Friday, June 14, 2002

Kewl! Thanks to the Judds and Tracey Wilson I now have a button (Go here, and scroll down). They offered to put one together for me awhile back -- I started to play with one but never got it done. Looking at my schedule, I could see I wasn't going to get it done, so I finally surrendered my pride and accepted their offer -- why did I wait so long?

Learn from the Idiot -- never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Go USA! Beat Poland!

Update 7:34 EST: Argh! Poland up 1-zip, uh, nil. Emmanuel OLISADEBE(ski, I'm sure).

2nd Goal. . . and just 5 minutes into the game... At least Pawel KRYSZALOWICZ is a Pole...

It's over -- a third goal in the 66th minute. So how does all that goal differential stuff work -- Let's see, I guess South Korea has to win 15-0?? And I guess the US must score at least once, right? Update. Actually, on the webcast, they just noted that Korea finally scored and that the US would continue if Korea won 1-0.

Finally. A US goal -- but just, what, 7 minutes left. Korea's still ahead 1-0.

Game is Over, and the USA loses, but since Korea has won, the US goes on.
Comments. After all my efforts, I think I have finally activated comments. I know I like to use this feature on others blogs, we'll see if it works here.
Apology. After talking with my Dad last weekend, I see I owe Chris Burgwald a public apology. Although we can, and do, disagree, I must acknowledge that my approach toward that disagreement crossed off the path that Augustine mentions ("So that we may keep to the path, in love, as we fare on toward Him, 'whose face is ever to be sought.'"). I'm sorry Chris and ask your forgiveness.

As my father-in-law frequently says "We can disagree without being disagreeable."

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Neil Young. New book out on Neil Young, who is probably my all-time favorite.
Bethlehem Chapel. Frontline is running a show on the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem tonight.
"God is great. God is good. Thank you, God, for my food." That simple prayer may be said aloud by a 5 year old kindergarten student again in New York. Once again we see the triumph of the citizen over the petty official.
Catching Up. I'll spend the next few days catching up, after a quick trip to visit my parents in North Carolina and then a visit to Hampton for work. I received a lot of messages and will get to those as well.
Not a vehicle. From Rich Hailey, I see that a Federal Judge has ruled that an airplane was not a mass transportation vehicle as defined by section 801 of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272, 374-76 (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1993) (“section 1993"). Hailey lodges his complaint against the defense attorneys in the case, but when I heard this story on the radio, my gripe was against the stoopid judge.

So, when I checked the story out, I was pretty surprised to find out the judge in the case was William G. Young, a very respected trial court judge, appointed to the bench by President Reagan. Reading Judge Young's decision, which you can read here (in .pdf), I can see his point.

The relevant text of the US Code, Title 18, §1993, is as follows:
Sec. 1993. Terrorist attacks and other acts of violence against mass transportation systems
``(a) General Prohibitions.--Whoever willfully--
``(1) wrecks, derails, sets fire to, or disables a mass transportation vehicle or ferry;
``(2) places or causes to be placed any biological agent or toxin for use as a weapon, destructive substance, or destructive
device in, upon, or near a mass transportation vehicle or ferry, . . .

The statute later contains a series of definitions, including one for "mass transportation," however, not one for "mass transportation vehicle" or "vehicle" itself. “Mass transportation” is defined by a crossreference to section 5302(a)(7) of Title 49 of the United States Code (“section 5302"), “except that the term shall include schoolbus, charter, and sightseeing transportation.” 18 U.S.C. § 1993(c)(5). Section 5302 defines “mass transportation” as “transportation by a conveyance that provides regular and continuing general or special transportation to the public.” 49 U.S.C. § 5302(a)(7). Based on this, if Congress had just left it at "mass transportation," I'd say that Judge Young was wrong to toss this count.

However, Congress used the phrase "mass transportation vehicle" without including a definition or cross reference to a definition. So it is a legitimate issue as to whether "mass transportation vehicle" includes aircraft. I would agree with the government that it does, if there were no definition of "vehicle." In fact, so does Judge Young: "The Court holds that an aircraft of the type involved here engages in 'mass transportation' as that phrase is defined in section 5302." (slip opinion at 10. See also, at 12.) Therefore, if the U.S. Code doesn't define "vehicle," the count stands.

As you can imagine, the code does define "vehicle" very precisely: "The word ''vehicle'' includes every description of carriage or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on land." Title 1, Section 4 (my emphasis). Moreover, the Supreme Court has previously slapped down a case that sought to stretch the meaning of "vehicle" to include aircraft, McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25 (1931), as Judge Young notes at 13-15.

As those of you who know me can guess, I look to Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons for guidance:
More (very still) What is the oath?
Roper (Puzzled) It's about the marriage, sir.
More But what is the wording?
Roper We don't need to know the (contemptuously) wording -- we know what it will mean!
More It will mean what the words say! An oath is made of words! It may be possible to take it. Or avoid it.
This isn't just a neat trick on the part of the defense attorneys -- if anything, this is yet another failure of Congress to adequately articulate what it want prohibited, restricted, or punished. If the Congress really intended to include airplanes in this statute, it should amend the law immediately.

More. See this story concerning the shoebomber. "Let's not tell the feds about this guy, we don't want anymore delays."

Hmmm. On the other hand, Title 1, Section 1 defines ''insane'' and ''insane person'' and ''lunatic'' to "include every idiot. . . "

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Supremes. Six cases today -- I've only skimmed through them. The one that caught my eye was a case involving the EEOC and was unanimous in part and split 5-4 in part. What caught my eye was the 5-4 majority, with Thomas writing being joined by the four liberals. Time to surf over to How Appealing to get the real scoop.
Update. Family things kept me tied up over the weekend and now I'm in the middle of doing a training (and away from a PC). I should be back in the groove by Wednesday or Thursday.