Saturday, May 31, 2008

Too good to be true?

From Reuters via hilzoy:

During a fund-raiser in Denver, Obama — a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School — was asked what he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.

“I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution,” said Obama

Obviously this appeals to me, because it is probably the first thing I would do if I were elected president. The question then becomes: (1) does he mean it? and (2) will he follow through on it?

I would like to believe he means it. His background as a ConLaw professor makes it more likely.

But even if he means it right now, it is easy to suppose that once he is in office he may hesitate or change his mind entirely. Anyone stepping into a position of virtually unlimited power, I would imagine, finds it a difficult choice to give up substantial elements of that power, especially if he or she sees themselves as an honorable steward who is unlikely to abuse them.

All of this remains to be seen. But the simple fact that Obama is thinking about this, and willing to state it publicly, is itself a reason for optimism. I seriously doubt you will hear either of the other two remaining candidates expressing such an idea.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Conclusive proof that "asshattery" should be an actual word

Via The Agitator:

Town refuses occupancy permit for another unmarried couple.

My first thought was: what the hell is an "occupancy permit"? But having in the past briefly and reluctantly dabbled in real estate law, I remember that such a permit is sometimes required, typically w/r/t commercial properties, prior to allowing tenants to take possession of a property that has recently been constructed (or remodeled). This neat bit of nanny-state regulation is -- ostensibly -- for the purposes of assuring the safety and general occupability of the property for the tenants. I suspect its real purpose in many jurisdictions is to provide an opportunity for some petty graft by low-to-mid-level bureaucrats.

But the City of Black Jack, MO, whose website was apparently created by dozens of monkeys randomly typing bits of HTML code, has found a more novel use for the occupancy permit: refusing to bestow the honor of residency upon undesirables. Undesirables being defined, in this case, as people who choose to cohabitate without the benefit of marriage.

Putting aside the obvious question of why anyone in their right mind would want to live in an antediluvian backwater populated by sanctimonious asshats, let's examine the City's publicly stated justification for their self-evident imbecility:

The purpose of these occupancy permit laws generally is to:
avoid overcrowding by non-related parties,

[But of course overcrowding by related parties is perfectly ok.]

assure the lifelong maintenance of the cities housing stock,

[Aside from the ridiculous spelling error, does anyone have the slightest idea what the fuck this means?]

prevent new buyers from being obligated to repair residences that were not kept up to code,

[Because this goal could not be achieved by the "new buyers" engaging a duly licensed property inspector (as required by a mortgage lender or homeowners' insurance provider), or by, you know, going into the house they're about to purchase and looking around real good. And it certainly cannot be achieved without the proper degree of focus being placed on the familial status of the potential residents.]

preserve the character of the neighborhoods and the City

[Because, naturally, "character" can only be established by verifying that new residents have had their sex lives sanctioned by law and/or clergy.]

and to protect the general safety and welfare of the City’s residents.

[As always, every stupid fucking law on the books must have the obligatory "safety" justification thrown in for good measure, even where (or maybe especially where) it has no conceivable relevance or application whatsoever. Can you imagine going into court and arguing that an unmarried couple is somehow less safe to "the City's residents" than a married couple? Absurd.]

Fortunately, the ACLU has, with respect to the previous, similar incident alluded to in the headline above, filed a federal lawsuit that will, if successful, turn the City of Black Jack, its league of small and ignorant bureaucrats, and their entire community into a flat, smoking abrasion in the earth's crust.

UPDATE: I notice that the news article first linked above contains the following: "The city attorney says he’s willing to fight for the ordinance in court." I'm sure this is exactly what this guy had in mind when he chose a career in law and spent all of those long hours sitting in boring lectures, pulling all-nighters prepping for law school finals, studying for the bar, etc. He must be very proud that his 7+ years of upper level education has put him in the position of going into court and fighting for the right of a bunch of troglodytes to discriminate against people who don't quite meet their insanely stupid idea of what constitutes "character". Does he really need work badly enough to actually do this? I hope not, because that would be... something beyond pathetic that I can't think of a word for right now.

UPDATE II: For those of you still checking this site every now and then, yeah I know I've barely posted anything in the last month. I'm kinda burned out on blogging for the time being. Plus, it's Summer, and I've got a pool, a grill, and a blender.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a few minor ramblings

1. Iron Man kicks ass. Is the guy who directed it really the mealy-mouthed pussy from Swingers? Can that even be possible?

2. Every weekday without fail I read the on-target takedowns of the Bush Gang from Dan Froomkin at It's always 5 pages of bloggy goodness, but today's was particularly splendid, as it detailed the fallout from The Chimp's "I stopped golfing to support the troops" comment.

3. But also, every day he has a rundown of the previous day's political cartoons. Like these two, just for example. Which makes me wonder, are there right-wing political cartoonists? What do they make fun of? Do they depict His Chimpness as a dignified, forthright, justice-seeking head of state? If so, how is that done? How is it made to be comical? Because most of the cartoons I've seen depict him as a tiny little guy, usually placed next to a 3x size Dick Cheney for scale, like a grow-challenged little Napoleon, mewling around like a kitten that's been separated from its mama cat and doesn't know what to do. That's funny, and appropriate, and I just can't imagine how else he could be portrayed at this point.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Regretfully having returned from pleasanter climes...

wherein I was once again reminded that Allie Fox was indeed correct.

A note to all third word developing nations wishing to join the first rank of the developed world, or at least to make themselves into -- or keep their status as -- tourist meccas for first worlders: Ice. Ice and refrigeration.

Water served with dinner should contain ice. "Iced Tea" should contain ice. A glass of orange juice should be served cold. Beer should be served cold to the point of being 0.1 degree above its freezing point.

For resort hotels located in tropical climates, ice machines are not a luxury. Neither are they expensive or difficult to procure. Perhaps the small sum needed to acquire several of them could be found within your massively gigantic landscaping budget.

Just trying to help.