October 31, 2005

Take The Hewitt Poll

Take the Hugh Hewitt poll on Judge Alito.

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MNF Pick, Week 8

Tonight, Pittsburgh hosts Baltimore. The line started out at 7½ points and is now inflated to 11½ points.

i always have trouble with big spreads on Monday night. Even with a sucky team like Baltimore, you know they don't want to embarrass themselves in front of half the country. But they're missing two key defensive starters, and Roethlisberger is back for Pittsburgh. i expect him to regain his pre-week 6 form tonight.

But will the Steelers cover the big spread? Looking at Baltimore's previous losses, you'll find: a 14 point loss to Indy, a 15 point loss to sucky Tennessee, an 18 point loss to suckier Detroit, and Chicago held them to two field goals last week.

So with the overconfident air that i've adopted this season, i'm absolutely reasonably certain that Pittsburgh will probably cover the spread. Take the Steelers and laugh at the suckers later.

Update: Nobody likes to get embarrassed on MNF. i should always go with my first impulse.

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October 30, 2005

Talking About Scooter

i apologize for not blogging much lately. i have been very busy, spending almost all of my waking time trying to care about the whole Scooter indictment. So far i have been unsuccessful.

Yesterday, in a desperate effort to make myself care, i attached this picture to a device i invented, so that i could look at it all day long. That didn't work, and in fact was more of a distraction than i intended.

Later on, i picked up the New York Times and scanned the three stories above the fold. i looked at the first story, which began with something like: Lewis Libby was indicted. Then i went to the second story which said Lewis Libby was indicted. Then i tried the third story, which talked about Lewis Libby being indicted. Then i looked at the... well, you get the picture. i thought, "what the hell?" There was nothing on there about any Scooter! If the New York Times doesn't care enough about the story to put it on their front page, why should i care?

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My Blog Is Worth...

Any takers?

My blog is worth $305,980.68.
How much is your blog worth?

It must be my Sacramento location.

Via Old Skool at Stop the Bleating.

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October 27, 2005

Always Thinking Outside The Box

Everybody always talks about building a better mousetrap. Why don't we just build a worse mouse?

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October 26, 2005

Invasion Blogging

Swamp fishing for a giant golden spermatozoon?

i gave this show its one chance, and it failed miserably.

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Miers: My End-Game Opinion

Earlier, i posted my preliminary opinion on the Miers nomination. At the time i fully expected the controversy to die down, although i was mildly disappointed with the choice. Or rather, i was more disappointed with the fact that Bush had chosen not to nominate one of my preferred candidates, instead opting for another apparent stealth nominee.

Over three weeks have passed, and i've watched and listened as the controversy refused to die. This story has had "legs," in the news parlance of the day. And the more i learned about Miers, the less willing i have been to close my eyes and hope for the best. Now, i am ready to commit to a side in this debate. It shouldn't be a surprise, given my background as a conservative with a history degree, that i have decided to oppose the confirmation of Harriet Miers as Supreme Court justice. My reasons have little to do with ideology.

Many reasons to oppose her confirmation have been proffered by conservative pundits much more knowledgeable than i am. These reasons seem to fall into a few broad categories. One group is mad because she isn't a big name judge. These folks are mad because they expected Luttig or Brown or Pryor. i can understand this criticism. i wanted McConnell or Brown. i still don't understand why Kozinski's name wasn't batted around more often. But i could have lived with my disappointment if Miers had been a good choice, and i think most conservatives feel the same way.

Another group is mad because Miers lacks a clear "judicial philosophy." The most articulate spokesman for this point of view is Mark R. Levin, who's turned the phrase " . . . but what's her judicial philosophy?" into a kind of mantra. This criticism has a lot of merit, in my view. i think it's fair to suspect that a person who has shown no evidence of having a coherent underlying approach to constitutional issues probably does not have such an underlying approach. At age 60, it's a little late to expect Ms. Miers to start developing a useful judicial philosophy if she hasn't given much thought to it before now.

Still, i'd be willing to give Ms. Miers the benefit of the doubt on the judicial philosophy question if that were my only objection. It's quite possible that despite the scant evidence of any coherent philosophy, she might actually have one. The trouble is, we don't know what it is. Larry Tribe and Erwin Chemerinsky have coherent judicial philosophies, but woe unto us if they were ever placed on the court. At least Tribe's and Chemerinsky's viewpoints are well known, as are their towering intellects. Which brings me to my next point, which is the clincher.

i'm not saying that Harriet Miers is not smart. Her background, education and experience proves to me that she is. But the position of associate justice on today's Supreme Court is not a job for just any smart person. It's a highly specialized occupation, and those who say it's not a place for "on-the-job training" have it absolutely right.

i am certainly no expert on constitutional law, although i have studied it in more detail than most people my age, both as a law student and in undergrad and graduate history courses. i know enough to know what i don't know. It is perhaps the most difficult area of law, not because it surpasses the intricate detail of a subject like tax or securities law, but because it is so malleable and its standards can be so hard to define. Con law is the "big leagues" of the legal profession. And doing con law as a Supreme Court justice is like being in the World Series. You have to be on your game at all times. You have to be the best of the best to do it right, and if you're not, it will become painfully obvious to knowledgeable observers very quickly.

i think that is the problem when non-lawyers like President Bush try to make decisions concerning the legal world. Most non-lawyers i've met seem to think that all lawyers know everything about all fields of law. No one would think to ask a dermatologist questions about spinal surgery. Yet Miers supporters are quick to assume that a corporate lawyer could easily slip into the role of constitutional scholar overnight.

i don't care that Miers has been at the White House for almost five years. That's not the same thing as spending a lifetime thinking about constitutional issues and the development of precedent from year to year and case to case. That's what con law is all about. It's analyzing precedent, history, argument and policy, then trying to extrapolate the potential reverberating effects of a ruling on future transactions, often for generations to come. Con law is to regular legal practice as Chess is to checkers.

Think about a guy like Mike McConnell, for instance. i've spent many hours this semester dissecting his various Establishment Clause articles, most notably his William and Mary Law Review piece (44 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 2105), which is heavily footnoted, dense and unquestionably essential reading no matter what side of the religious argument you are on. i'm nowhere close to getting a handle on the subject. Here's a guy who's thought about this shit for years. He likes thinking about this shit. You could say the same thing about Prof. Tribe, if you're a liberal. Is there any evidence that Ms. Miers is similarly up to speed on even one subject of constitutional law?

So what if she's not up to speed? Why does that matter? i'll tell you why. An effective Supreme Court justice must have the power of persuasion. If the other justices do not have confidence in her mastery of the subject matter, in her authority as an analyst of the case law in question, they will eat her alive. At this point, i see no evidence that Ms. Miers has the kind of background that will give her that kind of persuasive authority. In fact, i have seen discouraging murmurs that she lacks just that.

How many Supreme Court opinions has she read top to bottom, and understood? It's hard to believe, with her busy career, that she's had the time for that kind of recreational study. If she's confirmed, when is she going to find the time then? i remember my first month of law school. In my nightly reading, i came across so many unfamiliar words and concepts that i was constantly going into Black's Dictionary to look things up. It was a nightmare. i've since learned how to skim the cases just to get through the reading, but that's not something i want my Supreme Court justices doing.

Oh sure, she can have her clerks do the heavy lifting. But in this day and age, i don't want unaccountable idealistic twenty year olds who were basically the best ass-kissers in law school leading around the new justice by her nose. There are plenty of historical examples of Supreme Court justices who relied overly much on their law clerks, but that was never a good thing. And today, the scariest issues are much scarier than they ever were back in the day. Terrorists who can blow up entire cities, scientists who can condemn millions more unborn lives to death, those are just two examples. This is a game best left to the pros.

i'm planning to watch the confirmation hearings, assuming she doesn't withdraw before then. i'm willing to keep an open mind, but unfortunately Ms. Miers has an even tougher job than Justice Roberts had. She must be absolutely stellar at the hearings, because she has to change minds. i know the White House has been working hard to prepare her, but i'd be very surprised if she can pull it off. Very surprised.

Update: You're freakin kidding me?! i told you the president reads my blog.

Update 2: i heard Dick Durbin this morning say, "this was not about documents, it was about Dobson." What an ignoramus. Dobson was one of Miers's earliest supporters, you moron.

And Hewitt's afraid we might lose to these guys?!

Update 3: The Anchoress, who correctly predicted the Miers nomination ahead of time, now turns her clairvoyant powers toward Ted Olsen. i see one problem that should prevent an Olsen nomination: a little case for which he represented the president once upon a time. Bush v. Gore. An Olsen nomination would be spun as a belated quid pro quo, fairly or not. Who needs that aggravation on top of everything else?

Let me go on record now and reiterate that McConnell is my first choice, J.R. Brown my second.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

By Rita Dove, here's a timely poem:


How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.

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October 25, 2005

Breaking News



With a collective sigh of orgasmic release, the US Media today celebrated the 2000th military death since the beggining of the Iraq War. In the past week or so, you could almost feel the tension mounting as various anti-American news outlets such as CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC finalized their preparations for today's festivities.

Media hopes are high for a multi-orgasmic week, with many journalists openly speculating that Karl Rove may be indicted before the weekend.

"I haven't felt this good since we hit 1000 dead guys," said one giddy newsanchor, who chose to remain anonymous. "People around the newsroom are positively glowing today. And if Rove gets it, man, I'm gonna need a cigarette. Whew."

In a related story, something or other happened with some election they had over there recently.

Developing . . .

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If WWII Had Had A Chat Room

On this blog, i once lamented the way we teach history in this country. i haven't figured out a solution, but i think it should probably include a chat room.

Click on the link, it's funny. Here's an excerpt, which explains the origins of the Cold War in teen friendly language:

*tru_m4n has joined the game.*
tru_m4n: hi all
T0J0: hey
Stalin: sup
Churchill: hi
tru_m4n: OMG OMG OMG i got all his stuff!
tru_m4n: NUKES! HOLY **** I GOT NUKES
Stalin: d00d gimmie some plz
tru_m4n: no way i only got like a couple
Stalin: omg dont be gay gimmie nuculer secrets
T0J0: wtf is nukes?
T0J0: holy ****holy****hoyl****!
*T0J0 has been eliminated.*
*The Allied team has won the game!*
Eisenhower: awesome!
Churchill: gg noobs no re
T0J0: thats bull**** u fockin suck
*T0J0 has left the game.*
*Eisenhower has left the game.*
Stalin: next game im not going to be on ur team, u guys didnt help me for ****
Churchill: wutever, we didnt need ur help neway dumbarss
tru_m4n: l8r all
benny~tow: bye
Churchill: l8r
Stalin: fock u all
tru_m4n: shut up commie lol
Isn't that pretty close to the way it happened?

Via Rocket Jones &c.

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October 24, 2005

MNF Pick, Week 7

Last week was my bye week, so i'm coming back well rested and with a sure thing, no brainer pick.

Tonight, the Falcons, who i hate, are playing the Jets, who i kind of like even though their quarterback is my least favorite QB of all time, Vinnie "INT" Testaverde. The Falcons are at home and favored by 7½ points.

The Falcons are overrated. They survived with a win over the Saints last week, but they should really be a 3-3 team. The Jets however, are not overrated. Everyone knows they suck. It should be a rout tonight, so take the Falcons minus the points and laugh at the suckers later.

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Greenspan Successor Prediction

On Mondays, it's customary for me to make predictions. Bush is about to name Alan Greenspan's successor today, so here's my prediction:

Bush will name Zahira Zahir as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

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October 20, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

Is it me, or does Zenthrura sound like the stupidest fucking idea for a movie you've ever heard?

And it got made?! My rabbits in space idea is like ten times better.

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Things A Law Student Knows

Vibrators are illegal in eight states.

(Hey, i'm a law student. i'm supposed to know all about laws and shit.)

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If Dogs Wrote Haiku

woof woof woof woof woof
woof woof woof woof woof woof woof
woof woof woof woof woof

Think about it.

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annika's journal Exclusive



Okay stay with me on this. Harriet Miers was on some lottery commission, right? And pretty soon she'll need a bunch of senators to vote for her so she can get on the Supreme Court, right? And some people who are against her nomination are Republicans, right? And yesterday, a Republican senator won $853,492 in the Powerball lottery, right? See where i'm going with this?

i demand an investigation. i'm not saying there's been any wrongdoing, i'm just saying that these facts raise questions.

Developing . . .

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October 19, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here's a classic American poem from 1888, which you all should know.

Casey At The Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped–
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the sphereoid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville ― mighty Casey has struck out.

Go Astros!

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Idea For Martha

How about letting the teams re-design Martha's bangs?

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My New Least Favorite Commercial

Ameriprise Financial.

Oooh look at the old hippie-turned-yuppie. He still surfs and drives a VW bus. Groovy.

Buncha freakin clueless narcissistic hypocrites. i guess they don't want my business.

Update: Am i alone? i don't think so. Here's another.

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October 18, 2005

MLBloggers Fantasy League Final Results

mlbresults.gifWell, the baseball season is now weeks over, and the Fall Classic is almost ready to start. i think sufficient time has passed and my embarrassment has waned enough for me to post about the final standings in my own fantasy baseball league, MLBloggers.

i started the league last spring and nine other fine bloggers signed up to play. i quickly plummeted to the bottom of the standings, where i stayed pretty much from wire to wire. But here are the final results:

Greg of The End Zone had Hank's Homey's, and finished in first place. Congratulations Greg! You now win the coveted annika's journal fantasy baseball memorial stein. As soon as i design and manufacture it. This is Greg's second annika's journal contest win. You might remember that he won the infamous Joe Don Baker haiku contest back in September '04. Interestingly, Greg says he had no experience in haiku or fantasy baseball before entering either contest. Greg, you might want to try tackling world hunger next. Give it a shot.

The Maximum Leader of Nakedvillainy came in second.

Paul of the now defunct Sanity's Edge came in third. He has returned to blogging, by the way.

Munuviana's elder statesman, Ted of Rocket Jones finished in fourth place, even though he's not a baseball fan.

Dawn Summers of Clareified came in fifth place with her East Coco Beach Metropolitans.

The Biloxi Turds of Matt from Irreverent Probity came in sixth.

Victor's Windbreakers finished seventh.

Resurrection Song's Zombyboy finished eighth with his Zombyesque Zombies.

And Physics Geek of Physics Geek finished ninth with his Physics Geeks;

And finally, there's my own annika's A's in last place.

Thanks to everyone for playing.

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