within which we have to operate. Our job is not to pretend we're living under a different regime than we are, one that takes policy proposals seriously. Our job is to do the only thing we really can do, namely cause as much domestic pain as possible for Bush over the war. (Digby is entirely correct and on point about this.) You want to have a real effect on Iraq policy? Drive Bush's numbers down, drive the GOP's numbers down, take their Congressional majority away from them, take the White House back. That's not done with policy prescriptions—which (again, has Cooper been paying attention these last few years?) the vast majority of the American public will never hear, or hear an honest version of, anyway.

I reached this site by following a roundabout path including Body and Soul, where Jeanne writes:

Sixty percent of Americans may believe that US troops should stay in Iraq until the country is "stabilized," but while they may not want to think about the possibility of failure, they aren't completely delusional. More than half realize the war was a "mistake," and that the things are now going to hell.

We don't just need to make sure Bush owns the failure. He needs to own hell. For years, we've heard that if things weren't going well in Iraq, the anti-war left needed to propose solutions. (Followed by silence. Followed by, "See. We told you they don't have any solutions. Just a bunch of whiners.") That needs to be turned around. There's no if anymore. Americans have already realized this is a nightmare. They may not realize we have to leave, but they know perfectly well that continuing to do the same thing isn't cutting it. They're ready to hear the truth: Repeating the same mistakes over and over is the definition of madness. The president needs to tell us how he's going to "win" the war, and if he can't, he needs to tell us how he's going to get us out.

He needs to tell us. Pretending there are "solutions" just confuses the issue of who this hell belongs to.

Original hat tip goes to Bloodless, which writes not of exit / effective strategy issues but rather of a woeful case of quiet obfuscation of a well-documented and truly Hun-ish case of torture of a man American soldiers basically knew was innocent.

To that end, Bloodless also links Obsidian Wings, where simple gathering of sources and a select Bob Dylan lyric tells the entire tale of the ways in which our nation is humiliating itself and sundering its own stated values at every turn. It's your money, and the ObWi post is a very short, if painful read. I urge you to take a moment, and I won't sully it by excerpting it here.

I'll be back; but the above ought to keep thinking caring people of the right and the left busy for a few minutes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rummy's Still Getting It Wrong

CNN reports that "U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday tried to dispel concern over the possibility that a civil war could erupt in Iraq between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs." Rummy continued, "You can always find someone who's going to try to be a dead-ender and say, 'If you don't do this, I won't do that.' But that's part of negotiation. We see that in the Congress and we see it in democratic systems all over the world."

What we don't see in Congress, however, is the government saying, "Feh, we'll just not consider the views of Episcopalians in drafting a constitution," which is at least somewhat what's going on with respect to the draft Iraq constitution and the Sunni minority.

That said, "Rumsfeld noted that the constitutional draft gives a nod to both democracy and Islamic principles." Of course, the democratic principle it gives a "nod" to applies much more to Shiites and Kurds than it does to Sunnis, and the Islamic principles toward which it "nods" include the application of Islamic law to the family, which isn't doing Iraqi women any favors (to put it nicely), notwithstanding that the mistreatment of women is one of the many post hoc reasons Bush 43 has touted to rig up popular support for the war.

Finally, Rummy noted, "that while the specter of civil war should draw attention and concern, 'I haven't seen anything to indicate that the risk is greater today than it was yesterday or the day before.'

Um, Rummy? Have you read the news today? Because it looks as though the coordinated insurgent offensive in Baghdad that Seymour Hersh, whose nailed you guys every which way but loose in the past couple of years, predicted on the Daily Show early last week is underway.

As for the risk diminishing or holding steady, tell that to the 73 Americans KIA so far this month. Or maybe just send their families letters indicating same; let your secretaries and your automated signature machine do the heavy lifting.

The Bush Maladministration, a Bill of Particulars

From Corrente comes "Things We Are Not Angry About," a truly exquisite post compiling the myriad reasons we should be embarrassed of our government.

Hat tip, Baltar who, indeed, was "on fire" yesterday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Watch This -- Subdued Woman Tasered by Overzealous Police Officer

Like many Pittsburghers, I imagine, as well as more than a handful of national progressives since the story went nationwide, I've been idly monitoring chatter about the Pittsburgh PD's tactics in breaking up Saturday's peaceful demonstration on Forbes Avenue in Oakland against a military recruitment site.

Binky was kind enough, in deference to my overloaded schedule this week, to provide a link in comments to a site providing various resources and photos of the conduct in question. I'd like to amplify her link by reposting the story here at the top of MOP, and urge you in the strongest possible terms to watch the video of a young woman being BRUTALLY AND PROLONGEDLY TASERED while laying still and supine on the ground in a circle of police officers.

I'm pretty jaded, and I think many protests are fatuous and self-indulgent. I'm not even saying this one wasn't. But that's got nothing to do with criminal conduct on the taxpayer dime and at the expense of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to our hallowed constitution, or whether the conduct imposed an imminent threat to the public or police officers sufficient to warrant use of a potentially lethal, and in any case terribly abusive, weapon to subdue peaceful protestors.

This video turned my stomach with the raw sadism in evidence. The fact of the tasing, as well as the duration, is literally inexplicable. This is torture, TORTURE IN PLAIN VIEW AT MID-DAY ON A BUSY THOROUGHFARE IN OUR FAIR CITY, plain and simple, and while the damage might ultimately have been categorically less severe, this violent treatment at the hand of disturbingly blithe police officers (really, their demeanor while inflicting ruthless pain says all you need to know about the degree of danger they detected in the situation) recalls all too well the beating of Rodney King; if anything, given the context (there was no high-speed chase, it occurred in the light of day, the "perps" included a 68-year-old grandmother (bitten by a police dog), a man in a wheelchair (overturned by police), and a number of small children (several of whom were dosed at least indirectly by pepper spray)), the conduct might be even more gratuitous.

I'm MORTIFIED that my police force did this. Plain and simple.

And I'm MORTIFIED that I found this basically unequivocal video of rampant misconduct on a marginal progressive website instead of on the local television news, or for that matter described with appropriate detail in the national press.

I'm MORTIFIED that the local newspapers have reported the allegations of improper abuse as a matter of opinion, when such obvious objective evidence is there for the viewing.

SHAME on all media for not covering such an obvious story in an appropriate way! Bad enough the he-said-she-said bastardization of objectivity in reportage has made most media outlets all but useless as information sources; now we've got clear refusal to accept something truly objective, something the right wing spin machine can't do a goddamned thing about. So what's the answer? Pretend it's not there.

And I hope with all of my might that this tape gets played where it matters -- in court -- and that the unemployment line inherits a few new claimants in the immediate future.

This day just darkened considerably. PLEASE pass these links on; people in Pittsburgh and beyond NEED TO SEE THIS.

UPDATE: In fairness, a little bird directed me to today's story in the P-G, which, albeit still enmired in the he-said she-said approach, appears to affect some basic magnanimity in describing the video and POG's press conference yesterday. For fun, here's a great example of point-counterpoint abdication of basic journalistic duties:

During the protest, several dozen people marched in Oakland to an Army recruiting station to draw attention to the government's recruiting policies. The protesters did not have a permit, and organizers of yesterday's news conference insisted that a permit was not required.

However, Mayor Tom Murphy's administration said the protest required a permit.

Last I checked, Murphy doesn't get to write the law on the fly. Is there any reason one or more independent legal authorities couldn't be consulted to at least approach the truth on this. I don't know, but I'd be willing to bet that those protest situations requiring a permit are probably pretty well established by now, given that we're a college town and all and such things are typically well-articulated in statutory law and local ordinances; is there any reason we have to rely on the utterly unreliable assertions of opposing parties with axes to grind (POG's axe is obvious; Murphy, of course, is looking at an incipient P.R. disaster, although by now one would think he'd be less fearful).

To return to the point, I take at face value the article's discussion of what the woman tasered in the above-linked video was doing just prior to the clip. And it's true that the lack of prefatory material leaves the context somewhat obscure. Indeed, I considered not posting based on my doubts. But after watching it, lump in my throat, for a second and third time, I concluded that the lead in time, albeit short, is enough to demonstrate that she was motionless on the ground and clearly subdued by at least two officers who didn't even seem to think the matter required the undivided attention. The simple fact is this: the video establishes that the woman posed no threat at the moment that the bald officer calmly and deliberately did half a lap around her subdued body, avoiding contact with one of the subduing officers, and patiently aimed for her thigh and pulled the trigger striking the motionless target of her leg. He's a big strong man; she's a weak woman held down by two others.

If she scuffled actively with police, or resisted arrest (proper or improper) she can rightly be charged with a crime, and I'm not railing against the possibility. But there's simply no way to interpret the conduct of the bald officer as anything but vindictive, which, no matter the circumstance, is inexcusable conduct for a professional sworn to uphold the law. The man should be suspended immediately; he's plainly dangerous.

In the Case of Dubya v. Science . . .

At BBC Online, Harold Evans bemoans "the well-documented readiness of the Bush administration to manipulate and suppress scientific findings - manifestly to appease industrial interests and religious constituencies," which, in tandem with other countries' increased spending in R & D, is contributing to the radical diminution of the U.S.'s contribution to technological innovation.

This is not just on global warming and stem cells, currently in the news, but on a whole range of issues - lead and mercury poisoning in children, women's health, birth control, safety standards for drinking water, forest management, air pollution and on and on.

"It's disturbing," Professor [Neal] Lane [Rice University] told me. "This is the first time to the best of my knowledge through successive Republican and Democratic administrations, that the issue of scientific integrity has reared its head."

Of similar mind is Russell Train, an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford. He says: "How radically we have moved away from regulation based on professional analysis of scientific data regulation controlled by the White House and driven by political considerations."

The White House denies such accusations and says it makes decisions based on the best available science.

But these two speak for what is now a considerable body of alarmed and angry scientists. For more than a year, the nationally well-regarded Union of Concerned Scientists - a non-partisan body - has been receiving hundreds of signatures backing the Union's call for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific integrity to policy making. To date no fewer than 7,600 scientists have signed, including 49 Nobel Laureates.

How trustworthy are the White House's predictable protestations, however, when they insist on appointing idealogues to formerly science-heavy positions and Dubya, in the context of the ongoing intelligent design debate, manifests a complete failure to understand what "science" even is.

Anyway, Evans is just a Brit. What does he know?

Monday, August 22, 2005

"The King is dead. Long live the King."

The departure Hunter Thompson envisaged for himself in 1968 has come to pass, and with the assistance of Pennsylvania's own Zambelli fireworks company, who mingled his cremains with a brief firework display that made it back to Colorado where it decorated his temporary memorial, a tower taller than the Statute of Libery and visible for miles.

Although the site, and the attendees, sound quite wonderful and furnish any number of good quotes, this was my favorite part:

At the entry to what could only be called the set, his portrait was hung at the center of his personal literary solar system, surrounded by the planets of Samuel T. Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, John Steinbeck and Mark Twain.

Yeah, that sounds about right to me.

The Good Doctor will be missed. And imitated. But never adequately. His impression on contemporary writing, however, is and will remain deep and indelible. Indeed, is his corpus stands for any one thing, it is the inextricability of the writer's personality from the writer's work. And Thompson's personality, being entirely inimitable, imbued his work with that same quality.

So with that, I bid the Good Doctor mahalo. From the first to the last, you did it your way. And nothing's better than that.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday News

So tomorrow I close on my first house; I imagine this will be my last post for a while, as I will be overwhelmed the two days I intend to work this week, and won't be doing much in the way of leisure at home this week, as I slowly move my life from one place to another.

Today, however, I found -- or rather made -- time for some reading, and turned up these gems.

First, locally, Pittsburgh police loosed a dog on sextagenarian war protestors in Oakland. Pepper spray, too. Those white-haired pre-Boomer agitators must be stopped. Thank God Pittsburgh's finest were on the case. (Hat tip, Binky.)

A propos, Frank Rich notes the "Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan:"

When the Bush mob attacks critics like Ms. Sheehan, its highest priority is to change the subject. If we talk about Richard Clarke's character, then we stop talking about the administration's pre-9/11 inattentiveness to terrorism. If Thomas Wilson is trashed as an insubordinate plant of the "liberal media," we forget the Pentagon's abysmal failure to give our troops adequate armor (a failure that persists today, eight months after he spoke up). If we focus on Joseph Wilson's wife, we lose the big picture of how the administration twisted intelligence to gin up the threat of Saddam's nonexistent W.M.D.'s.

The hope this time was that we'd change the subject to Cindy Sheehan's "wacko" rhetoric and the opportunistic left-wing groups that have attached themselves to her like barnacles. That way we would forget about her dead son. But if much of the 24/7 media has taken the bait, much of the public has not.

The backdrops against which Ms. Sheehan stands - both that of Mr. Bush's what-me-worry vacation and that of Iraq itself - are perfectly synergistic with her message of unequal sacrifice and fruitless carnage. Her point would endure even if the messenger were shot by a gun-waving Crawford hothead or she never returned to Texas from her ailing mother's bedside or the president folded the media circus by actually meeting with her.

It's a column well worth reading.

The Times Editorial Page also offers an incisive critique of the "Freedom March" the government is arranging for the Washington Mall on the fourth anniversary of 9-11. While others have duly excoriated the idea as reminiscent of the propaganda practices of authoritarian governments, the Times stays away from the inflammatory and ultimately alienating and thus self-defeating tactic of drawing historic comparisons to fascist dictatorships of the past and instead focuses far more closely on the message itself.

It is perfectly appropriate for the Defense Department to organize a memorial for Americans who died on Sept. 11, since many were Pentagon employees. It is also fine to pay tribute to the sacrifices being made by the troops in Iraq. What is disturbing is the Bush administration's insistence on combining the two in a politically loaded day of marching and entertainment.

Having failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the administration has been eager to repackage the war as a response to Sept. 11. The Freedom Walk appears to be devised to impress this false connection on the popular imagination.

The walk will end with a concert by the country musician Clint Black. Mr. Black is a gifted entertainer, but his song about the Iraq war, "I Raq and Roll" - which contains such lyrics as "our troops take out the garbage, for the good old U.S.A." - sends a jingoistic message that is particularly out of place at a memorial service.

Um, yeah. The music of real Americans, or so I am told.

Well, there was something else, but I can't remember it or find it on the website. So with that, I bid you all adieu; I hope you'll visit me in a week or so when I start moving asymptotically toward normalcy, or whatever passes for normalcy among homeowners. {shiver}

Saturday, August 20, 2005

On the Passage of Years

Sometimes I think that the only thing preventing me from quitting smoking is the fear that my Zippo, monogrammed (MOP, of course), which has been with me now for something like six years and has somehow turned up on over a dozen occasions when I was certain I lost it (most recently, it disappeared for a good two weeks, and this time I was really sure), will feel betrayed.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My heart bleeds through my shirt, evidently

Your Political Profile

Overall: 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

(Hat tip)

Commonplaces, Yaga, Dillard

Yaga puts me in mind of Annie Dillard's "Dominion of Trees," the last poem I read last night before lowering the gate and letting the darkness in. He writes, in part:

Sometimes the warm cicada breeze at sundown lifts back the sky. Traffic slows. Call it eight o'clock; the sky smiles purple and gold. The fireflies rise to meet us. We feel as though even the ground would take us, softly, in its embrace. Call it love; the old tree on the corner fans us with its thick green leaves and the night sings a lullaby of jasmine. We dream of the rain.

Dillard, on the other hand, writes, in part:

Trees preserve dominion,
put competition
in the shade. We eat
our fruit, slice
our meat in this green shade.
under the arches of your bare feet
where you run, Teresa,
white roots suck up their watery salts.

Here ground speaks
its one word: tree.
No handle hits ax
more square, more fixed
than these trunks grow,
these speeches
of rock rise up.
But look,
loose at the top,
sun and soil have their leafy say.

Falling from trees,
children accelerate
thirty-two feet
per second, per second.
Lie in the dark,
shine a lantern up--
color! leaves still green.
Under your back,
ground water walks
a mile per year.

Gah! -- Handles hitting axes! Children succumbing to gravity with Newtonian precision!

It's the elegiac tone of much of her work, not to mention the title of this particular collection of poems (Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974), that's made her one of the more well-regarded women among the devout who lacks a clear religious affiliation -- and deservedly so; I know no one who can claim to be more palpably spiritual than she.

Who Decides What Is Racist, Sexist, etc.?

Lately, I've given Lindsay, nee Majikthise, a hard time on a couple of points -- whether effectively is not really the point. I always preface my criticisms by mentioning my regard for her writing and her intellect, but qualified criticisms are still criticisms. Of course, criticism is what makes the blogosphere go round. If, in fact, the blogosphere goes round. And of course reasonable minds may differ as to the revolutions or rotations of the blogosphere. It's subjective. I'm just saying.

But this is one of those credit-is-due moments that I can't pass up.

A couple of days ago Lindsay posted a detailed discussion defending against widespread charges of racism a recent insensitive PETA advert that asks "Are animals the new slaves?" In sum, she wrote, in response to Steve Gilliard's indictment of the ads as racist:

PETA's point of view also deserves consideration. If you believe, as they do, that animals have the same moral status as human beings, then it follows that our society's treatment of animals is directly analogous to slavery. We own them, we use them, we kill them for food and sport. * * * * Perhaps PETA is being racist for pulling the earlier Holocaust campaign but refusing to pull the Slavery campaign. If PETA cares less about the feelings of lynching survivors like Dr. Cameron than it does about those of Holocaust survivors, that's racist. However, it may be that PETA pulled the first ad because its opponents raised a bigger backlash. PETA deserves to be criticized for being insensitive, and inept, but not for being racist.

Gilliard evidently didn't take too well to those who disagreed with his imputation of racism to PETA.*** His follow-up post contained this exemplum of reasoned argumentation:

First, let me say that I find it incredibly condescending to be told that images are used in a way I know are racist are not. I don't need anyone to define racism for me. I especially don't need to be told that I have a problem in defining it..

My reaction to that is quite simple and direct: go fuck yourself.

Ah, the sweet smell of civil discourse.

Lindsay's response, her refutation of Gilliard's conclusory, vulgar, and vaguely derogatory riposte to his critics (which, to be fair, precedes a rather long-winded possibly well-sourced counterargument, such counterarguments being the stuff of productive dialog, although it appears principally to focus on his premise that blacks have historically been equated with "lower" animals, a premise no one seems to contest; it's the soundness of his argument at issue, not the accuracy of any of its premises), is simply brilliant.

She doesn't sink to his level. She very patiently deconstructs and eventually decimates his argument, principally by discussing the implications of converting the hermeneutic and fundamentally social inquiries concerning racism (e.g.) into principally subjective exercises, or ones in which only those who are of the disadvantaged group are permitted to weigh in on the larger issues. Lindsay continues to elucidate her argument extraordinarily well in responding to various people in comments.

From my peculiarly law-centric point of view, I can't help but observe that among the consequences of Gilliard's view, something Lindsay appears implicitly to recognize, is the incipient collapse of Title VII anti-discrimination law. Congress is white; Title VII seeks to provide objective rubrics for assessing whether a claimant has been discriminated against and whether a given workplace is hostile. This ever-so-important remedial context would be rendered either farce or dead letter by any government level accession to Gilliard's view about who gets to decide, assess, indict.

The point here isn't really whether PETA's advert is insensitive. No one seems to question that it was in poor taste. But as Lindsay points out, PETA's whole propaganda M.O. is shock value (or communications if you prefer -- I'm a vegetarian, and I abhor many aspects of how we treat animals in the U.S. and around the world, but I have very little use for PETA, which is about as good for the pro-animal lobby as Michael Moore is for the left). I was vaguely appalled, albeit rather tickled, when the other night I saw their spot relying on graphic cat porn to push the virtues of neutering cats.

Anyway, as long as Lindsay won't find my use of the feminine form offensive (and who am I, en-penised and estrogen-deficient, to decide?), I offer a much deserved Brava! from the third balcony for an eloquent and incisive pair of posts.

*** Actually, if PETA's guilty of any -ism, it's almost certainly misanthropy, or human-ism, or whatever it is you would call the privileging of animals' rights higher than those of all those dirty, murderous, horrible people.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tonight @ Havana, Etc.


TONIGHT 08.17.05

TREVOR COMBEE & JWAN ALLEN - 10pm to 2am - If you missed Trevor on Friday @ Defiance then this is your second chance to see & hear him. Catch this drunk while he's still in the burgh. Jwan is also performing ... as DJ and chaperone i.e. the person who makes sure Trevor makes it to this gig ... seriously ... after dissappearing from afterhours on Friday night I found Trevor sleeping on my front porch Saturday afternoon ... in a suit and tie no less ... the guy is known to disappear then show up without warning. I now have Trevor's records at my house as collateral ... so he'll be there tonight.

Anyway, for those who know these two you understand that their sets are not to be missed.

Specials: I'll think of something by tonight
NO COVER / 21+ / I.D. Required
Back Patio Open



CRAIG SIMMONS - (Soul Soothing Productions, WRCT) - Funky & Deep House
DISCO DAN - (Revolve, Zythos lounge, Sports Rock) - Progressive & Deep House
DVS - (Electrasoul, Koala Tea, Phictional Physics) - Progressive House and Breaks


5832 Forward Avenue
PGH (Squirrel Hill)

Searches That Land Here, and Other Miscellany

Tonight's review of what search-engine queries led reader's here discloses these two gems:

fat fixie middle aged


todler penis pic***

And in the meantime, for your delectation, I give you this "missed connection": "to my ex-boyfriend's clearly insane girlfriend who thinks I'm a threat - 26"

Nighty night.

*** Best part of the "todler penis pic" search is that AOL in all its automated absurdity asked "Did you mean 'toddler penis pic'" taking the search far more seriously than it deserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Portrait of the Artist as an Erstwhile, Sentimental, Excruciatingly Young Man

In preparing to move, I have embarked on a magnificient purge of all manner of things, which has in turn led me to examine things I have not examined in some time. I have two things to share.

First, on a loose sheet of paper buried in the bottom of a paper drawer I never use (paper? how quaint!) I found on the top half a proposed paper outline, dating it as an undergraduate notation, and on the bottom half what appears to be a draft of a card I recall sending to my first love's parents on the occasion of her 21st birthday. I'll spare you the outline, because it's evidently responsive to Aristophanes (and haven't we all had enough of that), but the draft of the note to my ex-'s parents is just too rich to pass up.

It would seem improper to celebrate R___'s birthday without doing anything for you. It has taken only a fraction of our six months together for me to realize what wonderful parents you are and have been. And imagine: to have had her, watched her grow into the amazing person she is, for twenty one years! Thank you for having such a superlative daughter, and for welcoming me as you have.

I suppose it would be redundand to tell you that her parents thought I was the bees knees, even for a couple of years after we broke up. They were truly fantastic, and R___ still is (albeit in a decidedly married way, now), but still -- was I ever so credulous, so earnest?

To leaven the perception of me I fear this creates, I'll reach back even further, to another stationery drawer find, a series of leaves which plainly were typed, and thus betray their origin as sometime in high school, lo nearly fifteen years ago. Each fragment, each false start, appears on a separate leaf, and the effect of reading them is something like skimming a flipbook. Asterisks separate the leaves as arranged below, in the order in which I found them.

"Jack, you listening to me man?"
"What, Peter? I mean I got blood and gore on the box, a beer in my hand -- what could you possible have to tell me, pray tell."

[There is, to be fair, an indication that this page followed another, so who knows how the box got bloody and gorey and why beer is relevant. Note, however, Jack's use of Elizabethan language notwithstanding the blood, gore, box, and beer. That obviously was carefully constructed to signal poise and erudition in equal measure.]

* * *

A massive semi, highlighted in neon purple light, sped by at no less than ninety miles per house, kickingup a curtain of indifferent vitriol over the reinforced mylar shell of his aging jacket. He ducked his head, turtle-like, and paused to listen as the strange whine of the electric rig was pulled off into the rainy night, it's [sic] noiise so fine, so insistent as to avoid almpost any trasce opf doppler diostortion.

[Here we learn that I wasn't so craven as to shy away from setting stories in a remote future when hitchikers and the like wear mylar (Back to the Future II, anyone?) and electric propulsion has advanced to a point that it can propel tractor trailors to homicidal speeds. Also note the personifying attribution of "indifference" to "vitriol," all of which, I'm sure you can agree, adds up to "water." Needless to say, my optimism about alternative energy sources failed to anticipate the Bush 43 administration. Also, do turtles "duck?" Well, I guess they do when they're being pelted by the interstate wake of an environmentally friendly truck. I also suspect I wasn't then the 90 wpm typist I am now.]

* * *

Rthe night opught to be a time during which al;l are welcome.

[Because, as everyone knows, the night belongs to Michelob.]

* * *

["]Hey! You need a beer there buddy?" He was prayin, visibly prayi that his buddy wouldn't. He most wanted to tell, this was plai evident.

[So, think my teenage self was overly optimistic about what life would be like once he was legally able to drink in bars? I do.]

And that's all I got. So far. I can't wait to see what else this systematic purge unearths.

Say It Ain't So, T.O.

The fans take T.O.'s hold-out seriously; "Jeremy," for example, just wants justice to be done.

Dear T.O.,

All I want is for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. Before you came, the Eagles couldn’t even get to the Super Bowl. Then you came, and we were the best Eagles team I had ever seen. We got to the Super Bowl and almost won. You were awesome! I decided that with just a little more practice this year, we could win it all.

But then my dad told me that you might not be on the team anymore. I was really upset and cried. Then I watched the news and saw that you were crying too! This made me cry even more! You said you needed to feed your family. I asked my mom if maybe we could help feed your family so that you would stop crying and help us win the Super Bowl. My mom told me that the Eagles gave you over 9 million dollars last year and that you can afford to buy your own food. I told her that you were crying and maybe you had spent it all already. She told me you were going to get 3 million more dollars this year. I asked her how much a hot dog costs. That’s my favorite food! She told me they were 25 cents unless you buy them from the Eagles in which case they cost 5 dollars. I asked if she thought you could afford to buy enough hot dogs to feed your family and she said “Oh yeah”, but not in a normal way, she said “Oh yeah” in the way she says it when I ask her if I have to go to school or take a bath.

It gets better. Read the whole thing (For You T.O., or, for short, F.U.T.O. Good stuff.

Morning Coffee

Emily, nee Throckmorton, has an alter ego, a ten-year-old overbrimming with the sort of enthusiasm one expects of ten-year-olds (or the sort of feigned enthusiasm one expects creepy forty-year-olds expect of ten-year-olds, thus tailoring their creepy false ten-year-old profiles accordingly), and she has taken the liberty of restating ten-year-old Emily's personal statement for herself, both now and as a ten-year-old.

Although I almost never play the echo game with little exercises like these, for some reason this morning I can't resist. Perhaps because Emily's not inviting anyone to play with her. And that way I'm sort of inviting myself over. Which is better than doing as I'm told. And kind of in keeping with the socially inept ten-year-old me.

So here goes -- my personal statement now:

Hey guys! Thanx 4 readin my blog! My name is Moon Over Pittsburgh! I am thirty-one years old! I have gray eyes and brown hair (but with some grey!). I still can't grow a real beard. But if I could it would be grey!!! I love playing whatever videogames my friends have, since I'm terrified of the vegetable I would become if I had my own PS2! My favorite male singer these days is Andrew Bird! Or maybe Elvis Costello! Or Beck! I don't know. I don't think any of them are really hot! But my favorite female singer, Kristin Hersh, is pretty! My best friends R Jason, Andrew, Matt, Cindy, Ryan, and much more! I like shopping at Red White & Blue where I can buy velvet and corduroy and knock-off jeans for pennies on the dollar! Also, I can buy really gross cookware there too. And tacky lamps. And coats with fur collars!!!!!! And then I give it all back on my next trip. I climb rox (not so much now) and ride my bike! I never use the brake!!!!! Last night I discovered that my messenger bag holds a six-pack very comfortably! But on Friday I learned that two bottles of wine and two cans of refried beans aren't so comfortable in my bag. I am buying a house. IT IS KILLING ME!!! I try to do as little as possible. So buying a house was really STUPID, coz now I've ALWAYS GOT THINGS TO DO. I like hiding in my room until the scary people leave. And when the phone rings I jump like I saw a ghost. Mommy says I'm a recluse. I don't know what that means. She says look it up. I say talk to the hand. I have an AIM screenname; it's xxxxxxxxx. I should get more. Coz one isn't enuff!!!

And my personal statement when I was ten:

Hey guys! Not sure where U R reading this, but I'm pretty sure it's not on my BLOG! What a funny word, BLOG. Sounds like somebody ralphing: BLOG!!! Gross. My name is Moon Over North Jersey! I am ten years old! I have blue-green eyes and really bad hair. My dad still cuts it (thanx a lot, DAD!). I read Stephen King books like it's my job! My favorite bands are Tears for Fears (except I'm not positive they're out yet) and Quarterflash except I misspelled it on my Trapper Keeper without the first R. My best friends R Lowell and Sam and pretty much no one else! I like shopping at the Willowbrook Mall! I ride the bus there and play games at the arcade!!! I play baseball! Im in travel baseball on a very defeated team! I had a game yesterday and got shelled! My outfielders can't catch a cold! That was the first game of our new season. We lost. I can do a lot of things! I like talking on the phone but I live in a three-room apartment so my stupid brother's always there. What's an AIM screen name? Are you making fun of me?

Emily's are better, but there are worse ways to begin a morning.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Light of Reason Spotlights Hitchens

I should preface what follows with the confession that I consider much of the intellectual history thumbnailed in the Light of Reason post that prompts my own to be far beyond my ken, or at least something with which I am insufficiently familiar to engage fairly. But I do think Silber's interpretation of this fairly recent interview with Hitchens is more merciless than warranted.

Where Silber loses me (in the sense that I am loath even to chime in for fear of revealing my ignorance) is in the heart of its post, where it indicts the following excerpt from Hitchens' interview:

Q – If there was a Democratic president on 9/11, would there have been a difference of opinion in the American left about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Not from people like Michael Moore (the American film director and strong critic of President Bush), who makes a perfectly good brownshirt [fascist]. Or Noam Chomsky. No, it would not. To them it would have been further proof that the ruling class just has two faces and one party. But I think, in the mainstream of the democratic and Republican parties, you would have seen an exact switch. Richard Holbrooke’s position (Holbrooke was Clinton’s UN Ambassador and is a leading Democratic foreign policy thinker) would be Dick Cheney’s position. The ones in the middle would have just done a switch, finding arguments to support or criticize the war. In fact, I remember that people in the Clinton administration spoke of an inevitable confrontation coming with Saddam. They dropped this idea only because it was a Republican president. That is simply disgraceful. It is likewise disgraceful how many Republicans ran as isolationists against [former Vice-President] Al Gore in the 2000 elections. The only people who come out of this whole affair well are an odd fusion of the old left – the small pro regime change left – and some of the people known as neoconservatives who have a commitment to liberal democracy. Many of the neocons have Marxist backgrounds and believe in ideas and principles and have worked with both parties in power.

Silber replies, in part:

What Hitchens admits here is partly accurate, but his characterization is most decidedly not. It is undeniably true that many of today’s neoconservatives are former liberals and leftists, and some of them are Trotskyites like Hitchens himself. {snip}

As I have said on a number of occasions, in their transition from left to right, their worship of the State and of authoritarianism generally is the one constant that has remained unchanged for these leftists-turned-neoconservatives. In addition, as I explained here, these newly-minted rightists were leftists of a particular kind: they were vicious nihilists—and nihilists they remain.

{big snip}

Given this background and the further analysis offered in my earlier pieces, we can see that Hitchens is telling a vicious lie when he maintains that these “old leftists” and contemporary neoconservatives “have a commitment to liberal democracy.” They didn’t then, and they don’t now. What they revere is the authoritarian state, which would dictate every aspect of our lives both here and abroad.

I don't know that I need a doctorate, or any other special credential in intellectual history, to challenge the conclusion that what Hitchens and his old-left brethren want is "the authoritarian state." To me, this looks an attempt to lump one's intellectual adversaries with "the bad guys," adversaries of principle if you like, a practice and meta-topic that has prompted quite a little cat-fight over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Of course, Hitchens does himself no favors when he concludes the interview this way:

They [Islamist radicals or, as Hitchens calls them, Islamo-fascists] gave us no peace and we shouldn’t give them any. We can't live on the same planet as them and I'm glad because I don’t want to. I don’t want to breathe the same air as these psychopaths and murders and rapists and torturers and child abusers. Its them or me. I'm very happy about this because I know it will be them. It’s a duty and a responsibility to defeat them. But it's also a pleasure. I don’t regard it as a grim task at all.

I find this language as grim as Silber does, and, no doubt, that's exactly what Hitchens wants me to do. Silber comments:

This is the mentality of the Apocalyptic Crusader, the man who yearns for sacred violence and death as the means of purification of a corrupted world—the destruction which is indispensable in his view for the creation of a new totalitarian state. From that perspective, he and our actual enemies are genuine soulmates—which is, not coincidentally but by the inner logic of the premises they both share, why they are locked in this battle to the death. (More on this subject will be found in this post from earlier today.) [link in original]

Even if Silber is right that Hitchens here and in general advocates a purifying conflagration, I'm still not sure how he leaps from this to accuse Hitchens of totalitarian sympathies. I am even more incredulous that Silber would find in this broad typing justification for equating Hitchens' program -- evidently prescriptive and elitist, to be fair -- with something apocalyptic. That he would serve the ends of his leftism by force in egregious cases is something entirely different than suggesting we must burn it all down and start again, and is different than the absence of imagination Silber excoriates elsewhere in connection with the modern right.

Silber conveniently fails to address this preamble to Hitchens' admittedly strident closing remarks:

Q - Some have said that only columnists and public intellectuals can afford principles, whereas politicians sometimes must succumb to realism. In your book, Why Orwell Matters, you admired Orwell because you said that he understood that that politics are fleeting but principles endure. In our day, can a politician rule by principle?

A - It depends on what the principle is. If the principle is that all men are equal or created equal, I don’t think its possible to observe that principle in practice. But if the principle is, say, something cruder such as: can we coexist with aggressive internationalist totalitarian ideologies, then I think you not only can but you should act consistently against that. Never mind the principles for one minute, but the lesson of realism is: that if you don’t fight them now you fight them later.

The observation that as a matter of historical fact, we tend to end up fighting crusaders, to use Silber's words, on either their terms or ours seems, if nothing else, defensible, and certainly illuminates Hitchens comments in favor of fighting the "Islamo-Fascists" now. It would also be nice to hear more about Hitchens' observation of his fundamental solidarity with leftists in the Middle East that he believes, in the spirit of the old left, requires him to stand shoulder to shoulder with them as a matter of duty, even where that leads him to applaud regime change. "I have friends and comrades in the Iraqi and Kurdish left," he says, "going back at least till the early 1990s. For me, supporting the war was an elementary duty of solidarity. I said: I'm on your side and I’ll stay there until you’re in and they’re out. "

I've been a layperson fan of Hitchens, ever since, following my reading of Letters to a Young Contrarian (a wry but thoughtful gift from my Grandmother in response to a veritable generation of my implacability at the holiday dinner table, which also, incidentally, has some of the most amusing cover art I've seen in a while), I started paying a great deal more attention to his work.

I also feel compelled to note that Hitchens here, as in many other instances and as the title of the above-mentioned book suggests, is studiedly inflammatory. I'm pretty sure Silber took the bait, just as Hitchens would have it.

Um, More Cowbell?

Christopher Walken for President, 2008? He says:***

Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We're outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what's important-- paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It's time to be smart about our politics. It's time to get America back on track.

Apparently he's already fallen for the debunked bankrupt social security meme. Keep that up and he won't get my vote. Then again, it would be nice to have a seer (conveniently capable of anticipating his own assassination) in the White House after eight years of purposive myopia.

Read the press release purporting to announce his candidacy.

UPDATE: Too good to be true? It appears so. I'm not sure I'm convinced. But it is pretty suggestive that google searches of Mike Hansee and Michael Hansee (Walken's supposed campaign manager goes by Mike Hansee on the Walken site) turn up nothing but a handful of blog posts about this very issue. I find it hard to believe that even a grass roots campaign would start with someone at the helm who is such an outsider, such a political naif, that he literally has no online presence whatsoever.

*** Assuming this isn't all an elaborate hoax the likes of which we've seen before.

Cutting to the Chase

A propos "Justice Sunday" Part Deux:

At the rally Sunday, Mike Miller, 54, of Gallatin echoed many of the speakers comments on judicial power, saying he believes Supreme Court justices try to create laws with their rulings instead of interpreting the Constitution.

"Activist justices -- we're trying to find out what we can do to stop that activity," he said. "Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments." [emphasis added]

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Missed Connection

Today at a local cafe, I rode up to find a lovely young woman sitting at an outside table in a narrow strip of shade. She was pretty enough that, although I probably looked fine, I felt that I was impossibly awkward with the rote task of securing my bike. I was all too conscious of her behind me, dressed modishly in unseasonable black, her flawless skin milk chocolate and honey, as I fumbled all thumbs.

I wanted to sit at the remaining outside table beside her, in hope that some random event on the street would provide an opportunity for impromptu conversation. Or seemingly impromptu conversation. Something I could say other than: "This is doomed to accomplish nothing but embarrass us both, but I simply cannot not say that you are so astoundingly beautiful and elegant and appealing that if I could come up with a way I would do nothing but sit here and admire you chastely, earnestly, without tiring or growing bored."

But it was hot; I was craven; I had my Sunday Times in my bag and I feared my capacity for abject folly. In a span of the minute or so it took me to dismount and lock up, I had rehearsed and discarded several candidate embarrassments, determining at the last that I lacked the stomach for any of them.

I went inside.

I sat in the smoking section. Awaited my bagel, muffin, and latte. Opened and slowly unpacked my Times in a ritual as old as my majority. She followed a few moments later, the sun perhaps finally warming her glamorous tangle of black curls pulled up to expose her neck, and sat across the aisle and catacorner to me, no farther from me than she had been outside, facing me. I felt a blush creeping out of the collar of my shirt. When she removed her over-sized sunglasses I felt faint.

I glanced her way as infrequently as my faltering discipline allowed, still too frequently. Sometimes I sensed her eyeing me over my paper out of the tops of her eyes, a subtle shift of her head in my peripheral vision, but my disabling insecurity only permitted me to imagine her glances aimed to chastise my own, a composed woman's way of signaling displeasure with unsought attention. Or . . .

She lit a cigarette. Perfect. It's not that I want a smoker, but I want someone who doesn't mind that I smoke, at least for now.

We sat that way for an hour or more. I screwed down my resolve to attend my paper, and for the most part did so. She took a phone call; her voice was pitched perfectly, even her idle friend banter gently mellifluous.

She shifted, pulled her knees to her chest in an unusually un-self-conscious gesture, shins pressed to the table, bare heels resting on the edge of her chair. Her posture, her expression, intent on a magazine that appeared to contain type too dense to be anything fluffy or vapid, suggested a precocious teen at the breakfast table studiously ignoring her family in favor of an expose about unsanitary nail parlors.

If one could raise words to their exponents, I would describe my state, in that moment, as smitten^3.

Finally, after a long time, she stood to leave. As she turned away from me, my mind emptied; I could no more look away than I could formulate a coherent thought. If she had turned and addressed me in that moment I would been no better than a shy todler, hiding behind the hem of his mother's skirt.

She glissaded to the front of the cafe as though to go, arch perfection in silhouette receding into the bright sunshine flooding the front of the cafe. Then she turned on some inconceivable errand and sashayed back my way, passing within arm's length, as though to retrieve something from a table behind me. I imagined whispered breath on my neck, a suggestion of requital, an invitation to walk, a name proferred, something sibilant and poetic. Almost immediately, she glided back toward the front again, tarrying not for my regard.

Mind ticking slowly back into motion, I weighed rationalizations: too young; too pretty; too aware of her prettiness; too erudite, obsessed with theory; not erudite enough, put off by my waves at literacy; wasted effort, for any of a thousand reasons, each one more conjectural, more divorced from any tangible reality, than the one it followed.

In her absence, the air thickened but the sun dimmed.

Heat Without Light

Years ago, I wrote a personal mini-essay of slightly fewer than 250 words as directed -- which I post in its fairly brief entirety -- as an arrogant shot in the dark endeavor to swing the Yale Law School admissions officials to overlook the factors stacked against me (bottom edge of the Yale range LSAT score; a royal buggering by the LSDAS in collapsing my two-year engineering GPA (abysmal) into my five-semester liberal arts GPA (sterling) into a single, unrepresentative number), with the obligatory shameless allusion to my grandfather's Yale legacy. I wasn't too proud to beg; I'm still not. I also had no illusions about my chances.

I am freezing. That is not a metaphor -- an exaggeration, perhaps. But I am very cold. The landlord of this over-priced, trendy Pittsburgh apartment building had a genius-stroke: to use a thermostat that triggers in response to outside temperature. It seemed like a workable idea when I signed the lease in June. Which was sort of like grocery shopping while hungry. Well, maybe it was more like not grocery shopping simply because one is not hungry.

I have given up my attempt to understand why the only time my steam heaters have been truly warm this winter was on a rainy day during which the temperature never dropped below 45 degrees. It is too cold to think. It is also too cold to entertain. It would be embarrassing, and when I am this cold I am not very entertaining.

This morning I lay buried in bed in dim morning light watching my ephemeral, slightly vaporous exhalations. I was trying to decide whether this constituted an ‘emergency’ worthy of my landlord’s designates; whether I could afford to await his return from vacation three days hence. Mostly, I kept thinking about how miserable I would be to leave bed. Mom would be worried about me catching my death. My fire detector beeped once piercingly, portentously, ironically.

It is almost too cold to type. It is so cold that I actually think this is an appropriate and topical essay to submit to the Preeminent Law School in the Known Universe. My late Grandfather (‘33) is turning over in his grave. He may be the only [Moon's surname] colder than me, God rest his soul. But even he is probably not as stultified as I am by the vagaries of a Parsimonious Landlord.**

I think of this only because I am sitting here, sweating freely, in a sort of torpid hell borne of utter environmental discomfort. This is nothing new. It's been like this for most of the summmer. Today wasn't even an extraordinarily hot day by 2005 standards. It is what it is.

But I simply cannot sit about reading, loll about really, loll about flipping between women's beach volleyball and whatever other terrible TV I can find, with a house hanging over my head like something from an Escher lithograph, closing only one week away, the move only thirteen days away, and not a thing boxed, insufficient boxes in my possession as yet, hundreds of pounds of things to throw away lest I give friends hernias for things I didn't need, lest I get off on the wrong foot by allowing my incipient packrat to play with the embarrassment of storage space he'll enjoy in the new digs. I have it in me to become one of those old bachelors with twelve cats living in the narrow corridors between stacks of newspaper. I will not give in to it. I must not. I like getting laid way too much to develop habits that repel women like kryptonite. Or rather, more such habits than already own me.

And it is a sort of ownership relationship, our habits and us. That is, in fact, my working definition of habit: a pattern of behavior or thought that exercises functional autonomy within its subject-host('s) environment.

But it's just. Too. Hot.

To do anything.


Long weeks ahead. Hard decisions. Painful signatures. Boxes and wrappings and painful good-byes. Things forgotten. Things remembered. Stair cases. Ornery cats. Hidden dust-kitties ascendant.

There are two things one should avoid in August: third-trimester pregnancy (so I'm told) and house buying.

** Don't think I don't recognize that the last sentence -- "vagaries of a Parsimonious Landlord"!? -- is a howler. Or that there's a -- unf*&kingbelievable -- grammatical error in the next to last sentence ("colder than me"?) But I keep it real, folks, and I bring it now like I brung it then. Admit it: you're all shocked and appalled I didn't get in. {Shakes head.} Anyway, then there would have been no MoonOverPittsburgh at all.

Your One Stop Shop for Everything Roberts

There are so many fantastic posts about Judge Roberts at Volokh Conspiracy, especially by Law Prof Orin Kerr, that I don't even know where to begin. Most recently, and unsurprisingly, there has been much discussion of the Naral ad, not from a progressive strategy point of view, but from a straight law point of view. Here's a list, although just visiting and browsing is rewarding enough.

Volokh on the propriety of various questions during confirmation hearings.

Kerr on "defending the bad guys," i.e., the implications of Roberts argument as an SG in the Bray case that Naral highlighted in its since-withdrawn ad.

Lindgren on the distinction between preserving or arguing for legal clarity in ways that favor odious organizations and actively supporting them and their activities. By way of illustration, he observes that if Roberts', acting for the Bush 41 admin, can properly be accused of getting into bed with violent protesters, styled "terrorists," then you're going to have to make room for Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, who voted against NOW in a related case in a way that effectively favored violent protesters by excluding them from RICO liability. This post aggregates a bunch of the prominent stuff on NARAL, so it's also a great starting point to catch up on blog commentary on the issues.

Volokh provides a number of links to released Roberts-related documents.

Kerr on whether Roberts is "another Henry Friendly," the famed and universally well-regarded judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for whom Judge Roberts clerked after he graduated law school.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Majikthise Hosting the Circular Firing Squad

The best part is, the target of the circular firing squad is the circular firing squad -- that is, the party disunity railed against in this thread is evidenced by the thread, something I'm sure is lost on none of the participants. It's like rain on your wedding day.

I think Majikthise is the bee's knees, and I think this is a worthy debate we need to have -- i.e., the degree to which we should compromise the root intellectual pluralism of progressive thought in service of party / movement unity -- if suggesting such a debate isn't itself as paradoxical as everything else about this discussion. I find it suggestive that her title, "The first rule of Fight Club," alludes unabashedly, if with tongue in cheek, to the necessarily cultish overtones of demanding that those Democrats with misgivings about NARAL's campaign of misinformation against Judge Roberts reserve their squabbling for hissed exhanges in the bedroom after the children are asleep.

In any event, I don't have a lot to contribute that I haven't already said in other connections, both here and in at least one comment at her site, but I do think the discussion is well worth having and is hosted well at her blog. There is also some cross-posting / -commenting going on between Majikthise, and Sebastian Holsclaw and Katherine over at Obsidian Wings. A clash of the titans of sorts, and on a crucially important topic.

Moon's Ass Gently Handed to Him

For those of you used to my high-handedness, I just want to provide a mute testament to my humility and my willingness to recognize when I've been slapped around like the bitch-ass punk pseudo-intellectual I sometimes reveal myself to be. Most recently, Mike the Mad Biologist and friends put me back in my place, far far away from biology and back in front of the law books to which, at least on a good day, I most properly belong. Check out MMB's post that started it all, and then check out the thread in which I am most roughly abused.

Mike Cameron's Literally Broken Face

I've been staying away from baseball here, because a) I feel disconnected from my team, the Mets, by distance and an inability to see them play, and b) because who really cares, and c) because for every five or six game spell that makes me happy about them there's another four or five game spell that irritates hell out of me. And it shows: they're playing almost perfect .500 ball, and according to an article on ESPN a week or three ago, they are threatening to be the team most consistently around .500 for an entire season in the history of MLB. Every winning streak suggests that won't happen; but each winning streak is offset by a follow-on losing streak.

Last night, the Mets lost a heartbreaker to San Diego, which is having a similar season, but for the fact that being just over .500 in the NL East leaves you in the cellar while being just over .500 in the NL West puts you in first place.

In addition to losing the game, the Mets lost their sparkplug right fielder, Mike Cameron, to one of the ugliest outfield collisions I have ever seen in a lifetime of watching and playing baseball. Bar none. This is ugly. Here it is described:

Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran sprinted toward the sinking liner, both outfielders watching the ball and diving toward the same spot.

They didn't see each other and smashed face-to-face in what many of their New York teammates said was one of the scariest collisions they've ever seen. The Mets who ran to the fallen pair during the seventh inning of the 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday said Cameron was dazed and bleeding from the mouth.

Cameron was taken off the field on a stretcher, his body immobilized and his neck in a brace. He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he underwent two CT scans. Cameron broke his nose, had multiple fractures of both cheekbones and a slight concussion, and was to be hospitalized overnight, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said. Cameron was placed on the disabled list.

If you think you have the stomach for it, go to the article and click the ESPN motion link in the top right section of the layout. But I warn you, it isn't pretty. In fact, it's downright amazing to me that Beltran walked off the field relatively unharmed. Both of them could have been crippled.

Pittsburgh Blogfest 3, Post-Mortem

Last night, as some of you may know, was Pittsburgh Blogfest 3. For general misanthropic reasons, as well as due to concerns about Moon's anonymity, I vacillated considerably over the past couple of weeks regarding whether to attend. Props are due WoJo, Cindy, and whoever else I'm missing that ought to be thanked for making the event happen.

Everything was mellow, it was nice to put some faces with some names, and I was surprised to encounter a couple of local bloggers I know in the real world. First, Erik of WilliamPittsburgh is an acquaintance (I've been running into with odd frequency lately; maybe I should stop going out and, you know, seeing people; it's not very misanthropic of me to be so, you know, visible of late). Then, of course, there's LawProf Michael Madison, who has added to his local color Pittsblog and law-centric Madisonian the new local-local (Mt. Lebanon) color group blog, BlogLebo. Not that I care much for Mt. Lebanon (at least for now, I'm a dedicated city boy; I grew up in an affluent bordering on opulent suburb, and have had quite enough of it for now), but I do care for Professor Madison's insightful comments, which never neglect to acknowledge, tacitly or explicitly, the Mt. Lebanon is an affluent bordering on opulent suburb with all the silliness that attends that status. Which is not to say he's not serious in his discussion; plainly he is. He's just honest, too.

Finally, Moon made some new friends, and found some new sites to add to his blogroll as soon as time permits. In no particular order:

Colleen and Joe run PittsburghDish.

Then there's Ol' Froth, whose as much of a hoot online as he is in meatspace.

Also, All Jacked, and Inner Bitch. I'm sure I'm missing someone, and I'm sorry.

In sum, however, a wonderful evening.

And I'll stop there, lest I just duplicate all of the effort that has gone into establishing and maintaining the wonderful Pittsburgh Webloggers to less salutary effect.

And hey, wait a minute -- Where was Shar?!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

With Friends Like This . . .

It saddens me that abject lies and misinformation are promulgated in my name, and in the name of progressives and moderate Democrats everywhere. And -- although it pains me to say so -- "abject lies and misinformation" is the most temperate description I can offer of NARAL's new advert offering these reckless and demonstrably absurd insinuations about Judge Roberts' position in a case concerning whether old legislation designed to enable prosecution of the KKK could be applied to those who used violent means against abortion clinics and doctors. The Times reports:

"Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber," the narrator's voice says. The spot concludes by urging viewers to: "Call your senators. Tell them to oppose John Roberts. America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans."

Factcheck, on which we all relied during the presidential campaign when it served us to do so and on whom we ought to rely until they are shown to be ideologically imbalanced or otherwise wrong, opines that "'the ad is false' and 'uses the classic tactic of guilt by association.'"

There are two very important points. Again, as in the anti-Roe v. Wade comments isolated from a brief Roberts wrote as an SG, this misses the obvious point that Roberts had a client and a cherry-picked position waiting for him, and only the option of how to advise the administration and how, precisely, to formulate his argument before the Supremes. Secondly, his position in the abortion clinic case was reasonable, ethical, and defensible. His position suggested nothing more than an effort to limit the reach of a narrowly-tailored law to the conduct at which it originally was aimed.

There are plenty of laws, as there always have been, of which violent abortion protesters can run afoul. Arguing that one obscure law doesn't apply hardly puts Roberts in the way of the door to the clinic hurling Molotov cocktails or waving pictures of aborted fetuses.

This is precisely the sort of tactic that makes the left look like a bunch of raving lunatics with little connection to reality, and it is precisely that perception that the right uses against us. NARAL, do us all a favor, and if you must protest this nominee at all, don't adopt the disingenuous, underhanded, and creepy double-speak tactics of the adversaries you excoriate for precisely those methods. You'll win nothing now, lose us battles in the future, and make us all look bad.

Please please please -- can we please maintain the high road here. I'm not saying there aren't reasons to oppose Roberts. I'm just saying that we cannot afford to resort to lies and propaganda. The cost to our credibility is simply too high when we're probably a year away from a far more dangerous nomination and fight.

UPDATE: As promised in the comment thread, I intend to write at some length about Bray and what I think Roberts' role in arguing that case connotes. In the meantime, I want to point out that it took all of five pages of the Bray opinion to confirm for me that two of the points raised in the above blockquoted factcheck commentary are absolutely true:

1) as Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts defended the Administration's view of a law, passed during the Reconstruction era and not materially changed in the interim, that comported with prior Supreme Court precedent more or less down the line. That's what SG's do. They promote views of the law. And only in the most obtuse sense can we realistically construe his position as supporting a party or parties. The SG is a sort of administration ombudsman, who has the unique privilege of arguing a view of federal law without directly representing any party in interest. That a given argument might serve one party or another disproportionately is inevitable, or else the view of the law promulgated wouldn't be much of a view. After all, it's disputes that come to the Court, and if you're inclination is to call something a tie then there's really no point in being there to begin with. That's simply not the same as supporting violent protestors or bombers; the case there at issue involved neither violence nor bombings, but merely a question whether federal law applies to a particular group of people running obstructionist protests of abortion clinics.

2) "America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans." Um, okay, I'm on board with that one. But absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, about Roberts or his conduct in or outside of his role in Bray suggests his ideology (just for starters), or that his ideology (whatever it is) "excuses violence against other Americans." On the reading most favorable to NARAL's position, all one can conclude from Bray is that he thought patently violent activities like violent protests (not protected by the First Amendment) or firebombing abortion clinics (even only a very few mainstream righties approach approving this) are better managed by resort to state law rather than constitutional equal protection jurisprudence. He "excused" no one; he merely argued, again on behalf of an Administration qua client, that parties injured by such conduct did not have recourse to a particular subsection of federal law.

Occam's razor, folks. Let's keep it simple, and keep our voices down, if we want to have a real discussion about this stuff.

More on Bray to follow.

Thursdays @ Havana & Additional Weekend Stuff

Jason C announces the following:

Tonight at Havana on Ellsworth

BROTHER MIKE - 10pm & 1am - Deep Soulful House Music

VINNY - 11pm to 1am - It all starts here; Vinny's birthday weekend. Expect some great House music tonight then go check out his party at Cozumel tomorrow night.

Specials: $2 Yuengling Bottles and $3 Mojitos
NO COVER / 21+ / I.D. Required
Back Patio Open

Jason C adds:

What a weekend ... Pay attention and you might have fun,


First, go check out SOMA MESTIZO and their World Beat Voodoo sound @ the Shadyside Arts Festival
Main Stage @ Ellsworth Ave. and College Ave.
6:30pm Performance - No Cover

Second, head up to Walnut St. to continue the celebration of Vinny's B-Day at ...
Friday August 12th, 2005
Cozumel Restaurant, 5505 Walnut St., Pgh (Shadyside) PA
9pm to 2am
$6 before midnight / $8 after
Featuring the sounds of :
SHAWN RUDIMAN - Live PA - TechNoirAudio
LOLA - New York City - DeepSeeNYC
TREVOR COMBEE - aka The Instigator

8pm-2am @ the Shadow Lounge on Baum Blvd!
A night of fantastic Northern Soul, R n' B, 6Ts, Funk, Reggae Music.
2 rooms, 1 hot dance floor and free drinks from 8-10! [byob after that sorry
tickets are $6 in advance or $8 on the door!!! [so buy 'em ahead of time
available at Luxx in South Side/ Brave New World in Oakland/
SteelCitySoul / or thru or!!!!!
Sponsored by Miss Killerdulce, Luxx, Soulcialism and the Steel City Soul

Who Needs Terrorists?

For that matter, who needs improvised fertilizer-based explosives and the like?

Read this story of a truck driver, younger than I, taking a turn too fast with nearly twenty tons of presumably legal explosives in his rig, and creating an explosion that effectively vaporized the truck and left a 25-foot-deep crater in a Utah highway.

Are there no precautions for loads this size? Are modern explosives, the legal kind, still so volatile? Have you ever felt less safe on America's highways? I haven't.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dissing "Mom"

Until today I've largely been ignoring this whole Cindy Sheehan affair. And my omission only began to trouble me when Bloodless directed my attention to an infuriating exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin in which they suggested that Sheehan's protest on behalf of her son, who was KIA over a year ago, was treasonous and otherwise improper, the repugnance of which presumption I realized I couldn't fully gauge without knowing the background. A few searches later, and I learned what I had been missing.

The topic itself has passed me by, and I'm not going to try to catch up now. It did, however, lead me to a rare reading of a Maureen Dowd column, doubly rare lately insofar as she's been off on book leave (oh yay!) most of the summer, her spot filled principally with the pitch-perfect caustic wit of one Sarah Vowell, who will so be missed on the Op-Ed page.

As much as I find that I have no time for Dowd's pithy platitudinous self-indulgent failures to find le mots juste, I find myself wholly pleased with the following simple passage:

It's amazing that the White House does not have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't.

It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people - an ordinary guy who clears brush, and brush is the only thing he talks to. Mr. Bush hails Texas as a place where he can return to his roots. But is he mixing it up there with anyone besides Vulcans, Pioneers and Rangers?


It's getting harder for the president to hide from the human consequences of his actions and to control human sentiment about the war by pulling a curtain over the 1,835 troops killed in Iraq; the more than 13,000 wounded, many shorn of limbs; and the number of slain Iraqi civilians - perhaps 25,000, or perhaps double or triple that. More people with impeccable credentials are coming forward to serve as a countervailing moral authority to challenge Mr. Bush.


Selectively humane, Mr. Bush justified his Iraq war by stressing the 9/11 losses. He emphasized the humanity of the Iraqis who desire freedom when his W.M.D. rationale vaporized.

But his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.

Now I'll buy that for a dollar.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Your Tax Dollars Hard at Work

I've been waiting for this inevitable news, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time or research until the same statistics emerge in Pennsylvania in the wake of its helmet repeal law.

Motorcycle fatalities have risen sharply in Florida since the state repealed its mandatory helmet law.

States that repeal such laws run the risk of increased deaths and mounting health care costs for injured bikers, according to two studies released Monday, one by the government, the other by the insurance industry.

So our state government spends its valuable time increasing the burden on taxpayers by entitling as a matter of law people to behave in ridiculously dangerous ways (note, children under twelve are required by Pennsylvania law to wear a helmet on a bicycle, but their skulls at that age are probably far more resilient than the average middle-aged weekend warrior on six hundred pounds of ear-splitting (and environmentally non-compliant, like as not) chrome and steel).

Yet no one says a thing when the very same phenomenon -- health-related burdens on public coffers -- is cited in support of the umpteenth tax increase on cigarettes. Nobody taxes Big Macs or plates of ribs specially, and God forbid anyone charge a fee of some kind from those people who want so badly to feel their hair blow in the breeze astride their Harley and who ought to be willing to shoulder the additional burden their conduct imposes on other more prudent individuals, but cigarettes, so what if the price of a cigarette has doubled in the past eight years or so. They're smokers; they deserve it. (For the record, I've yet to see the clinical study equating riding helmetless with the narcotic power of heroin and cocaine; those studies are there for nicotine, however. Remember, boys and girls, some addictions are diseases; some, evidently, are lifestyle choices, as easily dropped as an annoying verbal tic.)

I hate to get on my soapbox, but this helmet law bullshit has pissed me off from minute one. Don't get me wrong, I stake out fairly libertarian positions on things like this; the difference is, mine are consistent, not responsive to whatever electoral breeze happens to be blowing on a given week. It's popular to hate smokers; it's popular to spend $20K on a bike, another $2K on leather, and then ride around on a Saturday, mid-length freak flag flying, pretending not to be a well-to-do financier with a McMansion in Sewickley.

Sin tax one, sin tax all. That is, if you must sin tax at all.

Product Endorsement, GLAD ForceFlex

In a test you won't likely see on TV any time soon, and a propos another generation of attorneys having just taken their bar exams, I would like to note that the new GLAD ForceFlex line of bags, my relatively arbitrary choice of disposal package for the de-garbaging of my dusty apartment, kicks ass.

I just loaded into one of these bags something like six phonebooks and relatively airy sundries, and it managed ably. This turned out to be no more than a warm-up. Next, I inverted one of these bags over a tower comprised of the entire 2003 Pennsylvania Bar Exam curriculum relied upon by BarBRI patrons that season, with attendant loose hand-outs, a few hundred rubber-banded index cards, and a legal pad and a half worth of sample essay outlines. Successfully sheathed, like a giant condom'd penis ready to penetrate a recent law grad's constricted sphincter, I knocked it over. It thudded loud enough to rattle china in the downstairs neighbor's pad, and I cringed, the hour growing late. (I only even bothered with it tonight because I had trouble imagining how such an odd tower would appear to any prospective renter who might pass through tomorrow (like some weird law student conflation of Close Encounters' mashed potatoes with Poltergeist's stacked kitchen furniture), and it's in my interest that someone ink this apartment for September right quick.) The bag was almost too heavy for me to lift with both hands, and yet the bag held. Finally, I cinched it down, hoisted it up to shoulder level, and walked it down to the curb sagging over my shoulder like a fat wet sleeping black lab; and hotdamn if that sumbitch didn't make it intact.

So GLAD ForceFlex = good.

And, for those of you who just took the bar, the second you recover from your post-passage hangover some fine October morning, hunt down your corresponding volumes and throw them out. I let them stress my apartment's floor joists for two years thinking for some odd reason they might come in handy. I'm a moron. They only ever just took up space. Get rid of them as soon as you can, take it from me; all those cheap paperbound tomes serve to do is remind you of one of the more unpleasant summers you have ever endured, and all the crap you learned that has virtually nothing to do with the law in practice.*

* See also, The Worst Alibi Ever

Monday, August 08, 2005

Moving Out, Cleaning Closets, Selling Stuff

A long time ago, there was this now-defunct site, They took in old CD's. Granted, they didn't pay out cash, but they provided a trade-in value redeemable from among their selection. What was so brilliant (well, they failed, so maybe not as brilliant as a business model as it was appealing) was that the trade-in value was equal to the purchase value for any given CD. Thus, in theory, you were getting equal value. Now of course, they did build in a margin in the form of a fixed shipping fee of a few dollars per order, and a $2/CD purchased premium, but this was all above board, understandable, and modest when offset with the fact that they would send you a box with shipping pre-affixed to accommodate your trade-ins. I loved that place, and when they died so did a piece of me, honest.

In connection with my impending move and my attendant laments about how to get rid of all my useless stuff, my friend directed me to the new answer to SwapIt, SecondSpin, which functions more like a traditional used CD store. Tonight, I fished out from the back of some cupboard a box of CD's I'd designated for trade-in, sale, or garbage literally several years ago. I wrote everything down, then I hopped on line to see what SecondSpin would have to offer.

A couple of notes: first, the prices seem pretty reasonable when compared with my limited experience of used CD stores -- arguably damned reasonable, though I don't suppose it'll be cheap to ship nearly forty CD's. Plus, their database is insane; as I'll presently show, I searched on some seriously obscure crap of interest to virtually no one, and literally the only thing that had a UPC code that I couldn't find was an obscure drum and bass compilation disc they'd be fools to buy in any case. Finally, as a point of interest, the stuff that drew the highest prices (seven discs drew $5, and a double-disc drew $6) was not necessarily what you might expect. My only pattern observation is that those things that sold like mad for a short time are the least remunerative, as they probably suffer from a double-whammy -- high supply, and a bunch of people tripping over them in their inflated collections and saying, "How did I end up with this crap."

Without further ado, and with commentary, here was my list. I fully expect you to chirp about this stuff, mocking me for owning things, mocking me for selling things, mocking me because it seems like fun. Bring it!

Afro Celt Sound System Volume 2 Release $5.00 (good disc; never really got me)
Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust $5.00 (great disc, but one only needs a couple of CB CD's)
Connick, Harry Jr She $0.50 (overpriced)
Costello, Elvis Spike $3.00 (not his best work)
Cowboy Junkies Miles From Our Home $2.00 (Nytol will help you get your zzzzz's)
Cranberries Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? $1.00
Crystal Method Vegas $5.00
Deiselboy Drum & Bass Selection $4.00 (this is the CD that directly preceded him turning into a bad-ass)
Delerium Spiritual Archives $1.00 (I cannot account for their odd backroom popularity)
Dimitri International Club Union Session::3 $2.00 (mistake; I was looking for a different artist, Dmitri with only two i's)
Dj Icey Generate $3.00
Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac $3.00 (Rumours is where they begin and end for me)
Goodman, Benny Sing, Sing, Sing $2.00 (???)
Headrillaz Coldharbour Rocks $1.00 (faddish, passing)
Jewel Pieces Of You $0.50 (screw you, you know you owned it)
Lo Fidelity Allstars How To Operate With A Blown Mind (Explicit) $0.50 (I have a vague memory of liking this long ago)
Luscious Jackson Electric Honey $1.00
In Search Of Manny (EP) $2.00
Natural Ingredients $1.00 (the best example of the short very popular run thing)
Matthews, Dave (Band) Remember Two Things $5.00 (enough already with the DMB)
May, Derrick Innovator $6.00 (great historical artifact, but I don't play techno for historical purposes, and the world has moved on)
Moby I Like To Score $3.00 (oh yeah? well you look like you never do)
Olive You're Not Alone (5 Song Single) $0.50 (your guess is as good as mine)
One True Parker Will I Dream? $1.00 (here as well)
Presidents Of The U.S.A. Presidents Of The United States Of America, The $0.50 (fun for about seven minutes fewer than the disc lasts)
Pretenders Learning To Crawl $5.00 (should have some Pretenders but I'll simply never play it, and $5 is pretty cool)
Prodigy Music For The Jilted Generation $5.00 (jilted. ennui ennui. next?)
Redman, Joshua Freedom In The Groove $5.00 (the epitome of the vanilla contemporary jazz I just can't stand)
Simply Red Picture Book $3.00 (again with the should-have but won't-listen thing)
Soundtrack Saint, The $3.00 (amazing they pay anything for this oversold tripe)
Steely Dan Decade Of Steely Dan, A $2.00 (own all of these on their original albums now)
Tears For Fears Elemental $0.50 (Songs from the Big Chair is more than adequate)
Tortoise + The Ex In The Fish Tank 5 $3.00 (cool, but didn't bear too many listens)
Tricky W/Dj Muggs & Grease Juxtapose $2.00 (cool, but didn't bear one listen; a CD others probably think is incredible, and I think just drones in that way Tricky sometimes seems to think reflects high art)
Various B.B.C. 1: Big Beat Conspiracy 1 $2.00 (ummm)
Prince Paul Presents Prince Among Thieves $3.00 (Tommy for the MTV generation. Cool for like five minutes)

Total $92.00

Not a bad take, assuming it doesn't cost me more than $15 or so to send. And I get the satisfaction of knowing perfectly nice CD's remain in circulation instead of dying in some goodwill somewhere or rotting in my attic (!!!) or a landfill.

For those of you who will help me move, you're welcome. More weight to be shed in the coming weeks.

Two Angry, I Mean Greedy, Jackson Jurors

This disgusts me. And I mean that word in its proper, nearly fierce sense: Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook truly disgust me. Here's why:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Two of the 12 jurors who voted to acquit singer Michael Jackson of child molestation and other charges said Monday they regret their decisions.

Jurors Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook, who both have pending book deals, planned to appear Monday night on the MSNBC show "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct."

In a preview shown Monday on NBC's "Today," Cosby asked Cook if the other jurors will be angry with her.

"They can be as angry as they want to. They ought to be ashamed. They're the ones that let a pedophile go," responded Cook, 79.

Excuse me, they? Meaning, They who didn't sell out their hypocritical indignation about the workings of American justice for a pocketfull of silver? It gets better:

Hultman, 62, told Cosby he was upset with the way other jurors approached the case: "The thing that really got me the most was the fact that people just wouldn't take those blinders off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there."

Yet for support Hultman evidently has nothing more to point to than the fact that, in an initial anonymous poll, three jurors voted to convict. Tell you what, 9 of 12 jurors voting acquit ain't half bad with such a sensational case, not by a long shot. And it's not like 9 - 3 turned into 12 - 0 in six hours; the jury deliberated for a very long time.

And what might he mean about "those blinders?" Could he mean that the jurors, the poor oppressed jurors, were bound by law to consider only the evidence the judge directed them to consider, and further circumscribed their inquiry by telling them what to consider and what considerations would determine the verdict. 'And then the dumb bastard went on about some "beyond a reasonable doubt thing," when anybody with half a brain who watches FOX News just knows the queer did it.'

Explaining the turnaround by Cook and Hultman, consultant Larry Garrison, who is working with both on their separate books and a combined television movie, said all the jurors "had an agreement [to be united] and then basically when they went on 'Larry King Live,' both Eleanor and Ray couldn't tolerate what was going on anymore. They said, 'Enough is enough."'

Great, thanks Garrison, since you certainly have no conflict of interest. And thanks CNN for treating him like somebody with something to say. Anyway, it's not like these two are completely obtuse.

In June, Hultman told The Associated Press about the verdict: "That's not to say he's an innocent man. He's just not guilty of the crimes he's been charged with."

Funny, that's true about all of us, and that's the whole thing -- Hultman -- with the whole proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and why juries down hand down "innocent" verdicts. Not because people are or are not innocent, but because the defense has no burden to prove innocence. Similarly, Cook previously has said, "'We had our suspicions [that Jackson had committed a crime], but we couldn't judge on that because it wasn't what we were there to do." Right. Once again, jury instructions prevail.

Juries perform a sacred duty. This is an embarrassment.

And by the way, Shame on you, CNN, for making not a single one of the above observations about the duty of a juror to help contextualize the greedy machinations of a sensational publishing industry and two opportunistic assholes with nothing better to do.

In fact, Shame on everyone noted in the story, CNN most of all for not including one source of repute or one fact not mouthed by someone with an axe to grind. Seriously.

eXTReMe Tracker