Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Night Wine Blogging

Castle Rock - Pinot Noir 2003

Needs a little more age, but the aroma was oakey cherry & it's a little too dry, and less than medium bodied. I think it has potential; I might get some and leave them, but it might open up. - G.H.Y.

Monday, January 23, 2006

1 down, 3 to go

Was consumed this weekend watching 10 hours of the Ring Cycle in 2 days, so monthly update a bit late.

If Bush really only has 2½ years in his second term (read that ascribed to Bush/Rove), then 40% of his effective second term has already passed, and time won't slow up for him.

The biggest news of course is the Alito hearings, which will have a subtler effect than folks are now imagining. Obviously Kelo v. New London will not be overturned, nor will Raich v. Ashcroft. Happily, Gonzales v. Oregon will not have to be overturned. Part of the problem in making predictions is the inconsistency in the court members - once again quoting David Bernstein

It seems we do to some extent live under a system where the personal preferences of the Justices, having nothing to do with the history, text, or logic of the Constitution, dictate when the Supreme Court will or will not intervene to overturn particular regulations.

In both the medical marijuana & assisted suicide cases, Scalia voted against states' rights. Only O'Connor voted for states' rights in both cases. Have read some comments (can't remember which posting) that Thomas only voted for Gonzales because he was angry about the contradiction with Raich. Sounds petulant to vote against your true beliefs, but I can believe it. Have noticed that in the three cases above, Thomas wrote his own dissent - seems that both Scalia & Thomas are obsessed with caustic dissents. Roberts in his first important case voted against states' rights and for the executive branch. Not a promising initial vote.

Back to my usual metrics:

What has surprised me about Bush is his priorities. After Social Security hit the rocks, his priority seemed to be immigration plan, which his own party opposes. Actually I'm not sure of what Bush's priority is. Pass Patriot Act? Toss a bone to the anti-abortionists? Doesn't seem to be a top priority to his legislative agenda or even his presidency today.

Wagers? Nothing really to update. OBL is still putting out tapes; no draft on the horizon; our troop levels in Iraq are still above 100,000 with no inkling that they will decrease until some political wangling by the new government is completed; Hillary's latest snafu stirred up the usual dust.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Night Wine Blogging (a return to routine)

Zinfandel - 2002
Marc Cellars

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not the post I meant to write

This next song's dedicated to all y'all Yats
who stayed in New Orleans
who couldn't make it back to New Orleans
who made it back
to those who didn't make it at all

Was going to write about Ashcroft v. Oregon or Seitan gumbo or reply to Trans's progeny dialogue or my long delayed answer to Tigerhawk's answer to Steven Den Beste, but became too choked up thinking of my hometown.

p.s. Seitan is a fine substitute for shrimp or gumbo and made for a fine belated Christmas repast.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Night Wine Blogging (Redux edition)

Ginger Haired Yank wanted to know if it was acceptable to blog the same type of wine twice. I pointed out that I've seen the same cats blogged numerous times from Drum & Atrios, so Rosemount Estates Shiraz 2003 is worthy of a repeat posting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Replies to Timothy Sandefur

Matt Welch started a 10 questions for pro-war libertarians, and was then answered by Timothy Sandefur who asked for other blogs to answer & reply. This is always a fun exercise, so here are my replies.

1) When, if ever, is preemptive war is justified?
Never. I'm using "Relating to or constituting a military strike made so as to gain the advantage when an enemy strike is believed to be imminent" as my definition and basing my answer on the knowledge that the last time we actually faced such a situation was WWII.

2) When, if ever, is the United States justified in removing a foreign dictator from power?
In the event of genocide, e.g. Saddam and the Kurds; Milosovec and the Muslims in Bosnia.

3) Do you agree with the position recently quoted approvingly on this blog by Dr. Kuznicki that Islamic terrorism is not a serious threat, but a hobgoblin used by the Bush Administration to increase its authority?
I believe it's both a serious threat and a hobgoblin used by the Bush Administration.

4) Precisely what (if anything) do you propose the United States do about the Iranian nuclear weapons program?
I have no proposals. Believe that Iran will engage in "strategic ambiguity" similar to what Israel now uses (we have them - we both know it, but we'll never admit it or use them). While I feel uneasy about Iran having nuclear weapons, I don't agree with going to war with them, or attempting surgical strike.

5) Do you believe that the United States should defend Israel, either militarily, by the sale of arms, or in other ways (please specify)?
I have no problem with selling Israel weapons. I am in favour of ending foreign aid though - Israel will survive the loss of our $4bn/annum, but will face some tough budget choices. Israel is fully capable of defending itself - they survived an attack by Jordanian, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi back in 1948 when the US was not helping them; and now they have a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan and no realistic expectation of being attacked by anyone besides the Palestinians, who do not pose a serious threat to Israel's existence.

6) Can you name a specific case in which an American dissenter, not actually affiliated with a terrorist organization, has been jailed or otherwise deprived of civil rights under the PATRIOT Act?

7) Do you believe that we ought to remove American troops from Iraq immediately, regardless of the consequences to Iraqis?
Yes. I believe the US is now more of a source of instability than stability. Arabs from other nations (for the most part) would not go to fight in Iraq were the US not there. To be honest, a 6-month withdrawal schedule would be better, so my true answer is closer to "No, but we should state a timeline immediately."

8) With regard to interrogation or incarceration: do you believe that infringements of religious sensitivities (e.g., mistreating the Koran) or personal sensibilities (e.g., making men wear women's underwear on their heads) ought to be regarded as comparable with physical torture?

9) What, if any, legal consequences do you believe flow from a declaration of war?
A broad question, but not sure of its relevance since there has not been a declaration of war since WWII. Believe that our nation would be better suited if we did not go to war without the declaration, and that Congress instead of authorizing force (e.g. Vietnam, Beirut, GWII), should declare war if the country does wish to go to war.

10) Do you believe that the Bush Administration purposely manipulated intelligence information in order to persuade the Congress to authorize military intervention in Iraq?

I guess this exercise can be repeated ad infinitum, but the immediate questions that I would pose back are:

1) Do you agree with Padilla denied the right to see a lawyer after his arrest?
2) Do you believe that he should be allowed bail now?
3) Do you believe that all prisoners in Guantanamo should have been vetted by now and either charged or released?
4) Do you agree with keeping bases in Uzbekistan?
5) Do you think that we should end foreign aid to Israel & Egypt?
6) If you were in favour of going to war with Iraq was it because you honestly thought that Saddam's NBC weaponry posed a threat to the US, or because of human rights reasons, or because the "Democratic Domino" belief - forcing Iraq to convert to a democracy would have a cascading effect on the region. Please choose 1 as being the most important to you.
7) Do you believe that the IRC should have the right to see any prisoner held by the US military or CIA?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Night Wine Blogging (the new year edition)

Robert Mondavi - Zinfandel (2002)

Happy to be back!

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