As the world turns


Well okay, it is, but it’s also Johnny Cash. The Red Headed Stranger and Snoop Dogg recently cut a tribute single to Johnny Cash called, “My Medicine,” which of course refers to a certain type of “medicine” mainly prescribed in California.

Earlier this summer, Snoop Dogg joined Willie on stage in—where else—Amsterdam for a duet of Willie’s newest song, “Superman.”

Willie Way is a broad avenue indeed.

Thx to Stereohyped

Now that\'s zealous advocacyAnd now looking like a sane person

Covington & Burlington (former) partner David Remes submitted his letter of resignation this past Friday after making worldwide headlines (which generously noted his firm affiliation) for dropping his pants to reveal his stylish tighty-whities in Yemen–of all places.

Remes apparently pulled the disrobing stunt to somehow show mistreatment of prisoners at GitMo (the indefatigable “liar, liar, pants on fire” defense perhaps?), but may have just wound up mistreating every unfortunate soul who can never forget the sight of him in his underpants.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog

Amazing

Sixty-four years ago today, on D-Day, our troops stormed the Normandy beaches and began the brutal assault on Hitler’s hold on Europe.

Horrific

President Eisenhower‘s message to the troops on June 6:

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thx to Newsbusters, Ace of Spades, Dave in Texas, and the News Buckit

The good guys

Because we’ve covered how some counsel for 9/11-affected insurers pursued a sanctionable and despicable course of conduct in order to avoid paying claims arising from the horrific attacks, we’re pleased to bring you a story of one law firm that has manifestly done the right thing by both its insurer clients and the country.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a fascinating couplet of articles chronicling Cozen O’Connor‘s groundbreaking lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for tort liability arising from the sovereign’s alleged complicity in–and even direct support of–the 9/11 attacks

Part one of the series documents some of the key assertions in the suit “missed not only by the 9/11 Commission but also by Congress in its investigations”, including:

Senior Saudi officials and members of the royal family or their representatives served as executives or board members of the suspect charities when they were financing al-Qaeda operations. Overall, the Saudi government substantially controlled and financed the charities, the lawsuit alleges.

The charities laundered millions of dollars, some from the Saudi government, into al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and provided weapons, false travel and employment documents, and safe houses.

Regional offices of the charities employed, in senior positions, al-Qaeda operatives who helped coordinate support for terror cells.

Part two details how the suit—brought under the auspices of the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)—alleges the “Saudi government and members of the royal family engaged in conduct that breached the standards of normal government activities when they supported Islamist charities that funded extremist groups.” By acting outside the statutory standards of conduct the suit contends, the Saudi government and royal defendants made themselves liable under the FSIA.

The Cozen plaintiffs are currently awaiting a Second Circuit decision that will decide whether the earlier dismissal of Saudi government and royals as defendants was proper. However, “[e]ven if Cozen loses the appeal and the Saudis retain immunity, U.S. District Judge Richard Conway Casey ruled that there is enough evidence to proceed against several Islamist charities, banks, and alleged terrorism financiers named in the lawsuit.”

Thx to How Appealing and the Philadelphia Inquirer

Glad he's on our side

This past weekend, I finally sat down to watch Frontline‘s recent, two-part report on the lead-up to and the conduct of the war in Iraq. Despite Frontline‘s well-earned reputation for being left-leaning, the report itself was very well done and comprehensive, including interviews with almost every single person of note both within and without the Bush Administration. The interplay between the Administration heavyweights is enthralling, and the documentary does a great job of providing the contextual background to each person’s strongly-held views. Even realizing the documentary has a political agenda, any viewer (including one as avowedly conservative as myself) can learn a lot from this report.

I found Part I, which covers the period of time from 9/11, through the CIA‘s war in Afghanistan, to the beginning of the fighting in Iraq, to be the most enlightening. It is fascinating to watch how the whole of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus was drastically and immediately changed by 9/11, from being perennially cemented in a defensive posture, to a proactive, “kick a[$$]” footing.

Part I also delves into the flawed intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq, but curiously fails to include the intelligence reports that actually did turn out to be accurate, as recently published by the Institute for Defense Analyses after reviewing some 600,000 Pentagon documents.

Part II delves into all the different players and chapters of the Iraq war, giving noticeably short shrift to the recent success of the “surge.” However, it is a very thorough recounting of the ebbs and flows in the Iraq War and provides background information on many familiar events of which I was unaware. Recommended viewing all around.

I thought the most intriguing interviews were those in Part I of the CIA guys, including Cofer Black (who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center from 1999 to 2002), Gary Berntsen (a CIA field officer who was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Star for commanding a team of CIA and special forces during the war in Afghanistan in 2001), Michael Scheuer (chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden Desk from 1995 to 1999 and headed an internal CIA investigation into the allegations of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda), and Gary Schroen (CIA operator who was chosen soon after 9/11 to lead the first trip into northern Afghanistan to connect with leaders of the Northern Alliance, offer money, equipment and political support), who detail how the CIA went immediately into Afghanistan after 9/11 and began to bring the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

“You[, (Black),] have a personal involvement with Al Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden. The way the story goes, he tried to kill you …. Tell me a little bit of that story.”

They thought I was the target; actually, I was the hunter, and we turned it on them (snaps fingers) like that. And when they had their chance, they ran home to Mama.

Black, on his immediate thoughts after learning of the 9/11 attacks that morning:

We are now in a situation where we’ll no longer be like the junkyard dog staked to the ground, … and that our capabilities were going to be unleashed and realized.

Schroen, on the orders he received from Black on September 13, 2001:

He basically said to me: “I want to make it clear what your real job is. All these other things — linking up with the Northern Alliance, preparing the battlefield, helping the special forces get in or whatever happens — is fine. But once the Taliban are broken, your job is to find bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back on ice.”

Scheuer, quoting Black’s directives regarding Al Qaeda:

“We’re going to put their heads on pikes. And we want flies crossing–crawling across their dead eyes.”

Berntsen, describing the orders he received from Black around September 15, 2001:

One-third of your men will die. Be prepared for that. I accept it; you need to accept it and proceed aggressively. I want you killing the enemy in 48 hours.

Schroen, recounting Black’s summary of the strategy against Al Qaeda:

[T]he gloves are off.

Black, on implementing the war plan against Al Qaeda:

We really took momentum. And George Tenet said OK, take the plan and have it ready by tomorrow. We spent years working on this stuff, so when everybody else is looking for their maps on Afghanistan, we’re ready to rock; we’re ready to roll ….

Black, on the CIA’s performance in Afghanistan:

[W]e’d like the survivors of 9/11 to know that those of us in the business consider it the CIA’s finest hour. We went in to kick a[$$], and we did that.

Black, on 20/20 hindsight:

Well, I would like to put this into perspective for you. … It always gives me pause when I think about the fact that the 9/11 Commission hired twice as much staff … and were allocated twice as much money than I was provided to fight Al Qaeda worldwide on an annual basis.

Thx to Frontline

Sappho

So says a male plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by three inhabitants of the Greek Island of Lesbos against the only officially-registered homosexual group in Greece to use the word “lesbian” in its name.

One of the ways the only male plaintiff stated he has been damaged is that:

My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian … [o]ur geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos.

Proving yet again why he is the master, Professor Volokh predicted (and maybe influenced) just such a suit last summer:

A separate question, which might make some point, but which I stress is analytically distinct from the empirical questions I ask above: Say that the inhabitants of Lesbos find the term offensive. Should others, including lesbians, try to shift to a different term? Or should they go ahead with the term that they’ve used for a long time?

Thx to Volokh, the AP, and AbovetheLaw

Never forget

Al-Qaida is apparently upset at conspiracy theorists (including Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and–unfortunately–our own Willie Nelson) who insist that 9/11 was an inside job.

Evil hobbit Ayman al-Zawahri denounced Iran for stealing the hellfire spotlight from AQ, saying “[t]he purpose of this lie is clear—[to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it.”

Thx to Volokh

Paul

Paul from The Wonder Years is all grown up, and unlike so many of his child-star brethren, he actually made something of himself. He’s an associate at Morrison Cohen in New York, as well as a graduate of Yale undergrad and Cardozo Law School. The name of his firm might ring a bell because it’s the one Donald Trump is currently suing for malpractice.

The Wonder Years turned out another child-star success story as well; Winnie graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Mathematics from U.C.L.A. For anyone who feels particularly intellectually superior, check out her published theorem, entitled, Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on Z2, and you’ll be humbled in short order.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog and the Gothamist

Not Russian

Why, ” Я с места на место пастуха с склонны блог из пастбищ,” of course.

The above excerpt–“I am an itinerant shepherd with a penchant for blogging from the pasture”–is from my revealing and in-depth “about” page translated into Russian (I think) by Google at the behest of a reader located somewhere decidedly east of Texarkana.

Thx (or “spasiba”) to whoever my loyal Russian reader is and regards from Austin, Texas

Father Knows Less

Sunday’s edition of the Sydney Morning Herald ran an excerpt from Wendell Jamieson’s book, Father Knows Less, for which Mr. Jamieson sent everyday questions from kids around the world to various experts in an effort to get the answers.

For example, Jeff Zucker answers a question about how much TV will turn someone’s brains to mush, and a professor of archeological sciences opines that a 9 year-old questioner can’t cook his sister because the youngster would find the experience “existentially upsetting.”

Well, the Senior Justice of SCOTX was also contacted and asked to answer “[w]hy do grown-ups get to do what they want?” by five year-old Marley-Rose Libburd of Brooklyn, New York. Justice Hecht replied:

It only seems that way to young people because adults make all the rules. Actually the law applies more strictly to adults than minors. All states and most countries set an age, usually between 18 and 21, below which a person gets special treatment. Minors can’t be held to their contracts and are sometimes excused for injuring others. Minors who commit crimes are usually treated as delinquents and punished less severely than adults. The reason is that minors do not have the breadth of life experiences to appreciate the consequences of their choices. Adults do not have the same excuse. They can’t do whatever they want but must follow the law or pay the penalty.

Thx to SCOTX Blog

El Jefe

In an excellent interview broadast by the BBC two days ago, Justice Scalia discussed his views on a variety of topics, including the death penalty, the constitutionality of torture, and abortion.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog

Two days ago, the AP had to issue this retraction to clarify that the earlier story it had reported regarding Paris Hilton’s admirable efforts to help solve the crisis of Indian “binge-drinking elephants” (is there, really, any other kind of elephant?), was–believable as this story sounded–false.

Burp

Thx to the fact-checking squadron at the AP, and of course, to binge-drinking elephants everywhere

Leave it to the Brits to presume to rank U.S. conservatives. That’s like us attempting to rank the top cricket teams or the top fish and chips eateries in lower London.

Well, common sense having never stopped the Brits before (see the American Revolution), the Telegraph staff in Washington–Toby Harnden, Alex Spillius, Tim Shipman, Amanda Halligan and Jessica Jerrell–took upon themselves to rank the “influence” of people whose beliefs are as foreign to them as the Magna Carta was to King John.

Much to the surprise of American conservatives, apparently the most influential conservative in the U.S. is not even a conservative at all: Mayor Guiliani. Our current President (also arguably not a conservative on many issues), graces the list at number 20.

The list also inexplicably ranks the so-called conservatives on SCOTUS (the concept of judicial conservatism being too subtle a distinction for the authors to grasp) with widely varying levels of “influence:” (1) Chief Roberts at number 8; (2) Justice Scalia at number 62; and (3) Justice Thomas at number 85. Apparently, the Telegraph reporters believe that one vote counts more than others on the Court, or that the Chief Justice automatically holds jurisprudential sway over his colleagues. And, what about Justices Kennedy and Alito? The influence of any of the so-called conservatives on SCOTUS can only be as powerful as their collective influence as a voting majority.

No thx to the Telegraph

Newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy was profiled on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. In addition to being very revealing about the man and what drives him, the interview with Lesley Stahl also revealed a trait I wish we had more of in our American politicians: no patience for the media’s incessant invasion of privacy.

President Sarkozy

As soon as Lesley Stahl began asking questions about his failed marriage, President Sarkozy abruptly ended the interview. Classic.

Thx to President Sarkozy and 60 Minutes

In our ongoing series of dumb scientists at work thanks to your (or our fellow Brits’) tax dollars, behold the latest:

Dr. Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics apparently fancies himself an evolutionary geneticist. The aforementioned and no doubt esteemed economist has recently “predicted” an evolutionary outcome for the human race that is strikingly similar to that predicted by H.G. Wells in his 1895 science fiction masterpiece, The Time Machine.

Dr. Curry predicts the human race will self-select into two different subspecies, one smart and attractive, and one diminutive and dim. For a more creepy and graphicly anatomical prediction by Dr. Curry, read the Daily Mail article.

Thx to the Daily Mail

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows I’m no fan of most liberal politicians, but in this instance, I have to give kudos to former President Clinton for muzzling yet another 9/11 truther heckler.

This is why the man won two terms (the first being partially my fault for voting for him). I gotta say though, pretty powerful to have a former President scold you in public. Plus, I really respect that, instead of genteely waiting for the heckler to spew their idiocy, he stopped his speech, and took them on.

Thx to President Clinton, YouTube, and wcco.com

WTC Flag

Watch out all you swinging folks out there, tomorrow is apparently Conception Day (at least in Russia, where it’s been creepily timed so that every child conceived tomorrow will be born on Russia’s Constitution Day).

Hey baby

Thx to Breitbart

These slides from Gen. Petraeus’ presentation before Congress today are particularly enlightening.

Gen. Petraeus

Thx to the Politico

The European Union recently took the unusual step of issuing a statement directly to Governor Rick Perry of the Great State of Texas to halt all further executions in our fair state.

EU

Well, Governor Perry issued an instant classic of a response, curtly replying:

230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.


Thx to Governor Perry, News 8 Austin, and an anonymous Austin lawyer

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