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July 02, 2007

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Hey, it's open thread time, meaning I have license to post random links. I found this completely fascinating for all the contradictory reads people have of Bush's personality.

Just bizarre anecdotes like:

King, the GOP congressman, introduced him backstage to a soldier injured in one eye. Bush teared up and asked the young man to take off his dark glasses so he could see the wound, King recalled. "Human instinct is when someone has a serious injury to look the other way," King said. "He actually asked him to take them off. He actually touched the eye a little. It was almost as if he felt he had to confront it."

Rilkekind is on his third ear infection in six weeks. Further disproof of the existence of a benevolent god or (according to a college friend) proof of my astounding karmic burden. The worst part is that he sometimes struggles to get away (in the direction of some extra dimension, I guess) and bonks his head on something.

My idiot stepfather once poured vodka in my ear when I had an ear infection. Don't do that to Rilkekind.

Think about the wild popularity of an all-deer reggae band.

I want some of what Hitch is smoking:

The departure of Tony Blair is a huge gratification to all those who want a quiet life and all those who wish that Britain would be a mediocre power. Ever since his Chicago speech in 1999, when he celebrated the downfall of Milosevic and warned of an inevitable confrontation with Saddam Hussein - this at a time when George W Bush was governor of Texas - he has been important to all of us who believe that peaceful coexistence with totalitarian and aggressive regimes (and ideologies) is neither possible nor desirable. It is this point of principle that ought to eclipse all others. Alas, and thanks to those who temporised on that question, Iraq was allowed to decay to a stage where a ruined and maimed and traumatised society was in our future no matter what we did. The critical thing was to be certain that we, and not Saddam, chose the timing of the confrontation. Up until then, the initiative had always been left to him. If Coalition forces had not arrived in Baghdad, the imploded country would by now have been invaded by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia and become a Rwanda or a Congo on the Gulf. Bad as things are, they would have been infinitely worse, and have necessitated a later international intervention on much more adverse terms.
Indeed - thank heavens Iraq was 'ruined and maimed' on our terms, not Saddam's.

rilkefan: for some reason, the idea of feeling like this and having no idea what's happening or what it means just gets to me. I remember having similar thoughts once when I had to give pills first to myself and then to one of my cats, and thought: I am really glad that I know what this strange thing I'm asking myself to swallow is, and gladder still that because I know, I don't have to hurl it forcibly down my throat.

Being able to understand stuff is a wonderful thing.

don't be so quick to capitulate to the cries of infants. sometimes the little bundles of joy are really just tiny attention-seeking liars...

/curmudgeon

cleek: true. -- Actually, my favorite reflection along those lines comes from Rousseau, who thought that children learn to believe in the efficacy of praying to idols from the fact that when they scream at something they want, it comes to them.

Can I just pre-emptively complain about the dumb excess airport security I'm going to have to go through on Wednesday because some idiot set himself on fire in Scotland and drove into an airport?

Wah.

Rice Krispies?!? They have Rice Krispies in Italy but no Doritos? That’s just wrong.

I’m thinking that no one is hitting the Register link because I can’t believe that everyone passed on the very first “Related stories” on the page: “Ukrainian woman smuggled dope in vibrator”.

"If Coalition forces had not arrived in Baghdad, the imploded country would by now have been invaded by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia"

Hmm, that's surprising. I guess that a test of the claim will be what happens when we leave.

I'll be in Heathrow on Friday, changing planes, and will continue on a plane to Singapore with three young boys, of whom the middle one has a nasty flue at the moment. High fever for four days now, and stuffy nose and everything.

I have stocked up on nose spray and paracetamol (that's something else in the US. Tylenol?) for the trip but shudder at the inconvenience of current security measures at all airports and London in particular.

Isn't every effort doomed that tries extrinsically to give meaning to life? Also, have you ever tried to put the pill in a soda straw, the soda straw in the cat's mouth and blow it down it's throat? Just asking. It seems like it could work.

Dutch: I withdraw an earlier comment about wanting to go with you on your vacation. ;)

I don't really understand the "fake-crying" thing. It's not like the 6 month old babies can ask nicely for attention from there mother, but instead they go all dramatic about it. Crying is one of the few means that an infant has of communicating & seeking attention. Not doing it when no one else is there & it'll be futile, doesn't mean that it's somehow insincere.

(to the tune of the Scorpions classic _Rock You Like a Hurricane_:)

I love bacon so very much
It's the only thing that my lips will touch
Give me bacon and I'm a happy man
I eat bacon like noone else can

Bacon is coming unto my plate
This noble meat is everything that's great
Consider "bacon" -- I love the sound
I eat bacon by the pound!!!!!!!

Here I am!
Give me some bacon!
Here I am!
Give me some ba-a-con!

etc.

My girlfriend occasionally commands me to sing this when she needs cheering up in the morning, although, unlike me, she does not love bacon that much.

My girlfriend occasionally commands me to sing this when she needs cheering up in the morning,

i like to sing:

    Wouldn't it be nice if we were showered
    And all dressed and ready to go-o-o?

to the tune of The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice".

and if there's Kozy Shack rice pudding nearby:

    Pudding made with rice is really yummy
    Pudding made with rice is really goo-oo-ood.

"Crying is one of the few means that an infant has of communicating & seeking attention."

Maybe they control for the baby not cooing or doing the other "hey dad play with me" things first but going straight to the crying.

breaking: Bush to commute Libby's sentence, apparently withing minutes...

there's a shock.

"there's a shock."

Actually I'm surprised. Hopefully this will allow us to pursue the story upwards.

Rf -- the tubes work. You might ask the doctor.

Bush's statement re: commuting Libby's prison sentence.

"You might ask the doctor."

She said she'd probably send us to see an ENT soon. It's just that we're at her office or the hospital sufficiently often already for one thing or another and we've all had it. Well, we haven't, but it feels that way.

Law question - could Bush have commuted say 28 months of the sentence?

cleek--
We also have "Eating Bear Claws" to the tune of "Breaking the Law". I seem to be focussed on the hard rock/breakfast interface, for some reason.

Impeach. Now.

Law question - could Bush have commuted say 28 months of the sentence.

Bush could basically do whatever he wanted with the conviction and sentence, short of making them tougher, of course.

Bush is evil

"whatever he wanted with the conviction and sentence"

So _any_ prison time is too long for him. Probably that makes some of mattbastard's link above especially infuriating. Oh well.


wasn't it nice of Bush to note that Libby really committed a crime, though ? it's not like he said "no, no crime, Pardoned!". nope, he just said "ok, he broke the law, whatever. i just don't like the sentence".

fncking scumbags, all of them.

Via TPM, the DOJ manual on Commutations:
"Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence."

Can the President commute a sentence? Is that some lesser known corollary to the pardon power?

Answer my own question department: "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States"

I presume that commutation falls under 'grant reprieves'.

This commutation is blatant disregard for the rule of law. If the jury found the elements present, and no judge has overruled them on a point of law, and you haven't even bothered to let the appeals court run, commuting the sentence is just cronyism of the worst sort. And I will be so mad if he gets his own talk show some where.

Yes, Seb.

Additionally, considerations of public policy and humanitarian impulses support an interpretation of that [pardon] power so as to permit the attachment of any condition which does not otherwise offend the Constitution. The plain purpose of the board [broad?] power conferred by [Article] 2, cl. 1, was to allow plenary authority in the President to "forgive" the convicted person in part or entirely, to reduce a penalty in terms of a specified number of years, or to alter it with conditions which are in themselves constitutionally unobjectionable.

Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. 256 (1974).

SH: "you haven't even bothered to let the appeals court run, commuting the sentence is just cronyism of the worst sort."

I don't understand. If the appeals court throws out the conviction, you get the same result - if not, Bush would still want to commute. [Must... not... make... abelian... joke...]

What would be a use of the pardon power that wouldn't show a "blatant disregard for the rule of law" in your view?

rilkefan: there are cases in which a lot of people agree either that the letter of the law and its spirit have come apart. I would think the pardon power could be used then without its being a disregard for the rule of law.

I am not (in my ignorance) against the pardon power - just wondering about SH's position.

"What would be a use of the pardon power that wouldn't show a "blatant disregard for the rule of law" in your view?"

I would suggest a gross application of black letter law that reaches a technically correct legal result, but a very blatantly wrong moral result.

I can't think of any right now, but I can imagine it happening (say some ridiculously stringent strict liability child porn posession law which got someone convicted even though it was spammed into his email box).

Some of these convictions might qualify.

Really, I'm okay with it in theory. Justice tempered with mercy and all that. But as applied to high level members of your own administration, it's just a license for them to commit crimes.

(and the last good use of it I can think of, though this was on a state level, was Gov. Ryan commuting death sentences in Illinois. Of course a lot of people would not consider that good. But it wasn't clearly in a different category from this.)

... short of making them tougher, of course.
Clearly you have insufficient understanding of the power of the Decider.

Time to ponder: what would the Republicans be saying if Clinton had done this?

Clearly you have insufficient understanding of the power of the Decider.

Well, yes. To clarify, I was talking about the pre-9/11 Constitution.

Very late to this thread, but last time I had an earache it caused me to hear everything in the affacted ear a semitone flatter than normal. As a musician, this drove me batshit insane - every note I heard was a semitone out of tune with itself.

I'd love to know how that happened.

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