August 6, 2007
Spinners and Winners
Another complete breakdown of the Big Lizards machine; but this time we have an excuse -- a massive disk-drive failure that required replacement and which interfered with the smoothly oiled functioning of the reptilian automaton.
We were unable to send in our nominations in time, and the Watcher himself was forced to pore through this site, looking for something to nominate. Astonishingly enough, Mr. Watcher picked the very post that we would have nominated, had we been compos mentos... Miracle on Sand, about the possibilities of civilization in Iraq, if they take hope from winning the Asia Cup -- just as I believe our win against the Soviet Olympic machine in 1980 (the "miracle on ice") gave us the hope to elect Ronald Reagan instead of reelecting Jimmy Carter.
It didn't win, but it had its shot, for which I'm grateful to le Voyeur. But here are the real winners...
- NEA Also Confused About SCOTUS Decision Regarding Race & Schooling, by The Colossus of Rhodey.
Although I liked this post, I actually voted for two others in this category:
- Whose Freedom? What Is Speech?, by Right Wing Nut House;
- Perhaps We Should Dunk the Administrators in the Toilet, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
The first discusses "Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn," who has been charged with two felony counts of "hate speech" for throwing a pair of Korans in the toilet (one felony charge for each insulted Koran, one presumes).
This raises extraordinarily disturbing questions about freedom of speech: It's bad enough to punish, say, a violent assault more severely if done out of unacceptable hatred -- say, for a person's race or religion -- rather than for an acceptable hatred, such as rage at being dumped by one's girlfriend.
But in this case, the only crime other than hatred, theft of the Korans, was not only a misdemeanor, but its victim -- Pace University in New York -- was not even Moslem, hence not the target of the hatred. Shmulevich has, in fact, been charged with a felony solely for insulting Islam... something one would expect in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, not New York. And just as in a Moslem country, I, at least, have the disturbing feeling that the district attorney would never have charged him with a felony for flushing the holy book of a false religion... like Judaism or Christianity. This piece came in second in the Watcher's contest.
The second post discusses the same issue, as you probably deduced from the title; but in Laer's piece, he focuses on the reaction of the university itself... which has decided to force its students to undergo Islamic sensitivity training! We were the only ones to vote for this one; but that may have been because other voters picked between them, since the subjects were so similar.
- Baghdad Raid Night, by MIchael J. Totten.
This sort of nominee is always popular; but I look for a unique, original view when I vote, not simple reportage. Ergo, I voted thus:
In the first, Eric begins by quoting a Volokh contributer for a pair of definitions: "[T]here are two general ways to increase your wealth: by creating things people want, or by fighting over prizes that already exist -- things other people have created or found."
Eric then considers the taxonomy of lawyers and notes that they fall out on both sides of the definition: Most attorneys make very good money; but some actually contribute to society and the rights of the individual (prosecutors who put criminals behind bars, defense attorneys who defend potentially innocent people, lawyers who specialize in drawing up mergers or wills or other vital documents). While others make their fortunes by looting the innocent or society itself (the examples are mine, not Eric's):
- They sue businesses they know are innocent but will be so frightened of being dragged into court they'll pay extortion (John Edwards, environmentalist lawyers, OSHA lawyers);
- They prosecute the innocent in order to get reelected (Mike Nifong, the DAs who prosecuted the raft of day-care molestation cases some years ago);
- They defend clients who are almost certainly guilty -- no problem so far -- but they get them acquitted by patently unjust antics, such as repeatedly interrupting the prosecutor's summation so that jurors lose track of the argument; by putting on bogus expert witnesses to testify falsely, playing to the jurors' bigotry; and by deliberately confusing jurors by misleading comments about the evidence (Johnnie Cochran, Barry Scheck, Robert Shapiro, et al, who got O.J. Simpson acquitted by spinning a fantasy of massive police fraud with no foundation whatsoever -- and their counterparts in the 1950s and 60s, who got Ku Klux Klansmen acquitted of lynching charges by inflaming racial hatred in white juries);
- They're employed by the Mafia or by terrorist groups to get as many evil thugs acquitted as possible (lawyers at CAIR, Bruce Cutler -- a.k.a., "house counsel to the Gambino crime family," and so forth).
I love a good anti-lawyer rant, so I voted for this in the number-one slot. Others must have agreed, because it came in number two.
The second post highlights the astonishing statement by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC, 95%) that all the good news coming now from Iraq, if it causes the Republicans to unite, "would be a problem for us."
On the one hand, it's obvious; Clyburn means it would be a big problem for Democrats if Republicans were more united. But on the other hand, if we strip out the middleman, Clyburn admits that success in Iraq is a problem for Democrats. Thus, they have managed to become invested in military failure for the United States... a remarkable feat for any political party that hopes to compete on the national stage!
The full, final, and feral findings
As it ever was, you can "read all about it" here.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 6, 2007, at the time of 2:54 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/2316
The following hissed in response by: Laer
Thanks, Dafydd ... I was wondering where that one vote came from.
The above hissed in response by: Laer at August 6, 2007 9:20 PM
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