Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bush Appointee To Bring Hostility, Feathered Bangs to Position

Similar to how he appointed John Bolton, a man who was know for his active dislike of the United Nations, as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Bush has appointed an avid critic of birth control as chief of family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Susan Orr. She will be in charge of about $283 million in annual grants to provide low-income families and others with contraceptive services, counseling and preventive screenings.

As noted in this Washington Post article:

In a 2001 article in The Washington Post, Orr applauded a Bush proposal to stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees to cover a broad range of birth control. "We're quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease," said Orr, then an official with the Family Research Council.
So if she's not going to be spending all that money on birth control, what should she spend it on? My vote goes to booze and hotel rooms.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So Incredibly Likely, I Can't Believe It Actually Happened! Part II

Another Reason to Dislike Leland Stanfurd Junior University. Donald Rumsfeld, America's former defence secretary, has been granted a prestigious one-year fellowship at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, a conservative think-tank. Mr Rumsfeld will join a task force on terrorism and ideology, along with George Schultz, the secretary of state under Ronald Reagan and a current Hoover Fellow.

To the credit of the students and other faculty, a good number have signed a petition opposing the appointment, largely because of Mr Rumsfeld's role in the invasion of Iraq. Honestly, if you wanted someone on a committee on "terrorism and ideology," wouldn't you want somebody who hadn't supremely fucked up?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Ok, no, I'm not talking about Vincent Chase's movie that bombed at Cannes. He's just a pretty man.

Today the SCOTUS will (or has, damn time difference), hear argument in Medellin v. Texas, a case that deals with the President's power to direct state governments to comply with international treaty law (in this case, a decision by the International Court of Justice["ICJ"]) when it deals with an area of law that is traditionally left to the states (criminal procedure of sorts). More importantly, it will also deal with whether state governments have an obligation to follow the ICJ's decision even in the absence of Presidential action because international law is, by definition, federal law, and thus preeminent under the Supremacy Clause.

I doubt international law is going to stand much of a chance with the current Court even though this would be a good case to enforce the ICJ's decision because there are direct treaty obligations involved. None of that messy customary international law or jug cogens stuff that makes U.S. judges so uncomfortable.

More info than you probably care for available here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

SCOTUS feigns interest, but really can't get mind off of back 9

In a day of unreceptiveness, the Court seemed disinclined to let investors sue companies that were involved in securities fraud if they were not primary violators. I actually found this somewhat hard to believe. Basically there was a scheme that required the participation of a third party (sham transaction). The investors were trying to go after the third party as well as the defendant/company itself. Other than Ginsburg though, it doesn't seem the little guy had much of a chance. If you're really bored interested in a background of the case, take a look here

Elsewhere, the Court also declined to review a case against the C.I.A., that would have reopened the "state secrets" question in El-Masri v. U.S. (06-1613) as well looked into the agency's alleged "extraordinary rendition" program; where the CIA captures individuals and then ships them abroad to be interrogated and tortured so that they do not have to follow U.S. law or procedure. El-Masri alleged that he was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2003 and then taken to Afghanistan where he was held for months and tortured by his captors. El-Masri was released in 2004 after he says U.S. officials realized he was not involved with terrorism. The administration has never acknowledged El-Masri or his claims.

So if you get kidnapped and shipped off to a foreign land, tortured and then let go because it was all a mistake. TOUGH SHIT. As the government would like to keep it a secret that it might be engaged in activity prohibited by both US and international law, there will be no review. Shhhhhh. It's a secret.

This Court is starting to remind me of the Board of Supervisors at a gated retirement community.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Champions League: Liverpool v. l'OM

Olympique de Marseille 1- Liverpool 0

Allez les gars!!! Droit au But!!

l'OM is about to become the first french side to ever win at Anfield!