damnum absque injuria

May 28, 2007

Wayne Newton, Terrorist

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 2:30 pm

Via Patterico, it looks like someone owes Annie Jacobsen and Wayne Newton an apology.

UPDATE: Far from apologizing, Snopes has dug their heels even deeper:

In May 2007, the DHS released to the public its March 2006 review of the “Handling of Suspicious Passengers Aboard Northwest Flight 327,” which included the following statement from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration):

“Overall, a key element when considering the response to this incident should be noted, which is that the 13 Syrian musicians were not terrorists and that the law enforcement assessments made by the FAMS and FBI on June 29, 2004 were appropriate. The decision not to contact the HSOC was decided only after the FAMS and FBI leadership jointly determined that the subjects could be cleared. The reported suspicious activity was determined to be unfounded, and not a terrorist threat …”

Um… yeah, the DHS report did indeed include that line, but only in the sense that every good fisking “includes” the material being fisked. Here’s how it actually appears in the document in question, in context (scroll down to p. 19):

Other Comments
TSA noted in comments that it disagreed with our report language that there was a lack of coordinated action between the FAMS and FBI. Our audit identified examples where the Department’s investigators were interviewing individuals and taking other investigative actions without the direction or knowledge of the FBI. Because we also found activities where the FBI and the Department were clearly coordinated, we revised the report language to say the investigations were “sometimes” uncoordinated.

TSA also commented that it believed a referral of the suspicious activity that occurred on Flight 327 did not merit referral to the HSOC. TSA’s comments note, “The decision not to contact the HSOC was decided only after the FAMS and FBI leadership jointly determined that the subjects could be cleared. The reported suspicious activity was determined to be unfounded, and not a terrorist threat and therefore did not merit an HSOC referral.” We believe the HSOC clearly signaled a referral was merited by logging the Flight 327 matter into its database on July 26, 2004, following a July 22, 2005 Washington Times article, and an inquiry from the White House Homeland Security Council.

Yeah, that sounds like a ringing endorsement of TSA’s position, doesn’t it?

Allah has more.

May 27, 2007

The Six Dollar Thicklawsuit

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:35 am

When I first read this, I thought Ted Frank had missed the point of this suit. Surely I’m not the only person who recognizes the ad in question as an obvious rip-off of Carl’s Jr.’s ad a few years back about a chicken’s lack of nuggets, and while a copyright or trademark suit would still seem a bit of a stretch, it would not be nearly as retarded as the suit they really are bringing. Lordy.

May 24, 2007

Torture Never Works

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:43 pm

That’s the good news, anyway. The bad news is that al-Qaeda never got the memo, so for now, at least, they’re continuing to employ these useless techniques to obtain unreliable intelligence on the rest of us. I’m sure that al-Qaeda will see the folly of their ways sooner or later, probably around the same time that our criminals disarm en masse because the guns they carry now are 43 times more likely to kill them than their putative victims.

May 23, 2007

Life Imitates South Park

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:14 pm

Mystery solved, Phase Two is go to prison.

May 22, 2007

Memo to Taco Bell

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:01 pm

Yes, I know, everything tastes like chicken. That said, not everything sounds like “chicken,” and “steak quesadilla” sure as hell doesn’t. Nor, I might add, is “diet” a code word for “wild cherry.” And “hot sauce” is not a quaint way of saying “I’d like one measly packet of hot sauce, along with five packets of that mild, watery crap meant for Gringos.”


Don’t Trust, Do Verify

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:41 pm

Why am I not surprised to find that this bears little resemblance to this?

UPDATE: The L.A. Times account of the case isn’t much better than Radley’s (no, really!), but does make the court sound a bit more divided than it really was. Staff writer David Savage writes:

Only Justice David H. Souter dissented from the order to reject the suit. In a separate statement, Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurred in the outcome without joining the court’s opinion.

In reality, Justice Souter did not dissent from the court ruling on the merits, only on the technicality of whether to hear the case (grant certiorari) at all. Radley makes the same mistake, describing the decision as 8-1 when in fact it was at 8-0 at best(worst?), and 9-0 at worst (best?). While it is true Justice Stevens’s wrote a concurring opinion, signed also by Justice Ginsburg, that opinion differed from the Court’s ruling on a tastes great / less filling theory. In a nutshell, the cops defended themselves on alternative theories: the search was constitutional, and even if it wasn’t they enjoyed qualified immunity. The court ruled that the search was clearly constitutional, and it was therefore unnecessary to rule on whether they enjoyed immunity. Justices Stevens and Ginsburg ruled that the cops clearly enjoyed qualified immunity, and it was therefore unnecessary to rule on whether the search was constitutional. Any way you slice it, Rettele and Sadler got pwn3d.

It’s So Fun Being an Illegal Adrian

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:32 pm

Tell ya what, Fenty-Boy. You forgive my speeding violation in your jurisdiction, and I’ll forgive your speeding violation in mine. Deal?

May 20, 2007

Not in a Rush

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:18 pm

I recently purchased Snakes and Arrows, which came earlier this month. Snakes and Arrows is the ninth studio album by Rush. I have no further comment.

Allah Damns Newt

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:41 am

As bloggers go, Allahu is pretty akbar, but apparently not quite akbar enough to get Newt Gingrich’s point about the long-term goal of evangelical Christians to convert everyone to Christianity. Gingrich said:

Anybody on the left who hopes that when people like Reverend Falwell disappear that the opportunity to convert all of America has gone with them fundamentally misunderstands why institutions like this were created.

To which Allah responded:

Does he mean “convert all of America” … to Christianity? All religions seek converts, but I’ve been assuming that the nonviolent ones, in modern times at least, try to limit themselves to people who are seeking spiritual fulfillment but haven’t found it yet. Supply meeting demand, in other words. I wasn’t aware that Christian conservatives had taken the entire body politic, seekers or not, as their quota.

To which I say: “reality, meet Seinfeld,” and “forest, meet trees.” Those easily offended by religious discussions are invited to skip the rest of this post.

May 18, 2007

Brady Crap – It’s Not Just For Guns Anymore

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:42 am

Via Uncly-Wuncly and Hardy-Wardy, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Ownership leaves no pooch unscrewed, decrying not only the Parker decision they’re afraid to appeal but also a well-established canon of interpretation, expressio unius est exclusio alterius (“the expression of one is the exclusion of the other”). Check out page 7 of their Parker Fantasy Fantasy brief:

Rather than addressing the Supreme Court’s actual holding, and Miller’s finding of an inextricable tie between arms possession and participation in a well regulated militia, the Parker court began its discussion of Miller by stating: “On the question of whether the Second Amendment protects an individual or collective right, the Court’s opinion in Miller is most notable for what it omits.” There is, of course, no principle of interpretation that directs courts to construe what higher courts didn’t say, rather than what they did say. This rule of omission is an invention of the Parker majority.

If expressio unius est exclusio alterius were a brand spankin’ new invention of the Parker court, it probably wouldn’t have a Latin name, and I certainly wouldn’t have read about it in law school years ago. Nor, for that matter, would any of the framers of the Constitution have had any doubts or misgivings about the wisdom of adopting an enumerated (and therefore, inherently finite) Bill of Rights. If legislatively declaring certain rights can’t be construed to implicitly exclude others, why was there any controversy over the Bill of Rights, and why the hell did Amendments 9 and 10 end up there?

I will grant the Brady’s one teensy-weensy baby point: as far as I know, the “rule of omission” they decry has traditionally been a canon of statutory interpretation, and U.S. v. Miller is a Supreme Court ruling, not a statute. But if there’s a rational argument for not using the same principle for interpreting court precedents as has always been used for statutes, I have yet to hear it. Even if we were to concede this non-point, however, it’s one thing to extend a legal doctrine into a new context where it has previously not applied, and quite another to “invent” one altogether.


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