Archive for June 2006
you’ve selected the proper last. The Second Daughter found that the New Balance site allows you to narrow your shoe selection not just by type of shoe and width and length, but also by the structure of the last. The Eldest, for example, was finally able to find shoes that fit exactly by finding a last that had a narrow heel, large toe box, and high instep. She says that they were incredibly comfortable right off the bat.
Select a shoe type, and at the top you’ll see the options to narrow the selection. Click on “Shoe Last” and you’ll see an explanation of the various lasts. Very nice indeed.
Billmon posts some interesting thoughts on the recent Supreme Court decision. Worth reading.
Lt. Cmdr. Swift is the attorney who represented the Guantánamo detainees before the US Supreme Court. Read this post about an honorable, principled, and courageous military officer.
I just filled up my normal, 4-door sedan, which has a 16-gallon tank. $48.40! This is not the premium fuel, either, but the middle one, just above regular: 87 octane rating.
Man, if I were still commuting to work, that would be $100 per week cash outlay for gas. $400 a month. That would be one heck of a hit.
The first auto manufacturer to come out with a really high-mileage car is going to make a killing. The next generation of the Prius, due in 2008 (a presidential election year) will get around 100 mpg. (The story says 113 mpg, but that’s in the UK: Imperial gallon. In the US, using our gallon, it will be about 94 mpg.)
I blogged earlier about using a child’s divided plate, which offers two benefits:
The compartments show proportions of vegetables, protein, and carbs (whole wheat pasta, cooked whole grains, etc.): 1/2 the plate for veggies, 1/4 for protein, 1/4 for carbs.
The use of a child’s plate means the portion sizes are about right for an adult.
Oddly, the plates are not the shape pictured. Instead, they are wider than they are tall. But the compartments are still correct: 1/2, 1/4, 1/4.
Via Dan Froomkin’s column, the profile of David Addington is now online. This is the guy who rammed through all the illegal structures and processes, with Cheney’s backing, either ignoring objections or working around those who would object. He’s the author of the 750 signing statements that are intended to allow Bush to ignore the laws passed by Congress. He’s the one who created the military tribunals that the Supreme Court has clearly denounced as violations of law. Read the profile and marvel that this sort of person was ever given a voice in government. From the profile:
On November 13, 2001, an executive order setting up the military commissions was issued under Bush’s signature. The decision stunned [then-secretary of state Colin] Powell; the national-security adviser, Condoleezza Rice; the highest-ranking lawyer at the C.I.A.; and many judge advocate generals, or JAGs, the top lawyers in the military services. None of them had been consulted. . . . According to multiple sources, Addington secretly usurped the process. He and a few hand-picked associates, including Bradford Berenson and Timothy Flanigan, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, wrote the executive order creating the commissions. Moreover, Addington did not show drafts of the order to Powell or Rice, who, the senior Administration lawyer said, was incensed when she learned about her exclusion.
Liberals, believing strongly in the virtues of a secular government and the clear separation of church and state, are easily caricatured as hostile to religion—by Conservatives and by false “friends” (e.g., Joe Klein and the like).
This caricature has led to the creation and courting of the Religious Right by the GOP, with regular pandering in preparation for elections: government display of the Ten Commandments, the “war on Christmas,” homophobic positions and amendments, and the like.
It’s difficult to fight attacks of this sort without sounding defensive or even (worse) adopting the frame set by the Right, covertly accepting that Liberals are somehow anti-Christian. Barack Obama, for example, fell into that trap.
The Second Daughter suggested a superb bumper sticker that finesses all that:
Values Voter: Matthew 25: 35-40
I briefly mentioned this before, but let me give a step-by-step for my readers who use Firefox and subscribe to Netflix. But first, read both UPDATES below. In the upper right of your browser window—at this very moment—you’ll see the “search” box. Click the symbol in the box (probably the symbol for Google, if that was your last search). A drop-down list will appear, showing the search engines you have installed and, at the bottom, “Add engines.” Open a new tab (Ctrl-T) and, while you’re in the new tab, click “Add engines.”
At the upper right of the displayed page is a search box, which allows you to search for the search engine you want. Type “Netflix,” press enter, and then click it to add it to your search engines.
Let me know if you have a problem. You can switch among the Firefox tabs with Ctrl-Tab, analogous to the way you switch among Windows programs with Alt-Tab.
UPDATE: Constant Reader points out that doing the search as described no longer brings up a Netflix search engine, but instead an extension called “Slim Search,” which is much more powerful: Read the rest of this entry »
Megs, on the arm of the chair. She’ll sit here fairly often, either inspecting me, as shown here, or crouched down to look out the window behind me or in the other direction to look over the living room. British Shorthairs feel that they are keeping you good company if they are just close to you, not necessarily on me. When she’s on me, she generally wants to sleep, not socialize.
It endorses careful scrutiny of the precise powers delegated by Congress to the executive branch. The Court thus properly rejected Justice Thomas’s extraordinary idea that the “structural advantages attendant to the Executive Branch” in war-time—aspects of executive power that make that branch the “most dangerous” to individual liberty today—merit a hands-off approach by the courts. (Ironically, Justice Thomas refers to Justice Stevens’ “unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare”; but Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II. Thomas’s official bio, by contrast, contains no experience of military service. [emphasis added - LG] Justice Stevens suffers another unwarranted ad hominim attack from Justice Scalia, who refers to Stevens’ sarcasm). In short, Hamdan follows the wisdom of Justice Souter’s concurrence in Hamdi: “For reasons of inescapable human nature, the branch of government asked to counter a serious threat is not the branch on which to rest the Nation’s reliance in striking the balance between the will to win and the cost in liberty on the way to victory.”
It also should perhaps be noted the attorney representing the Guantánamo detainees is Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, of the US Navy. I wonder whether Judge Thomas also questions his military experience and knowledge?
Via ThinkProgress, some interesting news about blog readership. And I have to say that the readership of this blog has increased since the move. Many thanks to those who link…
Dan Froomking points to a story in the Boston Globe that undercuts the White House and GOP indignation about the NY Times, WaPo, LA Times, and WSJ reporting on the SWIFT story—oh, sorry: the GOP and Bush are mentioning only the NY Times, though all four papers reported the story.
News reports disclosing the Bush administration’s use of a special bank surveillance program to track terrorist financing spurred outrage in the White House and on Capitol Hill, but some specialists pointed out yesterday that the government itself has publicly discussed its stepped-up efforts to monitor terrorist finances since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. … Read the rest of this entry »
I got an email from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committe this morning, soliciting a contribution. I responded immediately to tell them that they would get not one red cent from me until they pledged to support the Democratic candidates for Senator. As you know, they are making noises about supporting Lieberman (as an Independent, after he bolts the party) if Ned Lamont wins the Connecticut Democratic primary. I wouldn’t mind quite so much if the name of the organization was ISCC (Incumbent Senatorial Campaign Committee). The main guilty party is Sen. Charles Schumer.
Via Dan Frookin, we see how the Administration tries to pay for its errors: by taking money from those who need it most.
The Veterans Affairs Department offered to pay for a year of free credit monitoring for the veterans [whose data was stolen on the laptop], which it said would cost about $160.5 million. Last week, the department said it would cover most of that cost by taking money from accounts that pay health and other benefits for veterans.
The department withdrew that idea after Democrats protested. In a letter on Wednesday, Rob Portman, director of the White House Office of Management, recommended paying for the monitoring by taking about $130 million from a food stamp employment and training program, a farmers’ assistance program, student loans and a program for young people released from prison.
One outrage stopped by the Democrats protesting, but the Administration still doesn’t understand: the part in boldface is what they now plan to do. The mantra of the GOP: “Squeeze the poor, crush those who need help, coddle the wealthy.” The Religious Right asks, “What would Jesus do?” and then does the opposite.
UPDATE: I’ve rethought the whole thing. Go read this post.
The GOP has somehow framed the issue so that the Democratic party is seen as anti-religion or at least anti-Christian. This is nonsense, but the frame has been accepted, with the idea that the “religious” vote goes Republican. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’d like to see this bumper sticker freely available and in wide use:
I’m Christian and I vote Democratic!
I know many Christians who are liberals—the GOP has no lock on religion or religious values or religious people. But until the evidence smacks them in the face, the media will continue to report otherwise. Let’s get these bumper stickers out there.
The Bush Administration has showed a genius for finding low-level scapegoats to punish whenever large and systemic abuses are revealed (despite their best efforts to keep such things secret). In the war crimes area, we see enlisted troops and low-level non-coms be punished more or less severely, while officers higher up the chain of command walk away with no punishment or blemish. (The idea that an officer is responsible for actions under that officer’s command has, apparently, been discarded whenever the actions are reprehensible, the responsibility reserved for meritorious actions.) In civil affairs, Brownie took the brunt of the Katrina failure while Chertoff skated.
Now, at the VA, it’s happening again. The analyst who took home the data on 26 million veterans, only to have the laptop stolen, had sought and received permission to do it. Moreover, he reported the theft immediately. (The VA took 3 weeks to inform the relevant Congressional committee.) Read the rest of this entry »
In the NY Times story on the Supreme Court decision declaring military war crimes trials at Guantánamo, Bush is quoted, a statement he’s made more than once:
The president also has told reporters, “I’d like to close Guantánamo.”
He’s the President and, as he likes to remind us, the Commander-in-Chief, and he claims almost unlimited powers under his (and Addington’s) peculiar view of the Consitution. If he’d like to close Guantánamo, why doesn’t he close it? There’s no power opposing him—no power that he can’t ignore, as he’s ignored so many laws and so much opposition.
Go ahead, Mr. President. Close Guantánamo, as you so much would like to do.
The Supreme Court has blocked the military war crimes trials at Guantánamo, one of the innovations that David Addington (the author of all those signing documents) pushed through by ignoring objections and going around offices that might object.
The story of David Addington and his attitudes and methods is laid out in the current New Yorker, the one whose cover shows an Andy-Warhol-like set of Chinese women sewing American flags. It’s definitely worth the purchase price of the New Yorker or a trip to the library. Unfortunately, the article’s not on-line, but here’s an interview with the author in which she discusses a bit of Addington’s history and his peculiar views of democracy.
I wonder if Addington will try to come up with some sort of “signing document” that will claim for the President the same “right to ignore” the Supreme Court decision that he has claimed for over 750 of the laws he has signed.
I came across this interesting post from 2003 in reading a comment thread on Political Animal. Here’s the beginning of the post:
Throughout the 90′s we employed anywhere from 6-15 people at any given time. Of all the destructive traits we had to contend with the sociopath was both the most destructive and the most difficult problem employee to identify. After several near ruinous encounters with this type of employee I developed a simple test; if someone made me psycho, they were a psychopath. On the small scale that is our company this has worked fine for years but now I find this same curious effect occurring with our present administration; they’re making me psycho. Read the rest of this entry »