October 31, 2004
A Question for Bush Voters
Over the last year or so, when I've asked people why they are voting for George W. Bush, I don't get much except for some variation of the idea that he's tough/steadfast/resolute against terror. Sure there are some of you who are in favor of unnecessary wars, the negative long-term effects of huge budget deficits, or even in establishing a Christian theocracy in the United States, but most of the time it comes back to terror. Please explain to me in what way George W. has been and will continue to be steadfastly resolute in the war on terra.
Here's what I know:
While George W. Bush was getting DUI's and running oil companies into the ground, John Kerry was actively fighting terrorism in the Senate. One month after Bill Clinton took office, Ramzi Yousef orchestrated the World Trade Center bombing. That's when Americans first realized that they weren't always going to be safe from international terrorism. Ramzi Yousef is now in prison and the Clinton administration spent the next 8 years actively fighting terrorism and thwarting attacks on the United States. You've heard of the Millennium Bomb plot and how it was stopped, right? How about Operation Bojinka, a plot by al Qaeda to blow up 11 U.S.-bound airliners over the Pacific? Remember when Newt Gingrich and other Republicans in the House accused Clinton of being "obsessed with bin Laden?" He had good reason to be, as we later discovered.
The Clinton hatred by the incoming Bush administration was so intense that not only did they make up stories about the White House being trashed, but they also ignored every piece of advice left for them relating to ongoing operations against terrorism. Sandy Berger tried to get across to Condie how central to her job al-Qaeda would be. Richard Clarke was shut out of the loop because he'd worked for Clinton. Remember all the warnings the FBI had that something was going on? When Ashcroft became attorney general, counterterrorism was nowhere to be found on his list of priorities. In fact, he cut the FBI's counterterror budget in August 2001. He did manage to bust a brothel in New Orleans, cover up some stone titties and finally get Tommy Chong for making bongs. I sure feel safer.
We all know Bush was on vacation for all of August 2001 and we also know the PDB titled "bin Laden determined to attack United States" was virtually ignored. For more on the pre-9/11 negligence of the Bush Administration, see Ellen Mariani's well-sourced RICO complaint against Bush, et al.
But everything changed after 9/11, you say. Maybe, but does that mean we should excuse the negligence of the past, pre or post 9/11? Sure, we went into Afghanistan, as we should have. We took out the Taliban and installed Karzai. There were elections. Whether those elections mean anything remains to be seen. But why did we really go to Afghanistan? To get bin Laden, of course. And we didn't .
What did we do instead? We let Ahmed Chalabi and the PNACers convince the doubters in the Bush adminstration that the best way to fight terrorism was to invade Iraq, incidentally the only nation in the middle east on the state department map that didn't show any al Qaeda connections. What about al Zarqawi, the man that's currently organzing the insurgency, raising havoc and having people beheaded left and right all over Iraq? In early 2002 we had information that he was operating in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, right under the U.S.-UK enforced no-fly zone. Did we take him out then when we knew right where he was? No. That would have hurt the Saddam-link-to-terra argument for the war.
In what has become a disturbingly common occurrence, Bush has blamed other people in his administration or in the military for any mistakes made in the war. Does George have a sign on his desk that says "The Buck Stops Over There Somewhere?" Just last week Rudy Giuliani was all over the TV blaming the troops on the ground for not securing the missing explosives. The orders, equipment and manpower to do that come from higher up, from the people planning the war. It all leads back to the poor planning in the Oval Office.
But we haven't been attacked since 9/11, you say. He's doing his job, you say. So what. We weren't attacked before either.
Osama looked remarkably healthy on that tape that aired Friday; healthier than he's ever looked. He doesn't look too "on the run" wherever he is.
Why I'm Voting for John Kerry
Ambimb has been looking for people giving reasons to vote for Kerry, not just against Bush. I've been compiling a list over the last couple of months and here's some of what I've come up with.
- John Kerry is reality-based. He uses the facts at his disposal to arrive at conclusions and then makes decisions based on his conclusions. When the facts change, he is not afraid to adjust his conclusions based on those changes. This is preferable to the current administration's process of arriving at conclusions and then finding or creating facts to explain them.
John Kerry is a bulldog - Contra cocaine. When he perceives injustice or corruption, he goes after it and doesn't let up. After receving information that pointed to U.S. agencies turning a blind eye to the importation of cocaine into the United States by supporters of the Contras in Nicaraugua, he investigated. Despite major stonewalling by the Reagan administration, he uncovered quite a bit. He was called a conspiracy theorist for years and it wasn't until the late 90's that he was finally proved correct.
The CIA inspector general and Justice Department reports confirmed that the Reagan administration knew from almost the outset of the Contra war that cocaine traffickers permeated the CIA-backed army but the administration did next to nothing to expose or stop these criminals. The reports revealed example after example of leads not followed, witnesses disparaged and official law-enforcement investigations sabotaged. The evidence indicated that Contra-connected smugglers included the Medellin cartel, the Panamanian government of Manuel Noriega, the Honduran military, the Honduran-Mexican smuggling ring of Ramon Matta Ballesteros, and Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans.
Reviewing evidence that existed in the 1980s, CIA inspector general Hitz found that some Contra-connected drug traffickers worked directly for Reagan's National Security Council staff and the CIA. In 1987, Cuban-American Bay of Pigs veteran Moises Nunez told CIA investigators that "it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC."
John Kerry is a bulldog - BCCI - Kerry's investigation into Contra cocaine trafficking led him in another direction, the terrorism funding of one of the world's most respected financial institutions, the Pakistan-based Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI). This investigation met even more stonewalling because powerful people from both parties were involved with BCCI at some level. Kerry didn't give up, though, and eventually the bank was taken down.
But Kerry refused to back off, and his hearings began to expose the ways in which international terrorism was financed. As Kerry's subcommittee discovered, BCCI catered to many of the most notorious tyrants and thugs of the late 20th century, including Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the heads of the Medellin cocaine cartel, and Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist. According to the CIA, it also did business with those who went on to lead al Qaeda.
And BCCI went beyond merely offering financial assistance to dictators and terrorists: According to Time, the operation itself was an elaborate fraud, replete with a "global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad."
By July 1991, Kerry's work paid off. That month, British and U.S. regulators finally responded to the evidence provided by Kerry, Morgenthau, and a concurrent investigation by the Federal Reserve. BCCI was shut down in seven countries, restricted in dozens more, and served indictments for grand larceny, bribery, and money laundering. The actions effectively put it out of business what Morgenthau called, "one of the biggest criminal enterprises in world history."
- John Kerry understands fighting terrorism entails more than just sending armies into foreign lands with no plan. - First, Kerry has intimate first-hand knowledge of how terrorism is funded via his investigations into BCCI. Given this, would Kerry have waited until earlier this month to move to freeze the funds flowing to al Zarqawi and his band of beheaders operating in Iraq? Kerry also sees that our first responders are woefully underfunded and that our ports, factories and airlines aren't nearly as secure as they should be. Allowing corporations to go soft on security because it may cost them money is not the right strategy. They choose to operate chemical plants, nuclear power plants and large container ships. They need to be responsible.
- John Kerry, like George H.W. Bush, recognizes the boondoggle that is something-D-O-O economics. - The Congressional Budget Office found that the 1/3 of the recent tax cuts went to the top 1% of earners. Is Warren Buffett going to spend that extra couple of million he got? He's already spending as much as he's going to spend. Now if the tax cuts were more directed at the people making below $250,000/yr as Kerry aims to do, we'd see people making use of their tax cuts. If I had a couple extra thousand dollars, I can say with the utmost certainty that a good portion of that money would wind up in the pockets of a contractor to put in a second bathroom in the basement. That helps small business. Giving huge tax cuts to multi-millionaires does not.
- John Kerry understands that a healthy society is a productive society. - Kerry has a workable plan for making sure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. To me, health care is a right, not a privilege. What's more important than the lives of a nation's citizens?
- John Kerry is against the death penalty - John Kerry was a prosecutor. He understands crime. I've never seen an argument for the death penalty that is able to account for the way its applied without the argument devolving into Old Testament eye-for-an-eye reasoning. I've also never heard anyone a good case for the death penalty as a deterrent. Does someone planning a cold-blooded murder include the death penalty in their calculus? They either think they are going to get away with it, or they're too crazy to care.
- John Kerry is for same-sex civil unions. - Why shouldn't homosexuals have the same kinds of rights under the law that heterosexual couples have? Whether churches want to hold marriage ceremonies is up to them, but churches don't make the laws. Voters in this state passed a Defense of Marriage Act a couple of years ago. My marriage doesn't need the government to defend it.
- John Kerry is an environmentalist. - Ever since, as Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, John Kerry organized governors to address the issue of acid rain back in the early 1980's, Kerry has been one of the biggest defenders of the environment in the Senate. I have a lot of friends who dismiss the environmental issues because they live in a city and aren't into biking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. That shouldn't matter. What should get their attention is the increased costs for food, fuel and health care that come with a contaminated environment. The operative word in EPA is Protection. Let's do that.
- John Kerry believes that his religious faith should be kept separate from his governance. - Kerry won't have Pentacostal ministers helping direct Middle Eastern policy because they believe the Rapture won't happen until the Holy Land is a completely Jewish state. Kerry believes in science and that the Colorado River, over millions of years, carved the Grand Canyon. Stem cell research holds many promises for the future. Stopping it isn't going to stop abortion. Researchers don't stand on the street corner and recruit pregnant women to have abortions and pregnant women don't have decide to have abortions based on their desire to advance science. There are far too many instances of religion overriding science in our current administration for me to cover. And it scares me. We demonize the Islamic states for ruling based on religion when there are some who want to do the same here.
- John Kerry believes in the Constitutional right to choose. - No one is pro-abortion. If we could create a society in which no woman felt the need to get an abortion, we'd all be better off. If the Supreme Court overturned Roe, abortions wouldn't stop, and more women would be at risk. Instead, we need to look at the root causes of abortion - Lack of education and economics. Sexual education is something that has been sorely missing over the last few years, and the poverty rate has increased. At the same time, over a hundred thousand young men have been called overseas. Not exactly a recipe for decreasing the abortion rate.
I could go on and on and on, but I lack the time. Besides, the readers of this weblog, liberal and conservative, have already made up their minds and I'm not about to change them.
I'm updating my EV prediction based on some recent information about new registrations, party ID and new polls.
I'm now saying Kerry: 309, Bush: 229. I moved IA into Bush's column and put New Mexico and Nevada in Kerry's. Democratic registration is far outpacing the competition in NM and NV plus those are two states that have a fairly good chance of giving Badnarik a couple percent. He was polling at around 5% in NM earlier this summer. None of the recent tracking polls offer Badnarik as a choice.
October 30, 2004
I think Wonkette really says it all when she paraphrases a milliard wargamers and says "Never get involved in a land war in Asia," common knowlege to grognards. The latest lesson, only learned through hours of RTS'ing, she also captures in this comment: "Do not read about goats when death is on the line."
Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:07 AM
October 29, 2004
Not enough time to care picks
Record after nine weeks: 18-12. Iowa, that 6-4 over Penn State was very impressive. And Kirk Ferentz keeps getting brought up for NFL jobs for what reason? Troy almost pulled out the win over LSU. Watch out for the Trojans. They're getting too good.
- Michigan St. +11.5 at Michigan
- Oklahoma St. +13 vs. Oklahoma
- Georgia -7 vs. Florida
- Ohio St. -6.5 vs. Penn St
- Kerry: 304 --- Bush: 234
October 27, 2004
I demand a recount
Tonight my partner and I were edged out of moot court competition in the quarterfinals. I can take losing, but losing by 8 points, 429-421, on a 525 point scale is a little hard to stomach. We weren't supposed to see the final tallies but my partner caught a glimpse and there was no way she was going to suffer with that knowledge herself.
If only I hadn't coughed after Judge C asked me about whatever. If only I had stood a centimeter taller. If only...
Well, at least I don't have to fret about it for the next two days. Now I can worry about next Tuesday full time.
Fed. R. Evid. 404-406
This House race in OK seems to have slipped under the radar of most big fundraisers. Despite that, it's still tied a week before the election, thanks in no small part to this ad distributed by the Democratic challenger.
My first thought upon seeing it however, was whether I could enter it into evidence under the federal rules governing character. Let's hope Tulsa voters don't apply the same strict standards as the federal courts.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:55 AM
Has anyone else seen Eminem's new video/song? Some ballotbox stuffing Kossacks got it on TRL today.
Check it out. Guerilla News Network has a good QT stream.
October 26, 2004
Check out Tom Schaller's latest column at The Gadflyer and note how absurd it sounds to a rational person.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:36 PM
October 25, 2004
One more week
Like Ambimb I too have just about given up on focusing on anything but politics over the next week. Besides the presidential election we have the 1st and 2nd District congressional races here in Nebraska. Both of those races are polling within the MOE.
Then there are the other races that are keeping my attention. How about Sen. Jim Bunning (KY-R) going publicly crazy and allowing Dr. Dan to make that race close? Tom Delay actually having to campaign in his district for the first time in ten years? It's true thanks in no small part to his ethics violations and looming subpoena combined with major contributions flowing into Richard Morrison's campaign from all over the country.
Then there's the laundry list of voter intimidation/fraud in swing states.
Thankfully, unlike A. Rickey I went ahead and picked up Rome: Total War. I have been exercising extreme moderation in my playing, but it's a hell of way to avoid political news and blogging when I'm not studying.
Intramural Moot Court
When I signed up for it, I was led to believe it wouldn't be very much work. We didn't have to write full briefs. Instead, we just had to turn in outlines. However, by the time I was done with the outline, I may as well have written the brief.
I didn't like how the problem was written and my arguments didn't feel very good. I wasn't very confident going in, but my partner and I won tonight. Now I'm in for at least two more nights. I don't know whether that's good or bad.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:07 PM
October 23, 2004
Quick and Dirty Picks
We're down to 16-10 on the season after a twin bill of present and future Big East cellar dwellers lived down to expectations along with a pathetic Maryland team losing by 10 at home to NC State. Still a respectable and money-making record, to be sure. I think I'm analyzing too much. Here's my top picks for this week, no analysis included, free of charge.
- Troy +23.5 at LSU
- Notre Dame -7 vs. Boston College
- Iowa +2.5 at Penn State
- Miami -7.5 at NC State
Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:35 AM
October 21, 2004
Tom Waits continued
And since I'm in a list making mood. My top ten Tom Waits albums. Here are the top three.
- The Heart of Saturday Night - A bit of a romantic selection since this always reminds me of Sarah. We would have liked to have this play completely at our wedding. It's a bit too melancholy for such an occasion, but still some of the most beautiful music you'll hear. The title track makes me melt.
- Rain Dogs - Easily number one on a different night. I'd make it 1B if I could without a timewasting CSS hack so it's #2 but really even with the above. Remember Rod Stewart's hit "Downtown Train?" Too bad for you, but the original in its grimy brilliance is on this album. Probably some of Waits' best ballads are on this album including "Hang Down Your Head" and "Time." One of my favorite tracks on the record is "9th & Hennepin" which is basically a prose poem set to some eerie music
Well it's Ninth and Hennepin
All the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes
And the moon's teeth marks are on the sky
Like a tarp thrown all over this
And the broken umbrellas like dead birds
And the steam comes out of the grill
Like the whole goddamn town's ready to blow...
And the bricks are all scarred with jailhouse tattoos
And everyone is behaving like dogs
And the horses are coming down Violin Road
And Dutch is dead on his feet
And all the rooms they smell like diesel
And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept here
And I'm lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway
And I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat...
And no one brings anything small into a bar around here
They all started out with bad directions
And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
"One for every year he's away", she said
Such a crumbling beauty, ah
There's nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won't fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
And the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
'til you're full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out over the side to anyone who will listen...
And I've seen it all, I've seen it all
Through the yellow windows of the evening train...
Well things are pretty lousy for a calendar girl
The boys just dive right off the cars and splash into the street
And when they're on a roll she pulls a razor from her boot
And a thousand pigeons fall around her feet
So put a candle in the window and a kiss upon his lips
As the dish outside the window fills with rain
Just like a stranger with the weeds in your heart
And pay the fiddler off 'til I come back again
- Small Change - Waits at his best in his early period of hanging out in bars and puking in bus stations as he travels the country type music. From the opening tune of "Tom Traubert's Blues" with its Waltzing Matilda chorus to the tale of a gambler's death in "Small Change" with a lone sax playing in the background, it's all good.
It's a good thing I listened to Elliot Smith last
Otherwise I would have killed myself before being able to hear the new Tom Waits and Le Tigre albums.
Le Tigre raised eyebrows in the usual circles for jumping to a major label but I could care less. Pitchfork of course hated it. It sounds like the reviewer was looking for some sort of grand fem-queer-grrl-punk manifesto and that the lack of one was a sell-out to the mainstream. I look at it from the opposite side. By not doing that, Le Tigre is playing to their base. Too bad to those who don't get it. Go buy some Bikini Kill or old Le Tigre records if you want to know where Le Tigre comes from. As for the album, politics aside, "TKO", "After Dark", and "Tell You Now" are outstanding tracks. Howevah, the cover of the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" flat out sucks, and so does the anti-war song, "New Kicks."
Tom Waits' new album, Real Gone is real good. My old roommate and current famous Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer, Kevin, reviews it and loves it. Not a big surprise if you know Kevin, but it is a great album.
Some people's exposure to Tom Waits might be limited to the theme song from HBO's The Wire. The second season featured his version. The first and third season are covers. Anyway, if you like that, there's a catalog of brilliant music dating back to 1973 that you should check out.
As for the album, it's wonderful of course. Tom drops an 11 minute song near the beginning of the record, "Sins of My Father", features his familiar horse-gait rhythms and a typically Waitsian story of death, god, love and death. Steve Earle wishes he would have written "Day After Tomorrow." "Top of the Hill" is Waits doing what he usually does with the typical Waits orchestra providing a hip-hop beat. I don't hear any singing saws on the record (a wonderful feature of The Black Rider, but there are kazzoos. But really Tom's voice is the ultimate instrument.
Regarding Elliot Smith, the Tupac of indie rock, who died as indierock a death as Tupac died a gangbanger's death, well, I'm too full of the white horse to write anything else about it.
Is This World Wide Web Log about Law School?
Yes, and just to prove it is, here is how I rank my classes this semester from worst to first.
5. Crim Pro - The last class of the day on Mondays and Tuesdays with a professor who sometimes makes dick jokes and is sometimes just a dick.
4. Evidence - Started out promising but the morass that is hearsay has me not really confused but just bored.
3. Administrative Law - Started out at number 5 but it has gotten more interesting and more coherent the farther we've moved along. It's taught by Prof Con Law which gives it a boost.
2. Unfair Competition - Would be number 1 if it wasn't a 75 minute class. The most laid back of them all and the cases are easy (Does this brand of broom look too much like that one?).
1. Constitutional Law - A subject I was excited about anyway and since Prof Con Law is such a good teacher, it's only gotten better. Too bad he goes back to Case Western in January. I do get the feeling that he'd spend the whole semester on Marbury and NY v. U.S. if he could.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:08 PM
The Curse is not gone
Despite what people might be hearing all over the sports pages, teevees and blogs, the Curse of the Bambino is not gone just because the Red Sox beat the Yankees. To break the curse the Sox must win the World Series which they haven't done since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees for a couple hundred K and a bag of pork rinds.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:05 PM
October 18, 2004
Busy Busy Busy
Yes, I'm quite busy despite the fact that we're in the midst of the so-called fall break. Of course, fall break means Monday off in the law school. The rest of the school gets Monday and Tuesday. The consolation prize is no crim pro this week.
A couple of quickies:
It's nice to see that Florida was able to get its shit together over the last four years. Combine that with the fact that the bogus felon lists used in Florida four years ago haven't been fixed. Did I mention that things are going to get kerrrrraaazzzzy?
The Drooling Chimp has refused Muslim peacekeepers in Iraq because they would be under UN control. I guess he's still not too serious about international help. Up is down. Black is white.
Last night while viewing television I saw ads by the Democratic candidates for congress in both the first (Connealy) and second (Thompson) districts on Omaha's ABC station during what is the most talked about show of the fall. Not a peep from the R's, Fortenberry or Terry. Everyone expected the first district race to be close but the race in Omaha between Nancy Thompson and Lee Terry appears to have caught the watchers off guard. Terry ran as a moderate and pledged to step down after six years, but he found himself voting according to Delay's orders and hasn't yet stepped down, and Thompson is hammering him. Reports from the ground in Omaha suggest this race might be even closer than the Connealy vs. Fortenberry. The 2nd district presidential electoral vote appears to be less than a sure thing for Bush, as well.
October 15, 2004
Even though last week's record was a pathetic 2-2...
you should still all be multi-millionaires if you're following my simple method of placing small bets with bookmakers all over the country. The Hawaii blowout win last week was the game the smart player doubles up on and recoups their losses for the day. Rumour has it that Tom Osborne is going to introduce a bill after his re-election to move the Hawaiian islands into the west coast time zone to prevent such wins in the future. Take advantage of the midnight game while you can.
We're 15-7 for the season and things in the big conferences are starting to get dicey. As it stands now the Big XII North champ should let the second place Big Ten team play in their place in the Big XII championship game.
- South Florida -15 vs. Army - The Bulls are at home which might not mean much, but against Army, it sure can't hurt. SF is on the way up and headed for the Big East. Army's worse than they were even 10 years ago.
- Rutgers -13 vs. Temple - Temple is bad...so bad they're getting kicked out of the Big East...so bad they have a 56 point home loss to Bowling Green under their belt. Rutgers has actually been respectable.
- Maryland -2.5 vs. NC State - NC State would probably win this in Raleigh, but in College Park, Maryland's at least a field goal better.
- UTEP -3 vs. Hawaii - The Rainbow Warriors come to the mainland to play when other people are awake and watching. Kind of like opening the box and looking at Schrodinger's cat, they die when observed.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:22 PM
XX THE DRUDGERY OF THE FRIDAY FETISH XX
Internet gossip really likes eggs
Apparently even more than Officer Lou. Who knows if it's true or not, and frankly who cares? Internet gossips don't. And anyway, it's funny.
As time is short, if you want to know more, google "matt drudge" and "egg fetish."
Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:26 PM
October 14, 2004
Just in case you haven't seen this stuff yet, the good folks at The Smoking Gun have posted the sexual harassment complaint filed against Bill O'Reilly, et al. by a Faux News producer (Mackris) less than a day after Big Bill filed a suit against her for extortion and IIED (those dirty trial lawyers).
I'd post some juicy excerpts but TSG just posts images so I can't copy and paste the text. It's pretty good, but if you're at all familiar with Bill's novel, you know he doesn't shy away from the purple prose.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:17 AM
October 13, 2004
A Brief Disconnect
Tuesday afternoon during Crim Pro my laptop battery suddenly died. It wasn't so bad then since my notes in Crim Pro are few and far between but when I got home and wanted to check the news a couple hours later, I was more than a little lost.
The power supply and hard drive in my desktop machine died last spring and I hadn't bothered to replace them since I had the laptop. I was computerless. It wasn't a comfortable feeling. Is that sick or just a sign of the times?
I don't have the patience to sit through the evening news or Anderson Cooper or Headline News and wait through all the fluff and BS just to find out what's going on (and that's assuming the teevee news actually tells you anything that's true anyway). It's so much more efficient to just click a couple of bookmarks and be done in ten minutes. Am I alone in feeling like this, or will Headline News go to a 10 minute cycle in a few years?
A power supply and hard drive got the big desktop with the 21" monitor running again so now I'm back on-line. Plus, Rome: Total War runs so much better on the big machine.
I am reminded of the condition of my office, though. The Eames office chair still needs to be reglued and I spilled wine on the keyboard last winter. The arrow keys don't work and neither does the left control key, which I favor for cutting and pasting.
Taking notes in class today on a yellow legal pad wasn't much different than normal. I didn't miss the internet as much as I thought I would and I still took tons of notes in Con Law and Admin Law and almost no notes in Evidence. I was jealous of all the people playing games around me. Justin must have played every game on Yahoo! during Evidence while I tried to be content with the Daily Nebraskan crossword.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:35 PM
No Debate factchecking tonight
I'm just ready for the damn election. I've been ready for four years and the anticipation is killing me. A couple of weeks ago when I went to bed the night before the Pixies show, I had that giddy 5 year old feeling I used to get on Christmas Eve. I just hope I have that same feeling on election night. If I go to bed, that is. Shit is going to be keerrrazzzzy. You can count on that.
OK, one point on the debate. I won't mention the BIG LIE of the debate since I'm sure it's already getting play over and over on the teevee. I've seen that clip over and over for 2 1/2 years now. Hopefully the liberal media won't let that one slide.
October 11, 2004
And in Local News: God Bless the Children of the Beast or, Too Fast for Love
There's a lot going on here in Fox News's Heartland right now. The most important congressional election in a generation is going down to the wire. 75 more members of the 313th Medical Company are being sent to Iraq and have been told to be prepared to be gone for two years (They don't call it a back-door draft for nothing). Also 19 more members of the 238th Aviation Regiment will be going with them.
Thank Osborne I'm sequestered out on East Campus with the farmers and the dentists so I don't have to run the risk of entering a Tommy Lee camera zone. Just today a friend on City Campus was pulling out of a parking spot and suddenly noticed a camera crew. Whoa! Tommy Lee was waiting for her parking spot. I've also heard that the un-Reality quotient is pretty high, but I'll wait to get the whole story before reporting on it.
I don't know how much of this I'll be able to take before I burn my cherished copy of Too Fast for Love.
Oh, yeah, and the football teams sucks too, which will lead the news for the next week until they squeak out a win at home over Baylor.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:52 PM
I've just been hanging out waiting for something to happen, but I guess it doesn't bother me. Such is life. That's how it is. I just don't have anything to say these days. Shrug. I've basically been doing nothing to speak of.
Thanks E. Spatch
October 09, 2004
Just in case there was still any question
The biggest nerd in the blawgosphere is indeed DG.
October 08, 2004
Fetish Friday: Crushed Crickets and Mashed Mealworms
Delving too deeply into some of those areas waaaaaaaaay beyond the sexual norm can lead to serious revulsion. Thankfully, there are usually portions of that extreme realm that are just straight up funny, especially when academics pay such close attention.
Hey, big-footed ladies. You ever step on a bug and notice some perv off to the side leering at your foot? Don't worry. He's probably just a crush freak. As G.A. Pearson wrote in the November 1997 issue of the Digest of Cultural Entomology:
Insects become a fetish object for the crush freak, who wishes to be an insect ground underfoot. Witnessing or imagining the act of a woman crushing an insect is sexually arousing. The bigger the foot the better; shoe size 9 and up are preferred. (My puny size 6 feet made me feel safe enough to discuss his obsession with Vilencia.)
The development of this particular fetish is up for debate. Jeff Vilencia, publisher of The American Journal of the Crush Freaks says:
"When it comes to the crush, several things come to mind... including the Oedipus complex, because certainly we have seen our mothers kill insects and other people kill insects, and I think that the gigantess imagery that seems to be predominant in more people than one would imagine, also come from childhood. Somewhere there was a sexual connection from seeing all the women in heels and hose while very small ourselves..."
I don't really understand what the Oedipus complex has to do with mommy stepping on bugs, do you? Maybe Pearson was a little to liberal with her ellipses in that quote.
Anyway, a more interesting, and incredibly academically wanky, theory is one put forth by writer, Jeremy Biles in his paper "I, Insect, or Bataille and the Crush Freaks" (pdf warning). Biles says,
Among the many obscure sects of sexual fetishism, few remain as perplexing as that of the "crush freaks," who are aroused by the sight of an insect exploded beneath a human foot. Moving beyond the glib discussions of those entomologists and sexologists who classify this fetish as a subset of foot worship and/or macrophilia, I propose an analysis of the crush freaks through the writings of French thinker Georges Bataille. Employing Bataille’s notions of sacriﬁcial eroticism and mysticism to approach the religio-sexual dimensions of crush freakism, I argue that these practices are best understood as ambivalent manifestations of technophilia (sexual arousal associated with machinery). More speciﬁcally, crush freakism, I submit, devolves on a violent literalization of the analogies between insects and machines.
It's worth the read, especially if you want to find out more about Jeff "The Bug" Vilencia and what he does to get off. "Vilencia will also occasionally release cockroaches onto public grounds, pointing them out to female pedestrians, and recording the subsequent smash parade with a video camera."
I wonder why this particular fetish gets such an academic treatment. Why aren't balloon popping and hiccups given their proper respect?
For something less erudite and much funnier, I direct you to the featured fetish of two weeks ago, women with big noses. Energy Spatula found it funny enough to link in this Friday's Funnies at Blawgwisdom so it must have induced at least a giggle.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 04:58 PM
Local Politics not as usual (Will Fort return Delay's dirty money?)
I know I've mentioned this here before, and I know most readers could care less, but it's kind of exciting to have a congressional race going down to the wire in my district for the first time since I was in kindergarten.
Recent polls have indicated that Matt Connealy (D), a fifth generation Nebraska farmer, and Jeff Fortenberry (R), a ten-year Nebraskan who spent most of his life in Baton Rouge, are within the margin of error of each other. The Fortenberry campaign's main focus seems to be on linking Connealy to John Kerry as if Nebraskans don't know that they're both Democrats. Connealy's going to be a rubber stamp for Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, they say. Connealy has adopted Kerry's jobs plan. Rubber Stamp! Rubber Stamp!
Why all the focus on rubber stamps? Nebraskans like to labor under the impression that their representatives are somewhat independent. My recently retired congressman, Doug Bereuter, is a good example of someone who lived up to the expectation. The current Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, votes with Bush more often than not, but Chuck Hagel, who likes to appear independent on the Sunday morning talkies, hasn't seen a piece of Republican legislation for which he wouldn't vote.
I wonder what Jeff Fortenberry's Rubber Stamp factor is? We know he has had fundraising visits from Dick Cheney and Dennis Hastert. Would they be here supporting him if they thought he'd act independently in Washington? Hastert fronts probably the most partisan congress ever assembled and extreme measures are often taken to keep the party in line.
But from where else is Fortenberry's fundraising coming? DoesARMPAC sound familiar? If you've been paying attention at all to the Tom Delay ethics implosion, you know that ARMPAC is part of the vast Delay fundraising machine. You might also know that several individuals connected to Delay and ARMPAC have been indicted in Texas and that more indictments may be on the way.
The DCCC has a good question for all the candidates, including Jeff Fortenberry, who have taken money from Delay:
What Did They Have to Offer DeLay in Exchange for His Support?
The House ethics committee yesterday voted unanimously to admonish Republican Leader Tom DeLay (TX) for attempting to trade political favors for a vote on the Republican Medicare bill. The committee wrote that DeLay’s “promise of political support… goes beyond the boundaries of maintaining party discipline, and should not be used as a basis of a bargain for Members to achieve their respective goals.”
The public admonishment of DeLay comes a week after his leadership PAC, ARMPAC, was named in a felony money laundering indictment in Texas. ARMPAC’s executive director Jim Ellis, a top aide to DeLay, was indicted yesterday by a grand jury for money laundering, a first-degree felony.
ARMPAC has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of Republican House candidates [see list below] – many of whom have refused calls to return the money after the indictments last week.
I smell burnt rubber.
Oh, and it appears that the Lincoln Firefighters have just endorsed Matt Connealy. Not a surprise considering Fort's record on the Lincoln City Council. "As a member of the Lincoln City Council, Fortenberry expressed opposition to pay raises for firefighters in 1997 and voted to eliminate six firefighting positions in 1998, said State Firefighters President Mike McDonnell."
Opposing raises and eliminating first responders jobs? Sounds like Fortenberry was practicing his rubber stamp act for the Republican congress way back in the late 90's.
October 07, 2004
Watch out for falling Benjamins, Players! I can't get much hotter than I have been over the last two weeks when I've compiled an 8-1 record, but I'll try, just to help you burn your bookies. Keep in mind, though, that there are no easy cherry picks this week. It's going to be tough.
- Colorado +6.5 vs. Oklahoma St. - OSU's defense hasn't had to face a real running game yet, and they will against CU and Bobby Purify who seems like he's been a Buffalo for 8 years. The Buffs are tough at home and seem to be on a mission.
- Florida -3.5 vs. LSU - The Tigers are still hanging around the Top 25 thanks to their #3 preseason ranking, but they're probably lucky Mississippi St. in around to keep them out of the SEC West cellar. Meanwhile, the Gators are getting better. Plus, it's hard to go against Florida at home laying such a small number
- Wyoming +3.5 vs. San Diego St. - The Cowboys are looking good, and while the Aztecs aren't too bad themselves, it'll be difficult for them to escape with a win up in Laramie.
- Hawaii -18 vs. Nevada - A midnight special for you. It's tough for decent teams to hang out in the islands. Bad teams like Nevada might as well save the airfare.
October 06, 2004
Have I mentioned yet that I'm a combined 7-0 and in my two football fantasy leagues? Well, I am, and the league that matters here is the Lawblawgers league founded by the recently, but hopefully temporarily retired Ditzy Genius. I'm playing the Super Ditzes this weekend. DG was one of the first blawgs I discovered in the summer before my 1L year. I've really enjoyed her wit and sarcasm. It's too bad. Maybe OCI and L. Rev. were getting to her. Anyway, perhaps she should consider retiring from fantasy football for a week or so as well. Her team scares me more than any other I've faced this season.
Week 1 I had a bye since there are only 9 teams. Week 2 I crushed Justin and then got to crow about it as I sat next to him in Evidence for the rest of the week. Week 3 I pulled out a close one against The Unreasonable Man although I can't be too sure. Last week, I beat a team called Posner's Posse and I have no idea which blawger runs that team, only that s/he goes to one of the Chicago law schools. This week the Ditzes will feel my wrath and after that, Whatever Remains(who I see is also going with default MT template) is my victim.
Reality TV comes to town...Finally!
The university's budget shortfall must be worse than I've heard, so bad in fact that they can't afford advertising.
The university wouldn't profit financially from the reality show, Fitzgibbon said, but UNL would get its name out to potential students.
"They don't really know what we're about," Fitzgibbon said of out-of-state students.
"The more we can tell that story and get that story to people that don't really know about us, the chances are they'll understand what's special about Nebraska, and maybe they'll decide to come here."
Rolling Stone reported the 42-year-old signed on to star in a reality series for NBC, in which cameras will follow Lee as he enrolls in college and experiences campus life.
And UNL spokesman David Fitzgibbon confirmed Monday that NBC soon will film a reality show on campus, though university officials wouldn't confirm its premise or talent because of a confidentiality agreement with producers.
Since the newspaper report, I've heard on the radio that he'll be rooming with two bumpkins and going to undergrad classes. Too bad he can't sit next to me in Crim Pro. He knows more than a bit about that subject.
Fortunately, even Tommy can't give the state capitol building a run for the money as the biggest phallic object in town.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:33 AM
October 05, 2004
When in Romania...
...keep it in your pants.
Just yesterday The Editors proclaimed "I've been to the mountaintop and looked down into the valley and it's a valley of cock jokes," and who am I to argue?
This story I posted yesterday concerned a man severing his penis and then having his dog eat it. In Bucharest! A commenter at The Poor Man then reminded me of another recent Bucharest Bobbitting. Is there something funny going on in Romania? These stories then reminded me of another scary tale from the land of the vampires. The mysterious exploding penis.
I think it's safe to say that if you're planning on travel to Eastern Europe, it's best to leave your dick at home.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:32 PM
Fact check your factcheck site
If you watched the debate tonight you heard Dick Cheney say people could check Factcheck.com to get the truth about Haliburton. It turns out that site redirects to anti-Bush billionaire George Soros' website which greets websurfers with the headline: "Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush."
Actually, it turns out that site didn't redirect to Soros until about an hour ago. Either way, fact check your factcheck.
The Question I'd like to hear
The Veep debate will most likely be a regurgitation and clarification of what Kerry and the Chimp said last week, but I would like to hear some reference to Haliburton's business dealings with Saddam in 1995(when Dick was in charge) when Iraq was under U.S. sanctions.
Cheney just said Kerry voted against weapons systems needed for the cold war. He failed to mention that he himself, as Secretary of Defense, asked the Senate to cut those very weapons systems...Ah, good, Edwards brought that up.
Coalition of the Willing as referred to by Cheney. It includes such powerhouses as Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Palau, Rwanda(!?), Singapore,
Solomon Islands. The U.S. and Britain are the only countries that have a meaningful number of troops on the ground. Mongolia might have been helpful about 1000 years ago. I don't even want to know what Rwanda is doing to help.
OK, this is starting to get wonky. But one last point. There are no 6-way talks with North Korea. NK pulled out.
October 04, 2004
A chicken neck?
Sometimes a dick joke goes too far and ends up being true.
Via Energy Spatula, who somehow comes up with this stuff every damn day.
[UPDATE - A picture so visitors will feel more at home.]
Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:22 PM
You should be a millionaire by now
The Half-Cocked college football picks went 4-1 last week, bringing the season record to a scorching 13-5. If you want to get in on the Cash Cavalcade, be sure and check back on Thursday night for this weeks picks.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:10 PM
In a bad rut
Not me. Professor Evidence. He's notorious for two things. When he calls on people he moves down the row of seats person by person. He also gets locked in on a certain area of the classroom and starts in that place more often than not. The upshot is, I've been called on 3 times in the last four classes. The annoying thing is that he always starts in the row in front of me, one or two people to the right. I feel safe since he's a row caller. The last three times, though he has jumped back to me instead of hitting the person in front of me. I've tried slouching behind my laptop screen. I might move to the other side of the room and see if he notices.
Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:03 PM
October 03, 2004
The Pixies: Pershing Auditorium - Lincoln, NE - 10/2/2004
6000 or so people had the good sense on Saturday night to skip watching or attending the Nebraska Cornhuskers' riveting 14-8 over Kansas in order to catch the Pixies in their first show in Lincoln in 14 years or so, and those 6000 definitely got the better show. I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd heard great reviews which had driven my expectations higher, and I can honestly say that the Pixies were better, rocked harder, than I thought they would.
They opened with "Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)" and Black Francis looked disturbingly like KG from Tenacious D standing up there strumming his big accousic guitar. That was the last time I noticed the separated-at-birth aspect of the show as the Pixies blasted through 20+ songs. I tried to keep a setlist in my head but lost track soon after the fourth song, "Planet of Sound."
It was obvious that the band was enjoying the show. Kim smiled, smoked and drank through the entire set and interacted with the people pressed up against the barrier between and during songs. Joey Santiago was pretty stoic as the guitar guy but clearly enjoyed showing off his chops, which have developed a bit since 1992.
Something that caught probably the entire crowd off guard was how the band stayed on stage during the time before they played their encore. Instead of disappearing, they stayed out in front of the audience and soaked in the adulation, waving and walking back and forth across the stage. The encore set consisted of "Wave of Mutilation" and "Gigantic."
They played so many songs that it's hard to bitch about not hearing a couple you wanted to hear but a few notables were absent: "Into the White", "I Bleed", and "Bone Machine." The songs I can clearly remember hearing include:
- Here Comes Your Man - The first Pixies song I ever heard thanks to Night Tracks on TBS back in the 80's
- Head On - One of my favorite songs of all time whether it's the 2 minute Pixies version or the 4 minute Jesus and Mary Chain original
- Debaser - My second favorite Pixies song
- Where is My Mind? - I now associate this song with exploding buildings thanks to the ending sequence of Fight Club
- Monkey Gone to Heaven
- River Euphrates
- Crackity Jones
- Nimrod's Son
- Isla de Encanta
- Wave of Mutilation - My favorite Pixies Song
- Planet of Sound
- Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)- Only available on the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack.
There was more. After the show I saw a girl walking around downtown with a setlist from the stage taped to the front of her T-Shirt. I guess I didn't spend long enough staring at her chest to completely refresh my memory.
I'll be surprised if they don't record a new studio album in a year or so. The band seemed so together and looked like they were having too much fun to just quit again after this tour.
[Update 10/4 10:30 a.m.] - According to the Journal-Star the crowd was closer to 2500. I was basing my estimate on the fact that the room, full, is supposed to hold 8000 and it appeared from up front that it was about 3/4 full. Musta been all those fat 35 year olds that made the place look more full than it actually was.
October 01, 2004
George W. Bush:
President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland: "They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride."
Surprise, I'm Behind
This week in Admin Law we started on the rulemaking portion of the Administrative Procedure Act. Last week ProfAdmin talked a lot about Vermont Yankee v. Natural Resource Defense Council and how were were going to look at it in great depth. Usually, when he says something like this he means it. In Con Law he joked about how one of his colleagues accused him of spending 10 weeks on Marbury. While we didn't spend 10 weeks on it, we did look at it for five class periods.
When I finished reading Vermont Yankee I stopped, figuring we wouldn't get to the four following rulemaking cases until next week since we just started on Vermont Yankee on Tuesday. We spent three days on Olson v. Morrison, after he stressed it when we were doing executive removal power. Why should I expect any different?
Well, imagine my surprise on Wednesday when we left Vermont Yankee far behind and plowed through Nova Scotia Foods, the fish analog of Frigaliment, and three more cases. I, of course, was lost. Tonight, Friday night, I'm catching up and reading the adjudication cases for next week.
I don't know whether to trust him in Con Law now when he says we'll spend at least three days on U.S. v. Lopez next week.
Conversations with a sleeping wife
Ever have a conversation with a sleeping person? It's often quite amusing. Sarah's usually asleep before I got to bed but there's still a 50/50 chance she'll say something in her sleep when I lay down. Wednesday night we had a good talk.
Her: "mumble, mumble...artichoke dip..."
Me: "What about artichoke dip?"
Her: "mumble...It's good...mumble."
Me: "Even after it made you sick the other night?"
[30 seconds pass]
Her: "mumble...You can't hold a grudge against artichoke dip."