This "round of hearings" is the reason I won't see my wife at all during the next month - her law firm is representing some of the parties involved in deciding if and how to charge for streaming radio broadcasts.
Is the American Medical Association in touch with its members, or is it committing political malpractice?
Senator Leahy used to have strong opinions about the so-called "vacancy crisis" in our federal judiciary:
Any week in which the Senate does not confirm three judges is a week in which the Senate is failing to address the vacancy crisis. Any fortnight in which we have gone without a judicial confirmation hearing marks 2 weeks in which the Senate is falling further behind.
So now that he's chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, what's he doing?
Vacancies are now at their highest level since March 1994, 10 of President Bush's nominees have been before the Senate for 79 days, and it's time for Senator Leahy to show us just how sincere he really was.Falling behind.
ESPN's college football poll consensus is out, and look which Big Ten team is in the top fifteen:
Kansas State is No. 11 in the consensus with Michigan, Oregon State, Northwestern and UCLA in the top 15. LSU places 16th with Notre Dame, Washington, Mississippi State, Clemson, South Carolina, Ohio State, USC, Alabama and Wisconsin rounding out the consensus top 25.
Florida State, my other alma mater, is in the top four as usual, behind the overrated Hurricanes, Gators, and Sooners.
There, I said it. I'll never say it again.
Update: Actually, w00t!
Bored with apes? Go see Made. Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughan are together again, and any movie with either one of them is automatically worth seeing. Putting them together is just explosive.
Last month, I posted a little tip about how to use social-engineering to fool customer service drones into actually helping you. Recently, Alex Scofield wrote to tell me:
After an infuriating 15-minute voice mail maze loop with AT&T "customer service", it suddenly occurred to me to try the stunt as outlined in your 6/24 blog entry. Worked like a charm! I called AT&T and went to the Join AT&T Long Distance option, where a human being took my call within a minute or two, then transferred me over to billing. Although it does little more than preach to the choir, The Economist's cover story deals with this issue in a general "State of Customer Service" piece that's worth a read.
So, try this at home, kids! And if anyone can dig up a free link to that story, feel free to let me know.
One of the best justifications to butt in on Gary Condit's private life: he's consistently voted to butt in on yours.
When you cut back on insecticides, what do you get?
Another explanation for the resurgence of bedbugs is that bug exterminators no longer indiscriminately spray poisonous chemicals, pest-control experts said.
Now that they have the power of investigation, the Senate plurality has a newly-discovered interest in overseeing the integrity of the executive branch.
The very day that U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the agency to preserve all such records, Browner had everything deleted from her computer files. The judge has demanded an explanation. Oddly, Sen. Lieberman has shown no interest in this episode.
Alas, this interest was nowhere to be found even seven months ago.
Departing Ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson has filed papers to run for governor of Florida. The move was hailed by some Florida Democrats:
Miami attorney and Democratic fund raiser Chris Korge [said], "Peterson is without a doubt the best candidate that the Democrats can field for governor."
If that's the case, Florida's Democratic party is in deeper trouble than anyone might have thought.
Peterson, former POW in Vietnam and later Congressman from Florida's first congressional district, is barely coherent. In 1995, he spoke to my graduating law school class for what seemed like days but may have only been 45 minutes, rambling and babbling to the point where audience members elbowed each other and asked in whispered tones if Peterson was off his medication. Peterson makes our current President sound like Winston Churchill by comaprison.
I've heard that Peterson now has better aides who rein him in better when he's on the stump, but he'll have to work a lot harder to cover up his deficiencies if he wants to wrest the Governor's Mansion away from Jeb. President Bush should have won this Republican-dominated state by a landslide, but just squeaked by. Peterson doesn't share any of the advantages that put W over the top, and his race therefore looks a whole lot grimmer.
Today in Genoa a protester, 23 year old Carlo Giuliani, armed with righteous rage against repression and injustice and what appears to be a roll of packing tape on his right arm, was killed, shot twice in the streets by the Carabinieri. Then, in a fit of excessive cruelty, the kind of excess that capitalism is best known by, the Carabinieri ran over his dead body with a heavy police vehicle.
Kendall apparently wrote this before he saw the pictures showing that the masked man was armed not just with packing tape, but with a fire extinguisher he was preparing to launch at the car. Other pictures, in this weeks' print edition of Newsweek, show Carlo's fellow masked hooligans battering the car's occupants with long wooden planks. Is it any wonder they shot? Is it any wonder they drove over the body in their rush to escape the violence? Everyone knew this one would blow up - it was too hot even for radical groups like EarthFirst, founded by convicted eco-terrorist Dave Foreman.
“I’m very glad I am not there,” said Angharad Penrhyn-Jones, an Earth First activist... Hooligans, she said, “have come along and hijacked the whole thing."
Hijacked? There's nothing to indicate they weren't driving the whole time.
I've heard people drawing analogies to the Kent State tragedy. This was no Kent State, and to say so cheapens the memeory of those who died in Ohio. Carlo Giuliani was a hooligan in a mask, a convicted criminal, and if he becomes a martyr, it will be the most powerful statement of purpose the opponents of globalization can make.
Deroy Murdock rebuts the cover article in the print version of the National Review, by looking rationally at gay marriage. Murdock takes the libertarian slant on things, asking, why do we need the government's permission to tell us how to marry?
Since gay people will not go away, social conservatives should welcome a strategy to advance homosexual fidelity and stability. ...It should not be government's concern which individual a person identifies as an heir, hospital visitor or recipient of Social Security survivor's payments.
Murdock is right when he says that homosexual couples making lifelong commitments to each other pose no threat to like-minded heterosexual couples. If a gay man down the street finds the man of his dreams, that is no way lessens the mutual devotion between me and my wife. In fact, having stable families in the neighborhood (whether they are "family" or not) is more likely to strengthen my community and provide a stable environment for my own family.
Marriage and our society intersect in two primary places: government and God. Our government sanctions marriage in all sorts of ways. This is even true of taxation when one looks at all the myriad ways government taxes its citizens and gives small breaks to married couples. Once we replace our income-distribution model with a fair tax system, singles and married couples will enjoy equally low taxes anyway, so that point will be moot. Almost every other spousal privilege can be handled through durable powers of attorney, many of which are easier to obtain than a marriage license. (When's the last time you had to get your blood drawn before the government let you obtain a durable power of attorney?) So the best answer, the libertarian answer, is to get government out of marriage entirely.
As for God, well, who are we to say He doesn't approve of gay men and women pledging their lives to each other? If God is love, isn't God there, too? The old argument about Leviticus 18:22 has been pretty thoroughly debunked as the province of hypocrites and absolute literalists. (Unless, perhaps, you have indeed sacrificed a bull to the Lord this week?)
Link wrangler: Reductio ad Absurdum.
Rebecca will be relieved that the publicly-held debt (as opposed to the debt the Federal government owes itself) has dropped every single month since this President took office, to the total tune of $125 billion. So she can take her refund and send me a great big Oscar-the-Grouch doll.
More potential obstruction of justice: FoxNews reports that a witness saw Gary Condit dispose of an object just hours before the police searched his apartment. The item was apparently a box from a watch given to him by yet another extramarital lover. The federal prosecutor's office is investigating whether Condit may be charged with obstruction of justice.
The British have a novel legal theory of criminal law: when a government official lies under oath to hide an embarassing extramarital sexploit, they put him in prison.
For the next several years, hurricane season may be a little more dangerous than it has been for decades:
Scientists say the Earth's climate goes through cycles, but they don't know why. Right now, Atlantic water temperatures are slightly warmer than usual, by just half a degree Fahrenheit.
Yet another example of climate phenomena which scientists have observed, but simply don't understand.
Dineen had a happy one. Thanks for all the good wishes.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been working on a project relating to the merger of two large agricultural companies. These companies produce, well, let's say pork bellies. (They don't.) The law firm handling the merger has brought in over a hundred contract attorneys to pore thorugh the companies' records and compile the "second request" for information from the Department of Justice. We have worked in two shifts, seven days a week, some since the beginning of June. When we're done, the DOJ will spend weeks poring through everything that has been turned over, looking for evidence that this merger will create an anti-competitive market for, um, pork bellies.
Remember something: almost every crop grown in this country is subject to rigorous price regulations or supports of some kind. This, um, pork belly industry is no different. These companies can't buy or sell a single, um, pork belly except at minimum prices decreed by the federal government. Yet the companies have had to spend mind-blowing and offensive amounts in legal fees to appease the Department of Justice, which claims that it wants to protect consumer interests by promoting competition in the marketplace.
All this leads to one question, blindingly obvious to anyone but a government regulator - if you want competition, why don't you stop fixing the prices?
No matter what he may or may not have done that we don't know about yet, the things that we do know Gary Condit has done get more disgusting by the day. Yeah, so he had an affair - maybe even several. Not even news in Washington anymore.
But then he lied to cover it up - when his truthfulness might have helped police find his missing mistress. Condit, like Clinton, apparently believes that lying to cover up an affair is simply a natural and understandable human reaction, and that it's ok no matter who it hurts. Not anymore.
As if he weren't making things bad enough trying to save his own skin, Condit has now gone out and hired a private lie detecter expert to grill him about the case. Unsuirprisingly, he passed with flying colors.
Even if the Congressman is not involved with Chandra Levy's disappearance, he's doing his very best to make himself look guilty. Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable. Now we know that so, too, is the Congressman from California.
Don, rest up, and hurry back. The web needs a Ratbastard around.
Note: check out the new entry at almost.org.
On the mall for the Fourth of July, braving pouring rains and generally having a blast, we happened to see a culture jammer wearing a t-shirt with the Adbusters corporate logo flag on it.
He also wore Adidas sneakers and Gap khakis. Brave soul.