Posted by Brad @ 4:17 pm on December 31st 2009

The Most Important Court Decision You Haven’t Heard of of the Week

I really do think the Taser issue is a big one. It cuts at the heart, in the same way the Campaign for Liberty worker’s case against the TSA did, at the idea of the police as being infaliable and beyond question. The Taser can be a wonderful tool, I think—it certainly beats shooting people—but it’s ease and efficacy has led to its total normalization not as an alternative to deadly force, which is in my view how it should be used, but as just a normal tool, on par with pepper spray or, say, putting your hands on a guy. And the scary thing is, because of the power of police unions locally and the lionized status of them nationally, the use of this device has been normalized with almost no consistent rules or limitations. We have essentially just given all beat cops cattle prods and said “use them as you see fit”.

Which is why this week’s ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court bears some publicity. In that it’s the first federal precedent that finds the police can indeed be held liable for their Tasering, and gives a whole host of further findings regarding how the Taser should be used.

A federal appeals court this week ruled that a California police officer can be held liable for injuries suffered by an unarmed man he Tasered during a traffic stop. The decision, if allowed to stand, would set a rigorous legal precedent for when police are permitted to use the weapons and would force some law enforcement agencies throughout the state — and presumably the nation — to tighten their policies governing Taser use, experts said.

Michael Gennaco, an expert in police conduct issues who has conducted internal reviews of Taser use for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies, said the ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals prohibits officers from deploying Tasers in a host of scenarios and largely limits their use to situations in which a person poses an obvious danger.

“This decision talks about the need for an immediate threat. . . . Some departments allow Tasers in cases of passive resistance, such as protesters who won’t move,” he said. Tasering for “passive resistance is out the door now with this decision. Even resistance by tensing or bracing may not qualify.”[…]

In spelling out their decision, the judges established legally binding standards about where Tasers fall on the spectrum of force available to police officers, and laid out clear guidelines for when an officer should be allowed to use the weapon. The judges, for example, said Tasers should be considered a more serious use of force than pepper spray — a distinction that runs counter to policies used by most law enforcement agencies in California and elsewhere, according to Greg Meyer, a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain and consultant on use-of-force issues.

“It sounds like this court is attempting to raise the bar for nonlethal use of force,” Meyer said.

As well they should, unless one believes, as most police departments do, that all non-lethal force is equal. I can certainly appreciate the sentiment that being a cop is a hard job and we shouldn’t throw up uneccessary barriers to make their lives more difficult. But at the same time, we should hold them to a standard of professionalism and humanity that we would anybody in a position of such power over us, and when it becomes common practice to use a Taser not as an alternative to deadly force, but as an alternative for, you know, handcuffing a guy, it’s time to start throwing up said barriers.

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 31st 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

1. Kutiman – I’m New

I just can’t not pick that one.

Happy New Year!

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 30th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

2. Decemberists – Bridges and Balloons

Easily my favorite cover of the year, and just a gorgeous outtake performance.

(2008, 2007 (sadly that great video is lost in the sands of YouTube))

Posted by Jerrod @ 9:12 pm on December 29th 2009

When systems fail, don’t do more, do different

The BBC reports that the last bombing attempt on an American airline was the result of “systemic failure”. In this, I agree. What I am disappointed in though, is that the proposed changes aren’t at all what are needed. I choked on my coffee this morning when I read that one new proposed rule is that people shouldn’t be allowed out of their seats during the last hour of flights and shouldn’t have access to hand luggage during that time.

Huh?

First off, this rule is wholly unenforceable for families. If you have infants, you have to have access to baby care items. If you have kids, you need to be able to keep them entertained. And even if you aren’t an infant, you probably are watching a DVD, using a laptop, listening to an iPod, reading a Kindle, playing a video game, doing something electronic that you’ll have to shut off at the last minute. With this new rule, either you will have to stow this stuff an hour before landing or you’ll have to hold it on your lap. Oh wait, there’s a rule against that already.

But the worst part of this rule is how completely, totally, wholly, 100%, entirely, massively, obliviously, and obviously worthless for stopping an attack like the one that happened over the holiday. If someone does succeed in smuggling parts onto a plane, having a rule against standing up or opening your bags during the last 60 minutes only means that they’ll attempt to set of the bomb 61 minutes or more before landing. What if he had tried to set the bomb off during the first hour? Would we just have to wait longer before getting out of our seats? What if it was in the middle of the flight? Would they institute a “everyone seated time” during the middle hour of all flights?

I guess maybe the rule might be effective at providing peace of mind for the last 60 minutes, except that everyone is going to be pissed off because they have to just sit there listening children cry.

I guess we aren’t allowed to have blankets on our laps any more on airplanes. Why? It’s true that this guy was trying to do his thing under a blanket, but that didn’t matter. He was discovered and stopped, which is another important point. These kinds of attacks are hard to pull off. This wasn’t a successful attack either; he was stopped, as was Richard Reid who tried to pull essentially the same stunt. I can’t support the assertion that it was a systemic failure when we stopped it.

The type of failure we experienced will always happen. There is no security system that is 100%. Our security mindset as a nation is infantile and has yet to understand this basic precept. Our leaders aren’t willing to even attempt to explain this and instead choose to adopt measures that cost a lot (must be good!) or give the appearance of effectiveness. We focus on closing the barn doors after the horses are out, and we close windows and air vents as well, even though that has nothing to do with keeping horses in the barn.

We need to spend less effort trying to stop the last attack again. When there are obvious security holes or effective countermeasures to be taken, of course these changes should be implemented. Strengthening cockpit doors following 9/11 is a prime example of this. But making us take off our shoes or toss bottles of liquids just means that they’ll stuff bombs in their underwear and use powders or combine two or three 100ml bottles or even build liquid bombs that they can easily toss in the checkpoint garbage cans before getting on a plane and flying away while the bomb blows up a line of people waiting for a metal detector.

We need to spend more effort on stopping these people before they get to the airport. More money spent on investigation, observation, and intelligence with less money spent on fancy machines that don’t get used consistently if at all. Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, had been reported to the authorities yet wasn’t investigated, vetted, and properly monitored. How many nudie microwave scanners would we have had to give up to get enough investigative manpower and monitoring systems to have kept this guy off the plane or at least gotten more scrutiny when he tried to get on?

We need to accept that our system will never be 100% safe and secure. Once we realize that, it seems kind of pointless to give up blankets, bathroom breaks, and carry-on luggage just to end up with the same level of security. And just because I point out that we aren’t completely safe doesn’t mean that we aren’t safe at all. These attacks are rare and difficult to execute: we are still very very safe flying on planes. I feel safer from a terrorist attack once I’m in the air than when I’m in a crowded check-in line, actually. I’m surprised we haven’t seen an attack on airport lobbies since they are crowded places full of huge parcels. It would be far easier to build a big bomb in a suitcase (or more likely, several of them) and hit a major airport check-in area than to blow up a plane mid-flight. Psychologically the effect would be the same if not worse. But inside a plane, I know that the passengers aren’t going to stand for any monkey business.

Unfortunately, I have no faith that we’re going to see any reduction in expensive and worthless (not to mention inconvenient and annoying) security theater measures and expect attempts to improve the intelligence side of the issue are likely to exacerbate the problem by gathering more rather than better raw data. In the meantime, I’m going to really commit to dieting, as its probably going to get to the point where we’ll have to disrobe entirely to board a plane in my lifetime.

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 29th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

3. Louis Prima and Keely Smith – Hey Boy! Hey Girl!

My best Music Video of the Week post of the year, or at least one of the few informative ones.

(In case you haven’t figured it out, the song title above hyperlinks to my original MVOTW post; the two dates on the bottom are hyperlinks to the winner of that slot in the last two years, so extra awesomeness per post!).

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 28th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

4. William Elliott Whitmore – Hell or High Water

Or, cheating:

(more…)

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 27th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Year

5. Mos Def – Quiet Dog

Great performance of what might be the year’s best single.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Rojas @ 10:18 pm on December 26th 2009

The limits of soft power, part 262,471.

The strongest aspect of Obama’s administration to date has no doubt been his ability to conduct foreign policy. Actually, this is all the more impressive given that pretty much none of the anticipated soft power benefits arising from his personal popularity have materialized.

In retrospect, it was important that we get beyond Bush, but it wasn’t his willingness to antagonize people that was the problem. It was his administration’s inability to correlate ends with means. Obama hasn’t been an improvement because he’s popular; he has been an improvement because he’s an adult.

This bears remembering going forward, lest we fall into the trap of thinking America’s popularity ought to be seen as an end in itself.

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 26th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

Finally got into Aesop Rock this year.

6. Evilnine ft. Aesop Rock – Crooked

Although really, that one and this one are pretty much tied.

(more…)

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 25th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

7. Keaton Simons and Terra Naomi – Bring it On Home

I love Terra Naomi, even if people (screw you tessellated!) make fun of me for it. Here she is very understated, doing a Sam Cooke cover duet. Laid back and wonderful. Bonus points: I’m picking a video that I posted in response to a video that Adam posted.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 24th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

8. Joanna Newsom – Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes

Even if you don’t normally like Joanna Newsom (you philistine), you have to admit her voice and style go great with this traditional 19th century Scottish sheep-herding tune.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Jerrod @ 10:48 pm on December 23rd 2009

Steve Largent, quarterback, politician, CEO

Since I can’t bring myself to post anything of my own, here is a post written by a good friend of mine (and well known to others on this site). No, it’s not by the pinecrika, although some consider him a waste, but from a man with much potential.

Steve Largent has always been my all-time favorite Seahawk. When we went to the practices at EWU, he was one of the only human-sized players running around in a crowd of giants. I think I still have a Nalley’s potato chip box with his picture and stats on it. Sad, but true. I think I even threw the Kenny Easley and Jim Zorn ones away, but couldn’t toss the #80.

I knew that he moved on into politics and had won a congressional seat out of Oklahoma, but I never paid any attention to Oklahoma politics beyond knowing that fact. I couldn’t tell you if he was in the house or senate.

This morning, I read this New York Times article about cellphones. I was surprised to learn that Mr. Largent has spent the last five and a half years as the CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the main mobile phone lobby.

After reading that article, I looked around the internet, and realized that he had a pretty weird political career. He resigned from the house to run for governor of Oklahoma, but he lost by 7000 votes, presumably because his democratic opponent captured the crucial cock-fighting vote. The independent in the race ran an attack ad (that I cannot find anywhere online) that featured the collapse of the WTC, Largent cussing, Alan Jackson music, and the accusation (true) that Largent was hunting in Idaho, out of cell phone range on 9/11. Not a big deal, really, except Congress was in session, and Largent’s office released a statement from him about the attacks even though he didn’t know they had happened.

The irony that the head of the mobile phone lobby lost a gubernatorial race in part because he did not have cell-phone service is awesome.

Indeed.

Posted by Rojas @ 3:36 pm on December 23rd 2009

It was China wot done it, guvnor

A fascinating first-hand account from the floor at the Copenhagen cock-up.

And, indeed, in realist terms this makes perfect sense. Block any long-term momentum towards meaningful emissions targets, thereby protecting one’s own coal-centric economy; torpedo western soft-power in the process, relying on the predictable tendency of the western media to blame the west for any and every failure of global accord; assure that LDCs will blame the west, thereby promoting one’s own standing as a “development partner”.

Posted by Brad @ 2:28 pm on December 23rd 2009

The Disgraced-Public-Figure Holiday Form Letter

Been at tough year for celebrities. Slate tries to make the job of writing Christmas cards a bit easier for them.

Dear Friends:

[Start with a light and self-deprecating tone to prove that, hey, you do still have a sense of humor. Then lead in with some positive news, if there is any.]

Happy holidays! It’s been quite a year, especially if you believe my (blackmailer/wife’s publicist/tabloid stories/wiretaps/text messages)! Seriously, 2009 wasn’t all bad. Don’t forget I did (win six PGA tournaments/get two Grammy nominations/clinch the World Series/have eight babies)!

[Be sure to get the elephant in the room out of the way early.]

Of course, I regret the (racketeering/Ponzi scheme/sex tape/award show microphone-snatching/affair/affairs/many, many affairs). I can only blame (myself/my insane Alaskan baby-grandma/that one paparazzo who looked like a zombie/the sushi-induced mercury poisoning). Certainly, I’m not above going on (trial/Larry King/I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here/methadone/Twitter) to clear my name.

[Address the family situation as delicately as you can.]

As for (justifiably angry spouse), I’m continually amazed by her (strength/loyalty/ability to wield a pitching wedge). We’ll be spending the holidays in (counseling/the depths of my pathetic shame/meetings to plan our next attempt at reality television), which I know will make everyone feel better. The good news is the kids (are/seem/could be, who knows with the restraining order) fine! It will take more than the (auction of all of our belongings/constant Gawker posts/wrath of my Swedish mother-in-law/competing six-figure book deals) to get this family down.

[Attempt a positive look at the future.]

For now, though, I’m going to try to make the best of things. This year has given me a great appreciation for what matters, and I know I will never again (inject steroids/hike the “Appalachian Trail”/try to sell a Senate seat/promise someone other than my wife a rooftop wedding ceremony with the Dave Matthews Band).

[Close on a warm note, even if—face it—you may never hear from these people again.]

So here’s to you and yours! I know things will get better. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that time flies when you’re (on house arrest in a Swiss chalet/dating Kate Hudson/sentenced to 150 years in prison). And it could be worse! At least I’m not (Tiger, Blago, Kanye, Gov. Sanford, A-Rod, Jon or Kate, a Madoff, John Edwards, Whitney Houston—yes, she had a comeback, but aren’t you still glad you’re not Whitney Houston?).

Have a wonderful 2010, and remember to hold tight the ones you love, preferably those who still live in your house.

Warm regards from your,
Disgraced Public Figure

Posted by Brad @ 10:24 am on December 23rd 2009

KY-Sen

Don’t look now…

PPP. 12/18-21. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (No trend lines)


Republican primary

Paul (R) 44
Grayson (R) 25

Posted by Brad @ 9:00 am on December 23rd 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

There’s a big dropoff between this one and the last three. 12-10 are sort of throwaways; now we’re into the good stuff.

9 . Robin Thicke – When I Get You Alone

This was my Pandora song of the year—that one tune that you would never in a million years listen to otherwise but that pops up, you thumb up feeling a little dirty about it, but then each consecutive time it comes back up you get more and more into it. It’s an old song, but new to me, though sadly Robin cut his hair off and went in for the R&B balladeer thing.

Anyway, besides being a pop/disco track set to Beethoven’s 5th, I love the idea of a Justin Timberlake-esque tune done by a bike messenger.

(2008, 2007 (>:/))

Posted by Brad @ 2:49 pm on December 22nd 2009

Leading Cuban Republicans Pull Crist Endorsement

Two endorsements that actually matter, as with them likely goes the Cuban-American Republican bloc.

U.S. Reps Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami have pulled their endorsement of Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate.

Lincoln offered few details as to why, just that Crist had “left us no alternative and he knows why.”

He said the withdrawal has nothing to do with Crist’s slumping poll numbers, and in fact, the decision was made weeks ago. But their names were only recently pulled off Crist’s webpage. He said the two Miami Republicans are unlikely to endorse anyone else in the race.

The surprising decision is the latest bit of bad news to sack Crist, whose poll numbers have dropped as opponent Marco Rubio surged. The withdrawn endorsement is doubly surprising, considering the closeness between Crist and Mario Diaz-Balart. The two served together in the Florida Senate and were always chummy.

This on the heels of his wrapped-up institutional support in the state slowly unwrapping as more and more county chairs are pulling their endorsements as well, not wanting to be on the wrong side of a Scozzafaving.

Kos kind-of-kidding-but-not-really notes that Crist wins a general easy—but that he won’t win the primary. I think he’s right. Meaning, if Crist wants that Senate seat, he probably has to drop the R. Bad spot for Crist.

Posted by Brad @ 1:51 pm on December 22nd 2009

P is for Pandering

Newsweek has an interview with Tim Pawlenty, who you may have heard is auditioning for the job of GOP Presidential nominee, and it’s a bit…depressing. He’s fine when the conversation is about budgets and stuff, save this great exchange:

Q: As you say, Republicans need to reestablish credibility for being “fiscally disciplined.” Well, here in Minnesota there is a big budget shortfall. Would you consider raising taxes here to close the gap?

A. I’m not going to start raising taxes now. During these tight economic times, government has to tighten its belt just like average families do.

Q: But is a no-new-taxes pledge still possible in times of massive budget deficits?

A. Yes. We’ve showed it’s possible in Minnesota, where we have balanced the budget every year without raising taxes despite the projected shortfalls.

Heh. Those two things seem mutually exclusive to me.

But where he gets bad is once he starts cravenly playing up to what he perceives as the base. Even the Newsweek guy asking the questions gets a bit snarky with him at times.

Q. So you want to protect kids against cross-dressing elementary-school teachers. Do you have any in Minnesota?

A. Probably. We’ve had a few instances, not exactly like that, but similar.

Q: OK, glad we settled that.

/golf clap

Andrew Sullivan reacts here, and Charles Johnson reacts even more here.

Posted by Brad @ 10:26 am on December 22nd 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

I keep leaving my little cheat sheet in the office, so I keep not being able to post at night. Bah. Prepare to be spammed over the next two days.

10. Lykke Li – Dance Dance Dance

She can be a little hard to take at times, a little Euro-pretentious. Her single “I’m Good I’m Gone” is a better song (click through the link for a few versions of that), but this one—a great user video, by the way—strikes me as more accessible, and just hits the spot when you’re in a certain mood. A good find for me this year.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Cameron @ 5:01 pm on December 21st 2009

Competing Music Video of the Day

This is today’s song that’s unrelated to Brad’s music video countdown. I sought this song out after I heard it featured in the closing moments of a recent episode of the currently enthralling show, Dollhouse. It is featured in Greg Laswell’s most recent release, an LP which shares its title with the source of of the songs – Covers.

Oh and aside from this pretty slick song, the guy also brilliantly covered Morphine’s In Spite of Me. Needless to say, I’ve quickly become a fan of the guy already have a channel on Pandora themed around him. A pretty decent selection of his material can be found here.

Posted by Adam @ 4:29 pm on December 21st 2009

Polanski update: doping and sodomising a 13 year old still a punishable crime in California even if Judge a meanie

Roman Polanski loses his appeal in California on the grounds of misconduct by the (now deceased) presiding Judge. The Appeals court agree that there should be some examination of the complaints but don’t think that Polanski gets to dismiss the case from afar (presumably Polanski having pled* guilty doesn’t help matters).

We should all pause and shed the world’s smallest tear for Mr Polanski.

*I note that my browser dictionaries strangely do not recognise pled as either US or UK English, but ‘Polanski’ is apparently OK in US English.

Posted by Brad @ 1:03 pm on December 21st 2009

Jimmy Carter: Libertarian Example?

He was, after all, the last acting president that made the notion of “limits” a cornerstone theme, rather than the “America can do anything!” notion that has become the norm. But anyway, FreedomDemocrats are currently trying to hammer out a cohesive argument, though they’re not quite there yet. :)

Posted by Brad @ 12:56 pm on December 21st 2009

The Man Who Conned the Pentagon

One of the things that most amazed me during the Bush years was the fact that Republicans and conservatives, who tend to believe (rightly) that government is inefficient, wasteful, and a poor mechanism for change, had no problem whatever holding that view for all things domestic, but for some reason without a second thought embraced the idea in all things abroad or relating to national security. The sheer exuberance with which they totally internalized the liberal ideal as it pertained to a police state or democratizing foreign barely-states was somewhat breathtaking. Apparently, Washington couldn’t be trusted to manage, say, energy policy, or deal with national parks, but when it turned its attention to terrorists, it was omnicompetent. This led to the strange juxtaposition of Republicans decrying the inability of government to act responsibly with old people’s government pensions, but could, somehow, Westernize Afghanistan and efficiently and responsibly maintain a domestic spying program analyzing all communications in the United States. One would think the lesson of conservatism would generalize for conservatives—indeed, that that’s what would make the conservatives!—but no.

Case in point, this article from Playboy, about a man who convinced the Pentagon that he had a secret code that allowed him to receive terrorist messages. Specifically, through a process he couldn’t replicate or even explain, he nevertheless asserted that he could find “terrorist bar codes” in Al Jazeera broadcasts that gave coordinates and flight numbers that Al Queda was using to all the terrorists out there watching with their decoder rings.

Now, if a guy at a bus stop were telling you this, you would slowly step away and awkwardly try to cut off conversation. If you’re the Pentagon though? Start throwing this guy no-bid contracts (he claims totaling about 130 million, but we really have no idea), start canceling flights, and raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, with Tom Ridge warning of “near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11.”

S&T was eventually ordered by CIA brass to reveal its source to small groups from other parts of the agency. And when some experienced officers heard about it, they couldn’t believe it. One former counterterrorism official remembers the briefing: “They found encoded location data for previous and future threat locations on these Al Jazeera tapes,” he says. “It got so emotional. We were fucking livid. I was told to shut up. I was saying, ‘This is crazy. This is embarrassing.’ They claimed they were breaking the code, getting latitude and longitude, and Al Qaeda operatives were decoding it. They were coming up with airports and everything, and we were just saying, ‘You know, this is horseshit!’ ” Another former officer, who has decades of experience, says, “We were told that, like magic, these guys were able to exploit this Al Jazeera stuff and come up with bar codes, and these bar codes translated to numbers and letters that gave them target locations. I thought it was total bullshit.”

The federal government was acting on the Al Jazeera claims without even understanding how Montgomery found his coordinates. “I said, ‘Give us the algorithms that allowed you to come up with this stuff.’ They wouldn’t even do that,” says the first officer. “And I was screaming, ‘You gave these fucking people money?’”

He has also developed software that he claims can perfectly recognize faces and weapons from Predator Drone video files, and a filter that can take satellite imagery and tell you which parts of the oceans have submarines in them (an employee says that the guy actually did this “by eye”). Neither of which, apparently, worked or were even actually developed. Nobody is quite sure how much money the national security apparatus of America has actually thrown at this guy.

Best part? Even after all that, this year the same guy got $3 million from the Air Force so they could “look at some software of his to see if there was anything there.” He used the money to pay off gambling debts and promptly declared bankruptcy.

Posted by Brad @ 10:32 am on December 21st 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

11. Seldom Scene – After Midnight

Ahh Seldom Scene.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Brad @ 6:39 pm on December 20th 2009

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

It’s that time again, late as usual. I’m going to count down my favorite Music Video of the Week videos from the year. I’ll have to cram two or three a day down your throats to get it done in time.

Save for the mid-summer, I didn’t post very many music videos this year relative to other years; can’t say why for sure. So sort of slim pickings, but still enough musical awesomeness to go around. Without further ado:

12. Old Man Luedecke – Joy of Cooking

I like this song a lot, one of my favorite finds of the year. The video’s not so great or it’d rate higher, but still, just a nice old-timey tune that’s actually sort of sweet.

(2008, 2007)

Posted by Adam @ 8:53 pm on December 19th 2009

It was the coked-up floozy wot done it, guvnor

Tennis player Richard Gasquet tested positive for cocaine earlier in the year, which might have resulted in a two year ban. With tennis presumably reeling from finding out that Andre Agassi’s “that meth must have been put in my drink” excuse, that they had accepted, was a load of crap, Gasquet had to think hard for an explanation that could be taken seriously.

However, for some reason Gasquet didn’t bother with that and instead went with “I kissed a girl in a nightclub who had cocaine in/on her mouth”. That was back in July and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) bought it, somewhat, and only gave him a one year suspension; now the Court of Arbitration for sport (Cas) have decided that the ITF were a bunch of meanies and Gasquet’s ban should be overturned.

Outstanding.

Posted by Brad @ 4:05 pm on December 19th 2009

The Myth of the Independent Voter

Is further crushed by John Sides, who finds the vast majority of independent voters to be loyal partisans, and true independents to make up about 7% of the electorate.

Posted by Adam @ 1:30 pm on December 19th 2009

The sausage rolls on

Earlier today it was reported that Harry Reid has 60 votes for a bill with no public option or alternative and with some restrictions on abortion funding (that fall short of Stupack). Ben Nelson came on board in return for the abortion language and some freebies for Nebraska.

I think that once it became clear Lieberman was going to shut out a public option, this was the best Reid could hope for. Presumably progressives will suck down their anger and raise a lacklustre cheer while it goes through.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:29 am on December 19th 2009

A heartwarming tale of holiday cheer

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee – Tennessee investigators say a 4-year-old boy was found roaming his neighborhood in the night, drinking beer and wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.

The child’s mother, 21-year-old April Wright, tells WTVC-TV the boy “wants to go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.”

It’s a Trouserdown miracle!

Posted by Rojas @ 1:19 am on December 19th 2009

Weirdest theft ever

Somebody has stolen the famous “Work Sets You Free” sign off of the main gate at Auschwitz.

Seems like it would be a hard item to fence. *rimshot*

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