Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Morning Blog

The Obama administration has not-at-all-quietly escalated its efforts in yet another undeclared war. Notably, this has included further assassination attempts against American Anwar al-Awlaki, a man that while almost certainly deserving a killing, remains when all is said and done, an American and thus protected against extra-judicial killings ordered by the executive branch. More on that can and should be read about here:

One can find that view odious and repugnant. One can find it dangerous and frightening. But what one cannot do is dispute that it is pure political speech squarely within the zone of First Amendment protection, as established by Brandenburg. And to punish or kill an American citizen for expressing those views -- which is exactly what the Obama administration is attempting to do with Awlaki -- is a grave assault on core free speech rights (let alone to do so without any judicial process). The Supreme Court, in Claiborne, has also ruled -- unanimously -- that the First Amendment bars imposing liability on someone for the criminal acts "inspired" by their speech (it so ruled when protecting NAACP officials from attempts by the State of Mississippi to hold them liable for the violent acts their fiery speeches inspired on the part of their followers). If one wants to argue that Awlaki's speech falls outside the scope of Brandenburg and Claiborne protections, the place to do that is a courtroom after indicting him, not vesting the President with the power to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Fortunately though, the governments case against a whistleblower at the National Security Administration appears to be collapsing. So much for those campaign promises about transparency and accountability in government.

There is of course, the minor issue of traffic tickets.

Meanwhile, our vacation in sunny Libya continues anon. I note that American military operations are on course to cost hundreds of millions more than previously estimated by the Pentagon. Good thing the government doesn't have to worry about funding "All Things Considered" anymore!

Not just a marital aid anymore, now Viagra helps war crimes. Probably not an association they'll be featuring in any commercials.

Here's another heated conflict, nerd style. Anyone else find it unfortunate that Vietnam is run by a Prime Minister Dung? That's even worse than Weiner.

As soon as we wrap up our war on terror, it might be time to start hunting even more deadly foes. Specifically, lightning bolts.

Shopping for lacy underthings in Saudi Arabia.

Nicely bucking the Chinese trend of a state led economic model, India continues to thrive despite, rather than because of its government. This stands out as a good example of the Indian model:

In Gurgaon, economic growth is often the product of a private sector improvising to overcome the inadequacies of the government.

To compensate for electricity blackouts, Gurgaon’s companies and real estate developers operate massive diesel generators capable of powering small towns. No water? Drill private borewells. No public transportation? Companies employ hundreds of private buses and taxis. Worried about crime? Gurgaon has almost four times as many private security guards as police officers.

That said... Clearly, the Indians still have quite a way to go.

However, I have to give it to them though: Indians throw spectacular weddings. Some time ago an Indian friend of mine went home to get married. He had to get a special permit from the government because his guest list was large enough to be considered a mid-sized village.

Fun news from the coming robot apocalypse: Now the machines know if you're being naughty or nice. Naturally enough, voices aren't the only things being analyzed. Personally, I don't have any positive or negative feelings towards Facebook's facial recognition software. However, it does strike me that Europe's default setting towards the internet seems to be "outrage".

For my Massachusetts people: The Yankees can suck it.

Huh. For some reason, I find myself writing about baseball today, a sport in which I have precisely no interest whatsoever. So maybe I'm missing some of the finer details of the game but I have to ask: Is this guy really the best draft pick?

Forty years of evil bastards.

Hot, XXX action.

2012 Watch: Really? Is there any possible reason to take these people seriously? Honestly...Michelle Bachmann (Turner Overdrive)'s campaign manager endorses her over Sarah Palin basically along the lines of "She's smart and every bit as pretty!" C'mon Republicans...Please, please convince me you can do better than this...

The Economist analyzes what must be done by any serious Republican candidate here.

Regardless, whoever gets the nod will have to have some sort of plan regarding the economy. Here's a quick explanation of how the housing crisis resembles the boom and bust of Batman.

I guess the Catholics aren't doing much better with the personnel they're putting forward. You'd think that the last thing they'd want is to give the impression that they've left a fox guarding the hen house.

Good luck with that, kid. I guess time will tell. He defends his position here.

Everything you ever wanted to know about giant ground sloths.

Kacee Bait: Hey! He likes Kevin McDonald too!

So many questions this chart raises...Most urgently, how is it even possible to spend $1.3 million on erotic fountain pens?

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