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Sunday Open Thread:
What's on your mind? Comment away.
Glenn W Bowen (mail):
anyone wanna go halfsies on a 'Mohammed" T-shirt venture?
2.5.2006 12:17pm
Rossputin (mail) (www):
In case you're interested, please read my take on the Muslim "Cartoon Uprising"

You can read it at:
http://rossputin.com/blog/index.php/a/2006/02/05/

My main points are:

1. This is a welcome wake-up call for Europe which, it can be argued, is about to enter World War IV (if you are one who accepts casting the Cold War as World War III.)

2. As far as offensive cartoons, Muslims "can dish it out but they can't take it". (With references about disgusting Muslim/Arab cartoons.)

3. These events are the first to cause cohesive resistance to Muslim intolerance and radicalism across Europe rather than in ignorable (for other countries) isolated incidents.

4. Weak-kneed European governments as well as silence by Muslim moderates have allowed Muslim immigration to turn into a cancer in Europe, and it's time to "see the doctor" about it.

5. And a final note that just because European newspapers have done a good thing by standing up to radical Islam once does not redeem them from their years of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.
2.5.2006 12:27pm
Jeff Wartman (mail):
Seahawks by 3
2.5.2006 12:27pm
Wilson (mail):
"So, Mohammed, Jesus, and Moses walk into a talent agency. . ."

Man would I so get suicide bombed for that one.
2.5.2006 12:33pm
anonymous coward:
More political appointees with little to recommend them but their politics: see http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/04climate.html

In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.

[snip]

The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."
2.5.2006 12:40pm
WB:
This Danish cartoon business is on my mind today.

Often when people protest, even violently, I try to understand their motivations. For example, when people blow up abortion clinics, I have zero sympathy for them, but I understand that they think they are trying to stop actual murders from taking place, just the same as if someone tried to blow up the gas chambers or the guard towers in concentration camps. I don't agree, but I see the logic at least, and I understand the depth of the person's conviction, even if I think it's misguided and that the person deserves punishment.

On the other hand, this business of Muslims burning embassies over a cartoon just strikes me as crazy, and I wonder if the whole Middle East is just crazed beyond comprehension. I look at the pictures of the Danish embassy with flames coming out of it, and I think that there is just no reasoning with these people.

The supreme irony of it is that senseless violence like that just validates the idea of a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a turban bomb on his head.
2.5.2006 12:43pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Reporting Iran to the Security Council is a waste of time because Russia and China will never allow the SC to do anything about them, and because in general, the SC opposes military action (and therefore cannot level a credible threat of military action), which is the only tactic that will have any impact on Iran's nuclear ambitions.
2.5.2006 12:48pm
TomFromMD (mail):
Wow - an open thread. Just like at Kos! :)


Seriously - the left has long argued that conservative sites aren't as "open" as liberal ones, lacking comments and the like. Despite trolling, comments do serve as decent fact check mechanisms.

This site is a breath of fresh air.
2.5.2006 12:59pm
SLS 1L:
What's on my mind is the overt racism on the comment thread to Eugene's Boston Globe post. I'm very distressed by the willingness of commenters here to make broad claims about "Muslims" while clearly meaning "dark-skinned Muslims." Then there's the multiplicity of ad homenim attacks on other posters and gratuitous attacks on "liberals."

I know the original theory in the VC's comment policy was that we were supposed to avoid that kind of thing. Perhaps the VC's comment boards need more moderation?
2.5.2006 12:59pm
byomtov (mail):
Comment of the Week award goes to Glenn Bowen.
2.5.2006 1:09pm
anonymous coward:
All this business about offensive-to-Muslim cartoons brought to mind one of my favorite cartoons, the late, lamented and highly offensive Parking Lot is Full, which had a few notable Xian-related cartoons:

This cartoonist will surely burn in hell for making fun of our Savior!

Free speech should not include blasphemy!

and finally...
2.5.2006 1:14pm
therut (mail):
Watching C-span last pm with George Lakoff was hilarious. His whole thesis of how Conservatives have mislead and framed their words to be deceiving by saying one thing and meaning another was just to hypocritical coming from the man the Democrats are looking to to tell them how to use words and rephrase things to be deceiving. Is this man for real? Plus the Democrates need to listen to someone else as for as the embrace of religious language as this man is hostile and knows nothing about Christianty. That had to be the most dishonest thing I have seen in a while.
2.5.2006 1:16pm
Tony (mail):
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the nature of "personal responsibility". Is it a moral principle? Or just a way for conservatives to wave away social problems that they don't want to deal with? Is it a sound policy choice regardless of any principles involved? What does it mean if it fails as a policy choice?

On a related note, what's your take on liability law? How rational is current law, and what might be the prospects for reform?
2.5.2006 1:19pm
Guest2 (mail):
What is on my mind today is that my mother-in-law is slowly dying of a heart condition at the relatively young age of 66. It became clear yesterday that she probably won't make it through the year. I realize that this is probably not the kind of thing that Orin had in mind, but I guess it bears repeating that you shouldn't wait until you retire to do the things that are important to you.
2.5.2006 1:28pm
JGR (mail):
I have a matter that has been puzzling me for awhile, and it seems like just the sort of thing that some of the readers of Volokh (or the bloggers) might be interested in tackling. (This may have been addressed before I became a regular reader).
A few years ago there was a celebrated case where Emily Rosa, a nine year old girl, published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association disproving a widely practiced technique called Therapeutic Touch, a form of "alternative medicine" that involves the practitioner allegedly manipulating an energy field around the patient. What made this different from most alternative medicine (defined as any non-evidentiary based medicine) is that it was widely practiced at numerous hospitals despite being apparently bunk.
Now this is the thing. I am a small l libertarian, and like most libertarians, I believe that people have a right to practice whatever bizarre practices that they wish. If people want to pay money to pray to the Great Sea Eel, I have no problem with that; I have no problem in large part because it doesn't affect me directly, I know that I will still go to the hospital if I'm sick, and I expect that my hospital will be based on Western science. Now I know that many libertarians oppose any enforced standards such as I'm specifically talking about. In a free market, there will be regular science, numerous alternative clinics, and people can take their pick. My problem is the commingling. If I get hit on the head, and a doctor charges me to chant to the hit-on-the-head gods, I would feel 1) angry 2) as if the hospital were guilty of fraud in a way that an alternative clinic was not. Skeptic magazine noted at the time that the study caused an alternative clinic to quietly drop therapeutic touch, while a "respectable" hospital issued a statement defending it (mentioning quantum physics and the poetry of Florence Nightingale). I am not a lawyer, so I am wondering, first, if there is a separate set of legal principles governing regular hospitals versus alternative medicine. Second, if there should be, and what the complications would be if there were (or are). Third, what is the libertarian position on this? (There may be two different aspects. First, situations where a patient does not have any reasonable control over their hospital because of emergency admission; second, less immediate situations where the consumer is free to shop around. Even in the latter case, I still feel that a regular hospital has a duty to adhere to standard science, because there is an implied authority that I'm paying for (and betting my life on). (But I'm not sure that's the pure libertarian position.) Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
2.5.2006 1:30pm
colts41 (mail):
Anyone care to explain how the NSA eavesdropping operation can work in real-time, if the 100s of speakers being monitored simultaneously speak an Arabic dialect and, probably, in some sort of code, and there's no way the NSA has that many employees who could possibly know what's being said in real-time. And what impact does this have, if any, on the administration's factual claims about how this program actually works.

This point was raised by Volokh Watcher at 11:35 am today on Orin's post yesterday about the newstory on Gonzales's expected testimony.
2.5.2006 1:32pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11180519/site/newsweek

This is precisely the "hypothetical" I posted in a thread regarding the President's inherent, Article II authority to conduct domestic surveillance without Congressional authorization, without a warrant, and without judicial review.

Then again, University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein opined that the President "would be on less solid legal ground were he to order the killing of a terror suspect in the United States who was not actively preparing an attack."

I guess my next hypothetical will have to be about the President's inherent Article II authority have people skinned alive and then boiled in oil.
2.5.2006 1:34pm
Barry:
All: Take advantage of the freedom to comment. When American Muslims conquer the United States liberty like this will no longer exist. We need to war mercilessly against American Islamofascism if we want to keep our freedoms.
2.5.2006 1:36pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
SLS 1L stated:
I'm very distressed by the willingness of commenters here to make broad claims about "Muslims" while clearly meaning "dark-skinned Muslims."
And I'm very distressed (well, ok, only mildly annoyed :) by the willingness of a commentator to make a broad claim regarding what I "clearly meant" when: (a) that is not what I intended or, far more importantly, said; and (b) no reasonable person could draw such an inference.

Seriously, I could care less about the skin color of a Muslim who, because he believes he is uthorized, and indeed instructed and commanded to do so by the Allah and the Koran, sets fire to buildings and wants to behead "infidels" over a cartoon.
2.5.2006 1:48pm
Bleepless (mail):
1. An embassy is the sovereign territory of the country represented.
2. Nothing of consequence happens in Syria without prior government orders.
3. The attacks against the embassies in Damascus constitute acts of war.
4. Denmark and Norway have a legal right -- and a moral duty -- to invoke Article V of the NATO Treaty.
5. Bye-bye, Syria!
2.5.2006 2:02pm
Tumbling Dice:
Steelers 27, Seahawks 10.

Channing Frye is a surprisingly solid NBA player. It's too bad the Knicks are saddled with the worst GM in the NBA.
2.5.2006 2:03pm
TM Lutas (mail) (www):
Imams are religious judicial officers with the right to author decisions (practice law?) advocating physical punishments up to and including the death penalty. As far as I can tell, this is completely unregulated by law. There is no equivalent to the Catholic concordat treaty regulating how Catholicism will operate in the US that presumably regulates how the Catholic Code is implemented on US soil.

Why is this tolerated? How can the state give up its monopoly on violence this way?

In response to the Big Bang post above, I can't leave that one alone as it's not what you think. The Big Bang was traditionally viewed as very christian friendly. In fact, early non-scientific resistance was famously on the grounds that it was too much like Genesis (let there be light). By demoting it from fact to theory, the administration is either being scrupulously neutral or being anti-christian. The latter is, to my mind, extremely unlikely.
2.5.2006 2:14pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Man Convicted of Masterminding U.S.S. Cole Attack Escapes Jail

Of course, this is just a coincidence. I mean, it is highly unlikely that the mastermind of the Cole attack, and 22 other prisoners, had inside help when they escaped a Yemeni jail through a tunnel. It is not like anyone looked away.

No, the Muslims in the Middle East who support terrorists are clearly in the minority. Nothing to see here. Move along.
2.5.2006 2:15pm
nyejm (mail) (www):
Here's what's on my mind -- I was up late last night and caught a rerun of SNL at 1am. Bill Murray hosted, and almost the entire opening monologue was him singing various bits from "Footloose." To be perfectly honest, I'm still giggling just thinking about it.
2.5.2006 2:32pm
anonymous coward:
TM Lutas: "By demoting [the Big Bang] from fact to theory, the administration is either being scrupulously neutral or being anti-christian. The latter is, to my mind, extremely unlikely."

But the Bush appointee in question termed failing to quality "Big Bang" with "theory" "...a declaration...about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

Catholics of course have no problem with the Big Bang, but the most literal-minded fundamentalists do.
2.5.2006 2:46pm
volokh watcher (mail):
Charles Chapman mentions the Cole-bomb masterminds escape.

His post did not mention that the other end of the tunnel, according to CBS new's 12 noon broadcast, came out in a mosques.

Those darn mullahs. They just don't seem to know who's digging tunnels under their mosques.
2.5.2006 3:02pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Colts 41 -- "Anyone care to explain how the NSA eavesdropping operation can work in real-time, if the 100s of speakers being monitored simultaneously speak an Arabic dialect and, probably, in some sort of code, and there's no way the NSA has that many employees who could possibly know what's being said in real-time. And what impact does this have, if any, on the administration's factual claims about how this program actually works.

This point was raised by Volokh Watcher at 11:35 am today on Orin's post yesterday about the newstory on Gonzales's expected testimony."

At the risk of the entire Vologh getting zapped and shut down for another 1 1/2 days, allow me to answer your questions with a very well-educated analysis:

I think NSA is using a lot of extremely advanced computers to (for lack of a better word) vaccum-up all the conversations possible (which is almost every conversation), then using voice-recognition technology (see my post on the NSA GONZALES thread) to convert sounds monitored in these infinite number of collected conversations by matching the sounds against the computer's internal dictionary to come up with the "words" spoken, then searching these "wrods" for certain keywords that may profile a terrorist suspect or constitute known code words for terrorist activity, all of which involves only machines (computers) -- and then, and only then, using employees to give what the computers turn up additional scrutiny.

In other words, the employees (humans) do not need to know what is said in real-time (mostly binary anyway) -- the computers accomplish this task. By this proper mix of technolgy and numbers of NSA employees (resource allocation of the type one would study in an MBA class on operations management), the NSA can, indeed, accomplish what you have questioned.

And given such, I think you can read between the lines of what factual claims the Administration has made about how the program works. A lot of it is in what has NOT been said.

The more interesting question is the controvery over whether the Fourth Amendment and FISA are (or should be) implicated when the voice-recognition computer filtering search phase is conducted. I would think the NSA has incorporated artificial intelligence into the voice-recognition process to some extent, although one can only speculate how this is being applied. I think the controversy become even more murky in the context of the possibility some artificial intelligence is coupled with the use of voice-recognition.

I know I get carried away, but I was always an avid science reader, and fascinated by artificial interlligence applications in the area of robotics.
2.5.2006 3:14pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Charles Chapman --"Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11180519/site/newsweek

This is precisely the "hypothetical" I posted in a thread regarding the President's inherent, Article II authority to conduct domestic surveillance without Congressional authorization, without a warrant, and without judicial review.

Then again, University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein opined that the President "would be on less solid legal ground were he to order the killing of a terror suspect in the United States who was not actively preparing an attack."

I guess my next hypothetical will have to be about the President's inherent Article II authority have people skinned alive and then boiled in oil."

I brought this up on nummerous thread as having actually occurred, and also more recently on the NSA GONZALES thread. See my comments there. It is good to hear others have seen this latest Administration claim.
2.5.2006 3:19pm
Tocqueville:
Even the most literal minded fundamentalists have nothing on our good friends in the middle east. Consider a Tale of Two Blasphemies: cartoons depicting Mohammed versus say, Piss-Christ, or the DaVinci Code. Even the most "fundamentalist" Christian (1) never put out a hit on Dan Brown of Andres Serrano, and (2) never set fire to a single structure. They merely voiced their disapproval.

Which is to say that the liberals may have to learn the hard way that the "far right" straw men they demagogue in this country are nothing compared to the real deal in the Middle East.
2.5.2006 3:24pm
MotownJeff (mail):
A quick comment on Bernstein's post about his inability to join the "buy Danish" campaign. If one is to hold a grudge against the Danish workers union for their cancellation of an order from Israel, perhaps he should also recall that the Danish people (i.e, the fathers and mothers and grandparents of the workers union's current membership) (not their King; that story is apocryphal) rescued all but a handful of the Danish Jewish Community from the Shoah, and tended their property for them until they returned from Sweden after the war. The Danes' ledger, vis-a-vis the Jews (assuming arguendo it is not infantile to try to keep such an account), still carries a hefty credit balance.

I lived among these good and deent people as a college student. As a Jew and as an American, I know I can count Denamrk and the Danes among my friends, and I'll be eating lots of Havarti in the months to come.

Skaal.
2.5.2006 3:30pm
LTEC (mail) (www):
Eugene Volokh --

Are you prepared to defend the existence of libel/slander laws? I think a strong argument can be made that they do very little good and cause a huge amount of harm.
2.5.2006 3:38pm
Peter Shalen (mail) (www):
Please consider signing this petition in support of the Danish newspaper
Jyllands Posten.

Peter Shalen
2.5.2006 3:45pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Colts 41,

Allow me to provide more explanation of how this voice-recognition, artifical intelligence, keyword search works. While the below article is in teh call center context, IBM is an NSA contractor according to my father.

"Eavesdropping call centre computers cut talk time
09:30 27 September 2004
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
Duncan Graham-Rowe






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Computer Science, University of Twente
Phone a call centre and you are likely to spend ages on hold listening to canned music – and then find the operator cannot find the information you need. But an artificial intelligence system that hunts down the required information is aiming to slash the time people waste this way.

Using a mixture of speech recognition and search engine technology, the system, being developed by IBM, will trawl a call centre’s databanks for the information a customer wants and present it to the operator before the caller has finished explaining what they want. By giving operators rapid access to the right information, calls will be dealt with faster.

The system works by listening in to the conversation and identifying keywords spoken by the customer. It then flashes up the most relevant information it can find onto the operator’s screen. IBM project leader Johan Schuurmans says an early version of the system allowed calls to be handled about 20% faster than normal.

Call centres often take calls for several clients, perhaps an energy company, a bank and an insurance business. Each operator may have as many as 10,000 pages of product data to choose from. Koen Wolters, a computer scientist at the University of Twente in the Netherlands who helped develop the system, says finding the right page to match a customer’s query can be tough, and the caller frequently has to be put on hold while the operator searches for the relevant information.

Legal warnings
For instance, the AI system will recognise words such as “mortgage”, “repayment” and “interest” and enter them into a search engine dedicated to the call centre’s network. In this case it would retrieve those pages concerning options on interest rates for repayment mortgages.

The speech recognition system can also be used to remind the operator of any aspects of the product that they are legally required to warn the customer about – that not keeping up payments on a mortgage could lead to the loss of the customer’s home, for example. If the system does not “hear” the keywords of that warning the operator will receive a sharp on-screen reminder before the call ends.

The prototype version of the system can search for only a handful of phrases and works only on a PC. But the first commercial version, which will go on trial at a Dutch bank later in September, will be able to detect 1000 keywords and will operate on the centre’s network server.

However, the technology – if it proves itself in the Dutch trial – could also have a downside that consumers may find less welcome: faster access to sales information will give the call centres the ability to make a much harder sell.

In the same way that the system reminds the operator to warn the customer, it will also remind them to “upsell” on behalf of the client – convincing the caller that there are better deals to be had by paying a little more. “It will certainly give a better focus on upselling opportunities,” agrees IBM. So watch out for the techno-assisted hard sell."

available on newscientist.com web site.

One can see where this can be taken.
2.5.2006 3:46pm
WB:
I find it annoying when people say "unable" when they mean "unwilling," and especially when they combine "unable" with "sorry, but."

For example, Bernstein's "Sorry I can't join the 'Buy Danish' Campaign" post.

He's not sorry, and he's not unable. It smacks of self-righteousness and dishonesty when people do that sort of thing.

If he's actually "sorry" and "unable," that means that he is literally under some kind of mind control because of a grudge he bears from 2002 which has taken over his mind. If that's the case, he needs psychological help. If not, he should just make his point without sounding like a gratuitously nasty person.
2.5.2006 4:50pm
WB:
I find it annoying when people say "unable" when they mean "unwilling," and especially when they combine "unable" with "sorry, but."

For example, Bernstein's "Sorry I can't join the 'Buy Danish' Campaign" post.

He's not sorry, and he's not unable. It smacks of self-righteousness and dishonesty when people do that sort of thing.

If he's actually "sorry" and "unable," that means that he is literally under some kind of mind control because of a grudge he bears from 2002 which has taken over his mind. If that's the case, he needs psychological help. If not, he should just make his point without sounding like an a*****e
2.5.2006 4:51pm
JLR (mail):
I don't know if the VC bloggers read this open thread. If the bloggers do not, then hopefully my fellow commenters will join me in this request -- there is strength in employing multiple voices (to use A.O. Hirschman's terminology).

Would it be possible for Professor Volokh and/or any of the other VC bloggers to weigh in on his Davis Enterprise hypothetical on First Amendment protection of newsgathering? The hypothetical can be found here by clicking this link.

The hypothetical can be seen as mirroring First Amendment issues which theoretically pertain to UCLAprofs.com (although the hypothetical can be distinguished). As I have written in the comments thread of the blog post linked to supra, it appears that Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 US 663 (1991) [link here], is a relevant precedent that could be controlling. Justice White writes in his majority opinion that Cohen "is not controlled by [the Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing and Florida Star] line of cases but rather by the equally well-established line of decisions holding that generally applicable laws do not offend the First Amendment simply because their enforcement against the press has incidental effects on its ability to gather and report the news." That other line of cases includes Branzburg v. Hayes and Associated Press v. NLRB.

Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. might very well be controlling, but yet I presume there could be arguments made to distinguish Cohen from the hypothetical. If any of the VC bloggers wish to weigh in, or any commenters wish to weigh in, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
2.5.2006 5:12pm
Tom952 (mail):
Glenn - I think the T-Shirt thing has market potential. How about working on a Kevlar-armored version?
2.5.2006 6:47pm
footnotefour.blogspot.com (mail):
Why is it that the U.S. has forgotten about the area ravaged by Hurrican Katrina? There are still people sleeping in tents six months after the storm because they don't have any where else to go. I think it's sick that the mainstream media have largely left LA and MS behind to fend for themselves. We need to take care of our own before spreading peace and love throughout the world.
2.5.2006 7:20pm
Porkchop (mail):
Just who are these "liberals" that I keep hearing about here?
2.5.2006 10:17pm
Bob Loblaw (www):

"So, Mohammed, Jesus, and Moses walk into a talent agency. . ."
That's a hell of an act. What do you call it?
2.5.2006 11:20pm
Lev:
Jesus saves. Moses invests. Mohammed _______________.
2.5.2006 11:47pm
Jared K.:
Lev-

I'm not sure of the answer, but I feel like it's probably about the West Bank.
2.6.2006 12:41am
Mark F. (mail):
Loblaw: The Aristocrats!
2.6.2006 1:46am
minnie:
I guess my next hypothetical will have to be about the President's inherent Article II authority have people skinned alive and then boiled in oil.

No. That won't work either. Yoo would allow it might sometimes be necessary. You'll have to try harder:)
2.6.2006 1:59am
The Franchise (mail):
In Jan 2001 the trial Court in the Michael Skakel murder case ruled that although the def was 15 yrs old when he was alleged to have committed the crime, the matter was transferred from juv court to adult court because there were no appropriate punishment/rehab facilities for a 42 yr old adult in the juv system in 2001. This ruling was upheld on immediate appeal as not ripe. Skakel was eventually sentenced to 20 yrs in adult prison.

Q1: Was this issue ever finally resolved by the Conn Cts?

Q2: If it was resolved vs Skakel, would someone explain the legal basis.
2.6.2006 3:16am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Why is it that the U.S. has forgotten about the area ravaged by Hurrican Katrina? There are still people sleeping in tents six months after the storm because they don't have any where else to go. I think it's sick that the mainstream media have largely left LA and MS behind to fend for themselves. We need to take care of our own before spreading peace and love throughout the world."

Hey, the U.S. forgot about Florida Hurricane victims from 2004 BEFORE Katrina. MANY people had their loans denied and FEMA told them they were being referred to grants, and then no referral was ever made, so no referral=no ruling=no right of appeal.

Just FORGOTTEN, and Florida Hurricane victims are still living in trailers in Port Charlotte, under blue tarps in Arcadia and by Lake Wales, and many more.

But THERE'S A WAR TO PAY FOR ... AND TAX CUTS TO BE PUSHED THRU
2.6.2006 2:51pm
gramm:
This weekend's Saturday Night Live was the best in years. The show, hosted by Steve Martin, was genuinely funny, and Prince's first performance was what rock superstardom is supposed to look like.
2.6.2006 3:37pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"This weekend's Saturday Night Live was the best in years."

Agree. Millions of years in teh future, era of Star Trek, the Administration is STILL fighting al Qaeda ...
2.6.2006 5:59pm
Uh Nonymous (mail):
Two things: 1) I just watched The Aristocrats, and that was my first thought when I saw the "Mohammed, Jesus, and Moses walk into a talent agency..." joke.

2) I bet Jerry Falwell wishes he could get us fundie Christians as riled up as to burn down a building or put out a hit on Dan Brown or the Piss Christ guy.
2.6.2006 7:56pm
inquiring mind (mail):
My boss--after a trip to australia--told me about the way they vote down there. it seems quite interesting to me and it seems like a much better voting system than we have here. They do "preferential voting." My favorite species of the preferential voting genus is explained at teh following link:



I think this system allows for the peoples votes to be heard more because no one feels like they are throwing their vote away and so people are less likely to vote for what are the lesser of two evils in their mind.

I was hoping for comments on the constitutinality of something like this. I was also wondering if anyone knoew whether any states had goen with a similar voting system.

Hopefully i'm not too late on the post here. Any comments would be appreciated.
2.7.2006 12:27am
inquiring mind (mail):
i don't know how to link on here. just copy and past the below, i guess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucklin_voting

2.7.2006 12:30am
JGR (mail):
I don't think there's any question that preferential voting is a superior form of voting. However, I think that it would be disastrous if America adopted it. The reason I believe this is certainly the sort of thing it's not popular to say. Basically, I think our country has only been saved because certain leaders who are too outside the mainstream to win in a system of preferential voting will still get elected - I am specifically talking about Ronald Reagan. Both Republicans and Democrats have core constituencies which they cannot get elected without, and pushes the candidate to a slightly more right or slightly more left tilt. If this favors a left-wing Democrat getting elected, I would probably think that's unfortunate. But if it favors a more libertarian/Conservative Republican, I think it's great.
Like I said, it's a controversial viewpoint. But then I'm writing from the perspective - IMOH - that if Reagan hadn't won, the whole country would have gone down the tubes, and we might still be fighting the Cold War.
2.8.2006 4:06am