The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

It's Just Lunch....or IS IT??

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is how we roll in the NYC... By the way, Magnolia cupcakes are disgusting. I am convinced that their "popularity" is part of some giant joke between elite viral marketers trying to test the outer limits of the most ridiculous craze they could create.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Steelers Nation Rocks...

Minnesota's coach is upset about how many Steelers fans were at the game on Sunday.

My dad told me all Republicans are the same....he is correct.

Monday, December 19, 2005

ONLY in 21st Century America...

...can you see a President at a press conference try to argue his actions are authorized by the Constitution, then look down at his notecard, pause, and first read with his lips to make sure he's right and then say "Article II of the Constitution gives me this power."

Now he's ordering the Senate to stop filibustering. Actually ordering the Senate, I think he used the word "must." This is just nuts. He just called the social safety net, "entitlement payments."

Now he said that the fact "we're talking about this program [NSA domestic spying] is helping the enemy."

Hahahaa, GREATEST F'ing Freudian slip of all time...Bush miss-speaks and finishes a sentence about Osama with "Saddam."

Now he's calling "FISA" search warrants, "Fisers"

"An open debate about law is like saying to the enemy, 'here's what we're gonna do'"

Alberto Gonzales on CNN this morning.

A-Gonz laid out the administration case. The main argument is going that the post-911 Congressional authorization of force trumps FISA. FISA applies to taps "unless otherwise authorized by Congress." They are relying on Article II as a fallback.

The Congressional authorization argument is retarded at best. Setting aside the whole distinction between "use of force" and "use of electronic surveillance," this has to be limited on its face to the immediate investigation of 911. If you need the statutory basis, its that "such persons" are the ones who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided." I'll bet a ham sandwich that the foreign surveillance continued against citizen islamists who the administration knew were not involved in 911. YOU CAN'T CRIMINALIZE A WORLDVIEW, bastards.

As to why "use of force" is different than "use of electronic surveillance," the fact is that Congress passed two different framework statutes for these two different aspects of foreign policy. The post-911 authorization explicitly references the force framework statute, it is silent on the surveillance statute.

If this all means that we finally have meaningful Congressional oversight again...I'll call it a wash. Otherwise, this is a fucking constitutional crisis of the highest order.

(a) In General.--That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any further acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements.--
(1) Specific statutory authorization.--Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) Applicability of other requirements.--Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Yesterday, I guessed that the President would use the Commander-In-Chief Clause as the excuse for his cowardly and illegal unauthorized domestic spying on U.S. citizens. Today, Bush invoked that power in his radio address. Let me just elaborate on how this is not a legally coherent argument.

First, there's no textual reason to think that the framers intended the Commander-In-Chief Clause to be "elastic" in the sense that Congress's power to make "all laws necessary and proper" has been interpreted to be expansive and wide reaching. "All law necessary and proper" is, textually, an expansive grant...and the debate has always been about how expansive it really is. Compare this with the Commander-In-Chief clause: "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." This is a limited grant. Those who are oriented to original intent interpretations would probably go so far as to say the grant is limited to the framers' concept of what a Commander In Chief does and the nature of the Army and Navy at the time of ratification.

Furthermore, even the Elastic Clause does not give Congress the power to make laws in direct violation with express provisions of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment would stop Congress from passing a law authorizing warrantless phone taps. (Remember that the uproar about the Partiot Act was really about the degree to which traditional search and seizure law can be altered in terrorism cases) How can the Commander-In-Chief clause be read to give the President more elastic power than the elastic clause?

Last, I said earlier that a true originalist would see the Commander-In-Chief clause as limited to framer's concepts of what a Commander In Chief does or what the Army was at the time of ratification. This is obviously untenable in our modern world. Congress' power to declare war has been sidestepped out of geopolitical necessity (by presidents using the Commander-In-Chief clause). HOWEVER, there are huge and absolutely essential differences between that use of the Commander-in-Chief power and what Bush is trying to do now. The distinction between homefront and foreign shores is absolutely central to the constitutional order under which our military has operated for centuries. The Presidents powers as Commander In Chief should have no domestic effects outside of the power to physically maintain the military and its bases. If indeed the President chooses to ground his wiretaps of citizens without warrants under the Commander-In-Chief clause, this is means he has incorporated the NSA into our Military and authorized it to act domestically. That is tantamount to a declaration of martial law. The military DOES NOT have any extraordinary powers domestically. If there is any elasticity in the Commander-in-Chief Clause, it is purely in the conduct of foreign wars.

Does all this mean that I think that using the NSA to spy on domestic actors accused of terrorist sympathies is categorically impossible? No, of course not. But, it has to be done legally. Our constitution is not a "tool of the weak" as Cheney likes to say. It is a powerful document that has always adapted to the times. These wiretaps could have been done legally. Expedited authorizations, obviously ex-parte and maybe even decided entirely within the executive branch, seem reasonable enough. But, there has to be a legal process under which these taps are authorized. And, even more centrally, this process would have had to have been authorized by Congress. What we have now is a completely extra-legal usurpation of Congressional power in direct violation to long-established and central individual rights. No amount of after the fact justifications by Bush or anyone else is going to change the damage they have done to the freedoms they so flippantly invoke when its in their interest to do so.

The damage this administration has done to freedom as we knew it is a flagrant insult all those heroes and patriots who sanctified our way of life with their own blood.

Friday, December 16, 2005

There's a War on the don't get so upity about rights.

President Bush likes jurists who faithfully read the long as that reading doesn't interfere with the New Imperial Presidency. The truth is, friends, that the framers said a lot about foreign affairs in the Federalist Papers but almost nothing about it in the Constitution. However, what they did include in the Constitution spread oversight of foreign affairs across all three branches of government. Our president would like to read the Commander in Chief Clause as a trump to all other powers and rights in the Constitution. Not only is this a very obviously wrong reading of the Constitution, but its not good policy.

Here's Israeli Supreme Court President Aharan Barak (from his commencement speech at Bradeis in '03):

"The rule of law and democracy must prevail in times of peace. They must also prevail in times of war and terror. The Roman saying that in battle the laws are silent - or the well-known saying that when the cannons speak, the Muses are silent - is wrong. Every battle a country wages - against terrorism or any other enemy - is done according to rules and laws. There is always law according to which the state must act. There are no black holes. And the law needs Muses, ever more urgently than when the cannons speak. We need laws most in times of war. And we need human rights most in times of war and in the fight against terror. Yes, when a democracy fights terror, not all means are acceptable to it, and not all methods employed by its enemies are open to it. Sometimes, a democracy must fight with one hand tied behind its back. Nonetheless, it has the upper hand. Preserving the rule of law and recognition of individual liberties constitute an important component of its understanding of security. At the end of the day, to strengthen its spirit and to allow it to overcome its difficulties. So in the United States after September 11th, and so in my country, Israel, where we are suffering from terrorism for a long time. "

Barak's famous "one hand tied behind its back" quote comes from a case where the Israeli SC outlawed torture. The fact that Palestinians arguably have more civil liberties in Israel than U.S. citizens have here gives one pause.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ann Coulter is Ed Anger

Let me preface this by noting first that I guess I'm not the first person to notice this connection. Moving on, I was reading Coulter's latest pile of doo-doo and noticed that her tone and general chip-on-the-shoulder attitude reminded me a lot of weekly world news columnist Ed Anger. The fact that (I suspect) "Ed Anger" is really a bunch of of village hipsters trying to be funny is kind of sad for Coulter.

P.S. Anyone want to go to Bhutan next summer?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This is Pretty Great

I got this as an email forward:

Subject: A Tandem Story - Men vs Women

Here's a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women
Are From Venus" offered by an English professor:

The professor told his class one day: "Today we will
experiment with a new form called the tandem story.
The process i s simple. Each person will pair off with
the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As
homework tonight, one of you will write the first
paragraph of a short story.

You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send
another copy to me. The partner will read the first
paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story
and send it back, also sending another copy to me.

"The first person will then add a third paragraph, and
so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been
written each time in order to keep the story coherent.
There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the
e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written
in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a
conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his
English students, Rebecca and Gary.


(first paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she
wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite
for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much
of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he
liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all
costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was
suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her
asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out
of the question.

(second paragraph by Gary)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the
attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more
important things to think about than the neuroses of
an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom
he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S.
Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his
transgalactic communi cator. "Polar orbit established.
No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off
a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and
blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt
from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat
and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but
not before he felt one last pang of regret for
psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had
feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its
pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of
Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing
War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper
one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and
bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days
had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read,
no television to distract her from her sense of
innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around
her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a
woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds
to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian
mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion
missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed
the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through
the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for
the hostile alien empires who were determined to
destroy the human race. Within two hours after the
passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on
course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to
pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them,
they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The
lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret
mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off
the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive
explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of
literature. My writing partner is a violent,
chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered
tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the
literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have
chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of
F_KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air
headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele




Go drink some tea - whore.

A+ - I really liked this one.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Flash: New York Times Grows Set of Balls

Here's their editorial on the travesty-in-the-making that is New Orleans

Irony runs deep these days. The two biggest problems for the Bush administration are now urban planning and state building--two things that Bush et al used to think the government had no business doing. Its nice to think that we can blame everything on Bush, but this stuff is bigger than one fucking moron from Texas. He's a symptom of a trend of greed and self-centeredness. Americans think that their shit doesn't stink and that we can do whatever we want to whomever we want without consequences. The entire cost of rebuilding New Orleans is one third of our new tax cut. That makes me throw up in my mouth.

If we ever lived in a nation-wide community, its dead. And the only thing sadder than that is the punk ass law student trying to justify this by some sort of trumped-up federalism claim that the real responsibility should be on the state and local governments. As long as we're killing Mexicans on the boarder and bombing the shit out of someone somewhere else, it doesn't matter that children starve in Appalachia or that an entire city is sinking into the sea. This is the sick sad world that the libertarians always wanted...we're freeriding on the future. Enjoy it motherfuckers.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party turned 1 year old on Wednesday. What a long strange trip its been. Also, yesterday we hit 10,000 unique visitors and 21,000 page loads. The vast majority of those are people trolling for pirated images...but I'll take em.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Buy Vicent Gallo's Sperm

Click here. Scroll down to the bottom. One positive is that I'm pretty sure racism can't be passed down genetically. So, one has to assume this is fake. However, I was once a buyer of Charles Manson art for the Sultan of Brunei and the one for sale on the site looks legit (in my professional opinion). The sperm is on the Onion's holiday gift guide. Its also referenced by a couple "real" news sources.

P.S. Vincent, we have seen the Brown Bunny and were not impressed....if mommy really cared about her son's endowment she'd focus on girth.

P.P.S. Gawker has done a nice little montage of Gallo cock here. Dear Gawker...this doesn't mean we've burried the hatchet. You're still ON NOTICE.