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Saturday, March 22, 2003

Back To The Future Plastic::Politics::Politics:Republicans: The Republican-controlled Congress is making leaps and bounds toward the Nineteenth Century.

War demonstration pics, vids, audio fills blogs today. Lisa Rein sends this link -- blogged photos and quicktime movies which document a San Francisco police officer striking a protester during yesterday's anti-war demonstrations. Got your own photos, audio, or online video clips? Post the URLs in this Discuss link.

Update on Hit on Saddam The UPI is reporting that the decapitation attempt on Saddam Hussein two nights ago was the result of a secret...

Via Fox News on TV: Some errant missiles have crossed the border of Iraq and landed near an Iranian city. A way to drag another prong of the Axis into the party?
The Warnings of History -- Don't Expect the Left to Get It Right - Fri Mar 21, 10:02 pm GMT
Senate Cuts $100B From Bush Tax-Cut Plan - Sat Mar 22, 04:07 pm GMT
Journalist killed near Halabja - Sat Mar 22, 06:49 pm GMT
CNN Reporters Reach Jordan After Forced Iraq Exit - Sat Mar 22, 07:09 pm GMT
Anti-American protests turn violent in Middle East - Sat Mar 22, 10:05 am GMT
Spain to Send 1,100 Troops to Middle East - Sat Mar 22, 06:43 am GMT

Friday, March 21, 2003

Ashcroft Sings John Ashcroft, America's songwriting attorney general leads singalongs at the Justice Department.

Positively the last word on the Dixie Chicks.... Just when you hoped the Dixie Chicks controversy had died down comes the biggest and silliest story of all: South...

UN-Loved, UN-Needed, UN-Mourned? Plastic::Politics::International: UN passed its use-by date?

Automated current-events discovery from Technorati David Sifry's Technorati is now pulling in 150,000 blogs every hour, and he's using the data-spikes from the feeds to identify breaking news stories. The Technorati Breaking News page has links to stories that have, in the past two hours, been the subject of extensive blogging. Link Discuss

1,350 Arrested in San Francisco War Protests "Police arrested more than 1,000 people in San Francisco on Thursday -- the most taken into custody on a single...

Killing Him Softly

Bernard Hibbits at The Paper Chase is doing an excellent job discussing all sorts of legal aspects of the Iraq conflict, including assassination in his post yesterday: Target Saddam - international law on attacks against enemy leaders in wartime. (I'm also enjoying Bernard's periodic "Law blog prof-watch" updates.) Be sure too to check the comments to my last post and the links there.

Experts: US military action seriously violates international law - Fri Mar 21, 02:31 pm GMT
Blair addresses divided nation - Fri Mar 21, 04:00 am GMT
Media Notes: CBS Has Eye on Story - Fri Mar 21, 02:13 pm GMT
Media Notes: CBS Has Eye on Story - Fri Mar 21, 02:13 pm GMT

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Media giant ClearChannel sponsoring pro-war rallies Story in yesterday's Chicago Trib examining the questionable propriety of the nation's largest radio station owner sponsoring pro-war-in-Iraq rallies:
In a move that has raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles, Clear Channel radio stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati and other cities have sponsored rallies attended by up to 20,000 people. The events have served as a loud rebuttal to the more numerous but generally smaller anti-war rallies.

The sponsorship of large rallies by Clear Channel stations is unique among major media companies, which have confined their activities in the war debate to reporting and occasionally commenting on the news. The San Antonio-based broadcaster owns more than 1,200 stations in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Link, Discuss (via pho)

What Is Banned By The Assassination Ban? (LazyBlawg)

Grant Henninger has a question about war, law and assassination: "If we kill Saddam in the first strike is it an illegal assassination or is it a legitimate action as part of the war?" On this subject, the Guardian today writes, "By declaring war, Mr Bush legitimised the apparent assassination attempt against President Saddam. In a state of war, the congressional prohibition on the assassination of leaders is lifted." Related reading: Professor Jeffrey Addicott's JURIST Forum piece last November, entitled The Yemen Attack: Illegal Assassination or Lawful Killing, and a Los Angeles Times analysis, U.S. Enters a Legal Gray Zone, reproduced at Global Policy Forum.

[Update] From a press briefing earlier today by Ari Fleischer:

Q: Ari, if the United States is at war, and if you assert that the United States has the right to target the Iraqi leader and his inner circle as part of command and control, does that make the President and the White House a legitimate target for Iraqis?

MR. FLEISCHER: Somebody ? a reporter asked me that question a few weeks ago and my answer this [sic] is my answer now; you can tell anybody who wants to know the answer to that to get their own international lawyer, I won't do it for them.

Mr. Fleischer apparently was referring to his February 26, 2003 briefing: "I have no intention of becoming Saddam Hussein's international lawyer."

[Update] On September 22, 2001, Glenn Reynolds pointed to Jacob Sullum's discussion of the development and interpretation of the assassination ban ("License to Kill"), and wondered about "Assassination as Policy:" "[I]t doesn't involve killing lots of innocents, as war inevitably does, and it has a tit-for-tat quality that seems fair. [ΒΆ]What I've never seen mentioned, though, is the corrosive political effect it might have...."

Russian President - Iraq attack contrary to international law Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin issued a statement Thursday on the start of the war in Iraq: Let me stress from the beginning that military actions are taking place contrary to the world public opinion, contrary to the principles and norms of international law and the Charter of the UN.

Rumsfeld delivers war crimes warning Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned Iraqi personnel Thursday during a press briefing that they would be prosecuted for war crimes if they commited various destructive acts:If Saddam Hussein or his generals issue orders to use weapons of mass destruction, whether on coalition forces, Free Iraqi Forces, neighboring countries or innocent Iraqi civilians as they have done before, those orders should not be followed.

Updates on War in Iraq
[via Slashdot]

Advertisers, Media on Alert - Thu Mar 20, 04:10 pm GMT
Chinese media run unprecedented live coverage of Baghdad attack - Thu Mar 20, 04:47 pm GMT
Iraq's renewal: U.S. using tools that could have been free

Satellite Access in Time of War
[via Slashdot]

President's Address to the Nation [10:16 PM ET - recorded video also available] My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger. On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war.

War on Iraq begins President Bush confirms the military campaign against Iraq is under way, after explosions rock Baghdad at dawn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Today, apparently, will be the first day of the war.
Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose Plastic::Media::Politics:1st Amend: Justice Scalia just seems bound and determined to make people hate him, don't he.

MIT Press takes gutsy fair use stand MIT Press sought to clear one-line excerpts from twelve songs that are quoted in a forthcoming novel. Faced with ten forms that had to filled out before proceeding, one demand of $10,000, and a flat refusal, they decided to hell with it, one-line excerpts are fair goddamned use, and decided to just print 'em. Lessig points out that risk-averse publishers try to minimize their lawyer-hours by essentially publishing no fair-use material, and MIT's doing the right thing here could very well loosen up some of that fearful tightness.
That is rare in this business. Publishers are among the most conservative ?fair users? ? not because they don?t believe in free speech, but because they understand the burden of non-free lawyers. If a lawsuit is filed against a publisher for copyright infringement, the cost of answering the complaint can suck up the total profit from the book. Thus, however generous the Supreme Court thinks it is when it defends ?fair use,? the relevant ?fair use? is the freedom publishers permit.

It is a great thing that publishers like MIT can help set the standard. The law should make it easier for others to do the same.

Link Discuss

An American assault on international law University of Pittsburgh law professor Jules Lobel writes in Wednesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait violated Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, which prohibits one country from attacking another except in self-defense or with Security Council authorization.

The U.S. Justice Department: The Tobacco Industry Must Forfeit Its 'Il-Gotten Gains' Plastic::Work::Health: ""The U.S. Department of Justice has turned up the heat in its battle against the tobacco industry"

FBI to Round Up American Iraquis It looks to us like we're getting one step closer to detention camps. The FBI is about to start rounding...


And you thought badass music rivalries were confined to the genre of rap...

Toby Slams Natalie Toby Keith, ass-kicker, thinks Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, the short one singing between her willowy bookend compatriots, has a big...

P2P filesharing funds terrorism? Enquiring congresspersons want to know. It was inevitable:
A congressional hearing on the links between terrorism, organized crime, and the illegal trading of copyrighted material produced more complaints about college students using peer-to-peer networks and other governments sanctioning copyright violations than it did evidence of nefarious connections. Witnesses and representatives at the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property hearing Thursday did express fears that profits from widespread copying of movies, music, and software outside the United States were being funneled into terrorist organizations, but the hearing produced no concrete examples of that happening.

John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice, did say there seems to be some connection between illegal copying and organized crime, in that many of the groups profiting from illegal copies are highly organized and can have international distribution networks. Organized crime often supports terrorism, he suggested. "These groups will not hesitate to threaten or injure those who tend to interfere with their operations," Malcolm said.

Link to PC World story, Discuss

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Scarlet Letters Plastic::Politics::Hoaxes: Who wrote the phantom missives purported to be proof of Iraq's search for nucelar arms?

Do What You Will

Posted by The Happy Tutor

Russ Prince on mega-wealth "Under the Radar."

The Medmenham Abbey is an advanced planning boutique that caters to the very wealthy of Eastern Europe and the United States. It is particularly facile at assisting those who maintain residences and business interests on both sides of the Atlantic. The firm?s roots extend back to the 18th century Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe. In fact, the managing director claims lineage to Sir Francis Dashwood himself. Many of the clientele of the Medmenham Abbey can also trace their roots back to the nobility of Europe as well as some of the founders of the New World.

Searching on "Medmenham Abbey" produces any number of links to the infamous 18th Century "Hell-Fire Club," (photos here) whose motto, after Rabelais, was "Do What Your Will." And whose tutelary sprit was Harpocrates, Eygptian god of silence.  However, for those wealth-holders today who seek political and business connections, blasphemy, Satanism, orgies with society women dressed as Nuns, drunkenness, and ritualistic flogging, as well as good food at a reasonable price, I cannot recommend Medmenham Abbey. (Please frequent Wealth Bondage, instead.)

France calls for respect of international legality French President Jacques Chirac issued a statement Tuesday in Paris assailing the "unilateral decision to go to war" and saying that President Bush's ultimatum to Iraq is "calling into question our idea of international relations".


Finally, the Dems see an already supe-obvious issue to seize on and get into office.

Daschle Says Bush Failed Miserably Sen. Tom Daschle said tonight that Bush has failed miserably in diplomacy, forcing America to war. ''I'm saddened, saddened that...


Yea.  Lots of goodies cropped up on Salon this morning.

Trans family values HBO Films' "Normal" is supposedly a pro-tolerance paean about a marriage that survives a sex change. So why does it make us root for divorce?

War Inc. American corporations with close ties to the White House are poised to cash in on Saddam's defeat. French companies need not apply.

Scud Stud lobs a missile at Bush During the Gulf War, NBC reporter Arthur Kent was famed for his boyish good looks. Today, liberated from the network, he's free to say that Bush is out of control.

Monday, March 17, 2003


Confirming my theory that evil Empire is a-brewing here at home.

Democracy In 30 Minutes Or It's Free? A New Domino Theory Plastic::Politics::War: One hand dirties the other


Once more, with vigor: the American media is not to be trusted.

Now, On Plastic, Another Story From The Guardian Plastic::Media::International: U.S. media's self-censorship has Americans increasingly turning to overseas media outlets for their news. Ah, the Internet...

Making it up for Ireland? The professor of Irish History at Oxford's St Patrick's Day op-ed for the New York Times was well timed to...

'Who Is This God Person Anyways?' Plastic::FilmTV::Humor: "Today the SF Chronicle reports on a new philosophy class at U.C. Berkeley, 'Simpsons and Philosophy'. "


More signs of the impending apocalypse...

Scary first-person account of martian Hong Kong pneumonia SARS -- the mystery pneumonia that's sweeping Asia and has been spotted in Canada and elsewhere -- is unbelievably scary. Check out this message from a Hong Kong doctor to Dave Farber's Interesting People list:

Unresponsive to various combinations of cefotaxime, chlarithromycin, levofloxacin, doxyclycline and Tamiflu. All microbiology is NEGATIVE (after one week)...

So far 2-3 of our older patients with chronic disease have deteriorated fastest. Medical staff - younger and fitter have faired better. Their radiological findings have deteriorated in all but one case...

We receive 2-3 admissions per day. So far no-one has shown any improvement. Once intubated however they remain relatively static but very oxygen and PEEP dependent. Those ventilated have solid lungs. Interestingly one patient developed a pneumothorax on the medical ward and after chest drain and re-expansion his pneumonia involves only the side without a chest drain. Another patient (ventilated) has developed surgical emphysema.

ICU is now closed for all but atypical pneumonias. All our other "clean cases" have been transferred to other ICUs. All elective surgery is being cancelled and wards are being closed and evacuated. Al ambulances are being diverted...

Masks are worn throughout the hospital. Staff are not going home to children.

Please take the warning below seriously. My impression is that even with minimal contact with an infected person people have been becoming ill.

Link Discuss

Is invading Iraq unconstitutional? Ed Firmage of the University of Utah College of Law thinks invading Iraq is unconstitutional (notwithstanding the recent US First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Doe v. Bush). Read his op-ed in Monday's Salt Lake Tribune

Smart Suspect Considers Teen His Wife Brian Mitchell, the suspect in the Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping case, has a lawyer. The lawyer went on television Sunday and...

Media Watchdogs Caught Napping Increasing numbers of Americans are turning to websites abroad for their coverage of the approaching war. Critics say it's the American media's uncritical approach to what's happening in Washington that makes them look elsewhere. By Leander Kahney.
[via Wired News]

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Family of Executed Black Maid Seeks Exoneration The family of a black maid who killed in self defense and was convicted after a one day trial by an all white jury in the Segregated South in 1944 with no witnesses called on her behalf is seeking her exoneration.


Not legal or literary, but clever in a Britty way.  Besides, I've already told you I like the Streets

Weak Become Heroes The National Post interviews Mike Skinner (the Streets).

Forbes magazine's Top 5 technology weblogs Gizmodo's just been picked by Forbes as one of the best technology weblogs, along with Slashdot, TechDirt, Kuro5hin, and Read...
[via Gizmodo]

The Kingdom of the Apes

Posted by The Happy Tutor A picture named Happy Tutor.jpg

After Aesop

Two Reporters, one who always spoke the truth and the other who told nothing but lies, were traveling together and by chance came to the Kingdom of the Apes.  One of the Apes, who had raised himself to be King, commanded them to be seized and brought before him, that he might know what was said of him in foreign lands.  He ordered that his chief Apes be arranged in two long rows on his right and left hand, and that his throne be placed on a raised dais.  After these preparations he had the the two Reporters brought before him, and greeted them with thus, "What sort of a king do I seem to you to be, O strangers?'  The Lying Reporter replied, "You seem to me a most mighty king."  "And what is your estimate of those you see around me?'  "These," he made answer, "are worthy companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors and leaders of armies."  The Ape and all his court, gratified with the lie, commanded that a handsome present be given to the flatterer.  On this the truthful Reporter thought to himself, "If so great a reward be given for a lie, with what gift may not I be rewarded, if, according to my custom, I tell the truth?'  The Ape quickly turned to him.  "And pray how do I and these my friends around me seem to you?'  "Thou art," he said, "a most excellent Ape, and all these thy companions after thy example are excellent Apes also." The King of the Apes, enraged at hearing these truths, gave him over to the teeth and claws of his companions. 

Moral: Never interfere with the emergent properties of a self-organizing system of lies.

New Mexico bill upholds Constitution, spits in Feds' eye The state of New Mexico has passed a bill that affirms Constitutional liberties, no matter what the Feds say. The bill instructs state cops to refuse to cooperate in unconstitutional searches and wiretaps, to abstain from assisting the INS and to ignore TIPS snitches. Likewise, librarians are required to post signs warning patrons that the FBI could be snooping on their reading habits, and the state official in charge of homeland security is required to get twice-annual disclosure from the Feds about the names and dispositions of every victim of unconstitutional secret arrest, detainment and surveillance. GO NEW MEXICO!
F. direct the state official in charge of homeland security for New Mexico to seek periodically from federal authorities the following information in a form that facilitates an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the state of New Mexico and provide to the legislature and the interim corrections oversight and justice committee, no less than once every six months, a summary of the information obtained:

(1) the names of all residents of New Mexico who have been arrested or otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001, and:

(a) the location of each detainee;

(b) the circumstances that led to each detention;

(c) the charges, if any, lodged against each detainee; and

(d) the name of counsel, if any, representing each detainee;

(2) the number of search warrants that have been executed in New Mexico without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act;

(3) the extent of electronic surveillance carried out in the state pursuant to powers granted in the USA Patriot Act;

(4) the extent to which federal authorities are monitoring political meetings, religious gatherings or other activities within New Mexico that are protected by the first Amendment of the United States constitution;

(5) the number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in New Mexico pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act;

(6) the number of times library records have been obtained from libraries in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

(7) the number of times records of books purchased by store patrons have been obtained from bookstores in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

Link Discuss (via Interesting People)

Brain-Damaged Gulf War Vet Set for Execution Here's an update and profile of Louis Jones, who is scheduled to be the third federal inmate executed in...