Friday, November 15, 2002

More on Just War and Iraq. The Church of England endorsed a unilateral attack on Iraq, yet the Church of Rome (U.S.) disagrees. I wonder about the wisdom of having "Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston, chairman of the bishops' international affairs committee" coming out and saying the statement by the Bishops "does not ignore Iraq's dangerous behavior, intentions and threats." Sort of like he and his fellow Bishops didn't ignore the pedastry in the ministry?
She was an American girl.
Only a sick culture would sexualize young girls. It's disgusting. It's not just pop music, it's fashion, it's TV, it's advertising, it's every element of our culture. Young women are not being respected, children aren't being respected.

Why are we creating a nation of child molesters? Could it be that we're dressing up 9-year-old women to look sexy? I really don't put it past these advertising people to say, 'Well, look, we made a lot of money when we brought the 9-year-old out and made her look like a hooker. Let's do it again.'

I think television's become a downright dangerous thing. It has no moral barometer whatsoever. If you want to talk about something that is all about money, just watch the television. TV does not care about you or what happens to you. It's downright bad for your health now, and that's not a far-out concept.

I think watching the TV news is bad for you. It is bad for your physical health and your mental health. The music business looks like, you know, innocent schoolboys compared to the TV business. They care about nothing but profit. They will make a movie about murdering their kids, you know? And they'll put the guy who killed them on TV. And before long, he might even have his own show."

—Rock singer Tom Petty, interviewed in the Nov. 14 issue of Rolling Stone
Zero Stars. Steven Segal movies generally suck and it appears that this one is no different. There is a wonderful website, Rotten Tomatoes, that surveys all the reviews of a movie and classifies each as being "fresh" (thumbs up) or "rotten" (thumbs down) -- usually even abysmal movies (jack***) get one or two fresh ratings. Not this one -- it scores a big fat Zero on the old tomatometer
"Fed Sock". That's how those who work for the nefarious Federalist Society refer to their organizations. I'd hoped to go to the convention in town this week -- but work calls.

Of course, this is an extremist group of right-wing attorneys who routinely get together and sing of the glories of the Fatherland and plot how to bring down the government of the people. We won't be satisfied until every male is armed, every female is pregnant, and Corporations can operate with child labor to dump toxic chemicals in the streams and lakes of America.

Actually, no.

I joined nearly two decades ago as a person who favored the repeal of the 2nd Amendment and supported most of the so-called leftist agenda, just because it was a place where one could discuss and debate a wide cross-section of ideas, one of which was Roe v. Wade. If anyone questioned certain orthodoxy in the groups on the left from a perspective that was not on the left, that person was immediately suspect. So I kept quiet about Roe. But I also had concerns about affirmative action and welfare -- and just raising these questions immediately made you out to be anti-poor or racist. Nevermind, for example, that my problem with affirmative action was caused by an African-American client who was seeking access to public housing. Because of his race, he was put on a waiting list and told it would be about 2 years before a space opened up. At that time -- the early 1980's -- a white family would only have to wait at most three months for a space. The reason? The public housing project had to be racially mixed. I had similar doubts about welfare when I began meeting clients who were third (going on fourth --their kids) generation welfare. Ulitmately, I sided with Daniel Patrick Moynihan opposed to welfare reform and am thankful that I was wrong.

My point is that, yes, FedSoc is a conservative legal organization. Yet it is one that allows and nutures the free exchange of ideas and is a lot more welcoming of liberals than liberal organizations are of conservatives. One small example, the faculty advisor of the FedSoc chapter at American U is Jamin Raskin, former counsel to Ralph Nader. Would a chapter of the NLG choose a Lino Graglia to head their organization?

See here for Eugene Volokh's defense of the Fed.Soc.

No secret handshakes -- no payments from Israel or South Africa or the Weathy Industrialists -- no midnight rituals.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Programming Note. I may be tied up for a week or two -- I'll try to post the Power Rankings next week -- but that might be it for awhile.
The Other Poindexter. John Poindexter has been in the news, again. Yet, I believe if you really want to know about this guy, you have to know about his wife, Linda, a woman who entered the ministry in the Episcopal Church. And then gave it all up to become a Roman Catholic.
Daughter of Blithering Idiot. My daughter, age 13, took this quiz and wants everyone to know she's definitely TJ. Just with better fashion sense:

She's also Washington, D.C. for the quiz below.

Congratulations, you're Seattle, the Emerald City.
What US city are you? Take the quiz by Girlwithagun.
Tucks and other controversial plays.Not a Fumble It's been building up for, oh, I don't know how long...

I saw a replay of the "tuck" fumble during last week's game.

Then another.

And another during MNF.

Of course, ESPN is reliving this and other controversial rulings, in part, because it's their game of the week. The worst ruling, in my mind is still the US-USSR basketball re-re-replay. The one that haunts me, however, is the immaculate deception. Once I got a pristine videotape from NFL films of that play and ran it fram by frame and I swear you could see the ball bounce [as in off the turf] before Franco Harris' hands grasp the ball. Of course, it's out of the frame. I'd love to see the original film of this -- like the Zapruder film, if you look "beneath" the sprocket track, I'm convinced you'll find the missing evidence. The ball bouncing off the grassy knoll.

In the meantime, here's what Eric Allen had to say about the play and here's a column about it's impact on the current Raiders.
More Effective Commentary. According to the National Council of Churches (motto: "...communions of faith joining hands and voices to express the love of Christ and the hate of Republicans") the "hateful and destructive" Jerry Falwell is responsible for the death of Christians in Muslim countries. This, according to "the governing body of the NCC, whose 36 member denominations comprise 50 million adherents."

Jerry Falwell "put[s] at increased risk the lives of thousands of Christian missionaries and humanitarian aid workers, as well as their Christian partners abroad who are engaged in heroic efforts to be peacemakers and bridge-builders in difficult and dangerous circumstances." Moreover, he "create[s] ideal conditions for breeding terrorism among those who may not understand that he does not represent the majority of Christians or Americans."

They sure sound a lot like the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, below, don't they?
Effective Business Correspondence. Ya gotta love a letter that has this as it's opening sentence:
You may recall the huge clamour fabricated by the President of the United States administration, in the biggest and most wicked slander against Iraq, supported in malicious intent, and spearheaded in word and malevolence, by his lackey Tony Blair, when they disseminated the claim that Iraq had perhaps produced, or was on its way to produce, nuclear weapons, during the time when the United Nations inspectors had been absent from Iraq since 1998.
Pithy, Polite, Persuasive.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Cumulative Power Ratings. The Pack is back! For the first time, we have a consensus number one pick and it's the Green Bay Packers. Here's the average of the main media power rankings (or indexes) into one cumulative list:
No. Team Cu. Hi Lo
1 Packers 1 1 1
2 49ers 2.75 2 4
3 Saints 3.88 2 11
4 Bucs 5 2 9
5 Broncos 5.38 3 9
6 Eagles 6.38 2 8
7 Steelers 6.5 4 10
8 Falcons 8.25 5 10
9 Patriots 9.38 5 12
10 Chargers 9.88 7 16
11 Raiders 10.5 5 15
12 Rams 12.88 8 17
13 Dolphins 13.88 8 19
14 Bills 14.25 11 21
15 Chiefs 15 10 19
16 Colts 16.38 14 22
17 Titans 16.75 11 23
18 Giants 17.14 15 21
19 Jets 18.38 14 22
20 Ravens 19.88 17 22
21 Jaguars 20.13 14 24
22 Browns 20.63 18 23
23 Redskins 22.25 19 23
24 Cardinals 24.63 20 28
25 Panthers 25.25 24 28
26__ Seahawks____ 25.38__ 24__ 27__
27 Lions 27.38 26 30
28 Cowboys 27.88 26 30
29 Bears 28.25 25 30
30 Vikings 29.38 27 30
31 Bengals 31.25 31 32
32 Texans 31.75 31 32

Sources: ESPN, TSN, War Room, Sagarin (USA Today), CBS, AP, CNNSI, and Sports Central.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Randy Barnett. There are a few notes here and there -- the Professor, most noteably -- mentioning Randy Barnett as an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court.

I should write more about this -- these are some preliminary thoughts. Randy Barnett (like Roger Pilon) begin their theory of Constitutional Interpretation based on the limits of enumerated rights. Personally, I find this appealing and persuasive. However, this is not where the Court is now, either on the "right" or the "left." Therefore, to nominate a Barnett or Pilon could burn up a tremendous amount of political capital.

For example, with Barnett he has theory of unenumerated rights is that there is a general presumption of liberty that places the burden on the federal government to show that its regulatory activity is consistent with the the Constitution:
At the national level, the government would bear the burden of showing that its acts were both ‘necessary and proper’ to accomplish an enumerated function, rather than, as now, forcing the citizen to prove why it is he or she should be left alone. At the state level, the burden would fall upon state government to show that legislation infringing the liberty of its citizens was a necessary exercise of its ‘police power’ – that is, the state's power to protect the rights of its citizens.

--Randy E. Barnett, A Ninth Amendment for Today's Constitution, 26 VAL. U. L. REV. 419 at 426. (1991) .
Oh, what the heck, I'll have to come back to this.
He is evil. I used to be a liberal -- I was proud of it. I can not get over, however, how the left deludes itself and twists the language to support its own agenda. Ben Domenech had a brief syllogism that included the phrase "Bill Moyers is evil." Yeah, right, I thought, how is he going to prove this. So I clicked on the link and found Pope Moyers writing
It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich.

It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable.

Transferring wealth? -- umm, Bill look, I'm opposed to regressive taxation and corporate welfare -- those are values that I didn't lose when I left your brand of liberalism, but it's the statists like you that favor giving government control over private wealth and spending decisons. Eviscerating the environment? When did you get a Michael Moore sized lobotomy?

Of course your main concern was the first one on your list:
That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives.
Try this on for size: The power of the state to force business owners to give up control of their businesses to protect a fictious protected animal?

Why, Saint Bill, do you believe the state has the power to seize money and property from private individuals, but is powerless to intervene when a defenseless voiceless person's life is at state?

Ben's right -- Bill Moyers is evil.
Victory. Last night's win by my Raiders was sweet. Jerry Rice is, without a doubt, the greatest wide-out to ever play the game. Rod Woodson keeps surprising me as well -- his interception and return was definately the turning point in the game. And what can you say about Rich Gannon and the O-line? Magnificent.

IMHO, Referee Mike Carey is the best in the business today -- there were only two officiating problems: (1) Shannon Sharpe caught the ball that they ruled was a dropped pass, although this may be one of those instances, like the Tuck rule, where they had to rule the way they did. (2) That whole foul-up with the clock on the Raiders first possession of the second half -- the officials were too slow to spot the ball after a measurement, then they reset the clock for five seconds instead of 25 and neglected to tell Gannon.

Next up, New England (speaking of the tuck rule).

Oh yeah, (update), I forgot about the ruling on the sideline pass that cost Gannon the record of thirty straight completions to open the game. This was a pretty minor play in the context of things, although much later in the game the MNF crew showed that the sideline pass, which had been caught and ruled out-of-bounds, was a good, i.e., valid, catch -- it was in bounds. You know when they go back during the week and review film, the NFL will make corrections to statistics related to yards rushing and so on. I wonder if they would make a change on this -- it doesn't affect the outcome of the game, but it does alter the record book. I think that, after further review, they determine this was a valid catch, they should put it in the books as 30 straight completions. Either that, or they should stop using the film to alter game statistics. (Although, I acknowledge there is a qualitative difference between yards rushing and number of completions.)

Monday, November 11, 2002

What if someone steals your thumb? I really love the Atlantic magazine -- it's one of the few I subscribe to. The September issue had an article with a number of wonderful sidebars on security. One section dealt with the current facination with biometrics:
Biometrics—"the only way to prevent identity fraud," according to the former senator Alan K. Simpson, of Wyoming—identifies people by precisely measuring their physical characteristics and matching them up against a database. The photographs on driver's licenses are an early example, but engineers have developed many high-tech alternatives, some of them already mentioned: fingerprint readers, voiceprint recorders, retina or iris scanners, face-recognition devices, hand-geometry assayers, even signature-geometry analyzers, which register pen pressure and writing speed as well as the appearance of a signature.

* * *

Smart cards that store non-biometric data have been routinely cracked in the past, often with inexpensive oscilloscope-like devices that detect and interpret the timing and power fluctuations as the chip operates. An even cheaper method, announced in May by two Cambridge security researchers, requires only a bright light, a standard microscope, and duct tape. Biometric ID cards are equally vulnerable. Indeed, as a recent National Research Council study points out, the extra security supposedly provided by biometric ID cards will raise the economic incentive to counterfeit or steal them, with potentially disastrous consequences to the victims. "Okay, somebody steals your thumbprint," Schneier says. "Because we've centralized all the functions, the thief can tap your credit, open your medical records, start your car, any number of things. Now what do you do? With a credit card, the bank can issue you a new card with a new number. But this is your thumb—you can't get a new one."
I heartily recommend the full article and the sidebars. (Oh, what the heck I'll put in this long quote from one of the sidebars:
Surprise, when it happens to a government, is likely to be a complicated, diffuse, bureaucratic thing ... It includes gaps in intelligence, but also intelligence that, like a string of pearls too precious to wear, is too sensitive to give to those who need it. It includes the alarm that fails to work, but also the alarm that has gone off so often it has been disconnected. It includes the unalert watchman, but also the one who knows he'll be chewed out by his superior if he gets higher authority out of bed. It includes the contingencies that occur to no one, but also those that everyone assumes somebody else is taking care of. It includes straightforward procrastination, but also decisions protracted by internal disagreement. It includes, in addition, the inability of individual human beings to rise to the occasion until they are sure it is the occasion—which is usually too late. (Unlike movies, real life provides no musical background to tip us off to the climax.) Finally, as at Pearl Harbor, surprise may include some measure of genuine novelty introduced by the enemy, and possibly some sheer bad luck.)

Like I said, read the whole thing.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

War Plans? My wife said she heard that the NY Times published a leaked copy of the Iraq War Plans in today's paper. When I checked on-line I didn't see anything about this. Does anyone know anything about this. I also skimmed Instapundit and didn't see anything. Let me go check the Judds or Kevin or one of the other blogs.

Update. Not even Sgt. Stryker has anything about it. Maybe there was nothing.

More. Here it is.
Cover Watch. Newsweek magazine wins hands down. Top Gun In fact this cover is so cool, I'm planning on going to the newsstand just to buy a copy for the cover. Time has something similar, but the Time cover seems sort of smirky. The Time caption is "How they aced their midterms."

Curiously, and I know I don't normally throw U.S News and World Report into the mix, however it has a cover story on Menopause -- very surprising to go so soft against the backdrop of such a major news story.