Thursday, August 31, 2006

In the News... (Edited)

This post has been edited from its original version because I found a link I want to bring to light. After posting this link, the Grey Area will return to its regularly scheduled post below.

War On Terrorism Time-Line.
This time-line lays out the events leading up to, and after, the World Trade Center attack, including statements of when policy changed in the Administration, and who was for or against specific action. Read it all, it's well worth it.


Apparently, the President wants to nominate judges who will "strictly interpret the Constitution, and not legislate from the bench." That's funny, isn't that what is really going on in the world? Maybe we need a leader who knows how the law operates. Maybe upholding Constitutional rights no longer qualifies as strictly interpreting the Constitution anymore.

This rhetoric is backwards propaganda, a terrible kind of spin that aims to vilify those in the governmental structure who act against the administration by actually performing their Constitutional duty. I think this probably has something to do with the NSA wiretapping decision, which is interesting since the judge in that case actually followed the language of the Constitution as the President wants the judiciary to do. This spin is taking another interesting direction. It seems like there is a lot of back talking in politics today. If the general sentiment is something like the President is a fascist, then the GOP decides to use it as a new "buzzword" in order to shift the focus to someone else. Interesting tactic, but still vacuous in reality. Keith Olbermann weighs in on this speech with what can only be termed a scathing rebuke. This is definitely worth the time.

Finally, in another showing of extreme stupidity, the western world is now afraid of t-shirt. Maybe the TSA is the one governmental agency that can get away with violating the First Amendment. I guess we will have to wait and see how this will turn out over the next couple of months.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Over Educated, Under Employed

I can't figure this one out. I finished law school in May and then spent the entirety of June and July preparing and taking the Illinois Bar Exam and corresponding Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. That means the one major hurdle in my professional life down, provided I pass, is down. Now, I am trying to bypass hurdle number two. I remeber coming into law school as an aspiring 1L thinking how great it will be to have no problem finding a job when I graduate. That I would participate in as many practical skills programs and extra-curriculars in order to insure I had solid experience to offer a firm as a prospective entry level associate. I competed in Moot Court competitions and Mock Trial competitions. I worked for a law firm one summer, clerked for a state agency for another, and externed for a prosecutor's office where I got to litigate part of my own bench trial...

Where did it get me? Nowhere. Here I am mired in what can only be described as incomprehensible confusion regarding the job market. I understand that I am stuck in a kind of professional purgatory, that I am not really useful to a law firm until I pass the bar, but the fact is, now that I have a J.D., it's as though I can't work for the minimum wage jobs either, just to make ends meet. Maybe this is something specific to my geographic location, but I have found that I am not the only one stuck in this particular state of affairs.

The moral of this story is two-fold. First, don't put all your eggs in one basket, because in this job market, one that will no doubt last until the baby boomers finally retire and there is a longstanding positive upturn in the markets, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Second, don't waste your time while in school, use the time to make contacts in the area you want to practice both professionally and geographically.

Anyone have any recomendations?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Forehead Dents the Table...

Thanks in large part to my insomnia, I caught the tail end of the Monday's late night re-run of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. His guest at the end of the show was Ramesh Ponnuru. Mr. Ponnuru is the author of the book The Party of Death. The book details how the Democratic party now supports the end of human life through having a Pro-Life platform, among other things. The conversation referenced Roe v. Wade, arguing that this decision should not have been made by judges, but by the people, and that the issue wouldn't be as polarizing if it placed some kind of restrictions on the right to choose.

As the title of this post suggests, I will soon need a new table because of all the ignorant anti-liberty neoconservative ranting regarding concepts of freedom that buttress the Constitution. If my head bounces off the table any more, I may have to replace the table. Why is this so absurd?

First and foremost, the Supreme Court declared that women have the right to choose regardless of much gestation time has elapsed. While the cite to Roe is correct, the statement of the law is incorrect. In 1991, the Supreme Court, through Justice O'Connor, reigned in the unlimited right to abortion announced in Roe in the landmark decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Casey added the "time restrictions" Mr. Ponnuru suggests the law requires. Currently, the law allows restrictions on the right to choose once a fetus reaches a state of viability. Moreover, the fact that they seem to think that the decision is left to judges is incorrect. Fundamentally, Judges operate as the arbiter of legal disputes between Congress and the rights of the people announced by the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. To denigrate the operation of the judiciary, writing off their role in the governmental system, demonstrates a lack of understanding for the operation of checks and balances, a principle announced by the founders on repeated occasions as a way to provide recourse to the people against abusive legislative or executive government.

If the Democrats are the party of death, the Republicans are the party against personal freedom. The abortion decisions essentially establish a personal right to privacy regarding decisions of procreation, a right properly reserved to the individual. The abortion issue is just as much about keeping laws out of personal and individual decisions regarding family and responsibility As far as I am concerned, the law needs to stay out of the lives of its citizens, and the court need to continue to protect those rights as needed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

10 More Kinds of Stupidity

Some things in life make no logical sense, no matter how hard someone tries to make rational sense of the utter stupidity of a situation. Recently, it feels as though the effect of terrorism has had this effect on the entire world, or at least those who supposedly run it. The goal of terrorism is to change a social mindset. A small group with an agenda commits some terrible act of violence to gain the attention of a large social group that otherwise wouldn't care. This group changes the status quo of the large social group by making them fear what could happen next. A good example are the recent surge of stories of diverted air craft after someone notices what they think is a terrorist threat. This presents an interesting counter perspective on the previous story. It's interesting that all the recent acts of terrorism have done is to create more hassels for people who don't want them.

What's more interesting is that terrorism doesn't accomplish its goals, or its goals are misplaced. My impression of the extremist message is that the West must die, that the industrialized world has foisted an anti-culture perspective on an entire faith base, destroying what they believe by coercing their youth with global liberalism. What results is a battle of culture. Unfortunately, it's the battle of capitalist ideals and devote Islam. What it comes down to, they have something that business needs to operate. What they have is oil, and the world imposes it's will on people to get more of it. The extreme response is to wage war by killing hundreds or thousands to aid their cause. Interestingly, a more effective approach would be to change the policy of governments perpetrating this kind of evil on the observant Muslim society. Killing is not the answer because it accomplishes the wrong result. Countries tighten security, and do asinine things like hiring the uneducated to work as security guards. Most importantly, it doesn't change the policy buttressing action that nations like Iran and Syria, or groups like al Qaeda, so vehemently oppose. Changing policy should be the goal, not scaring people into submission.

Speaking of policy and the foreign arena, does it surprise anyone that the United States started the nuclear conflict with Iran? This shows how backwards long term American international policy truly is. It makes no sense that we would create this kind of international risk. The fact is, American foreign policy needs to be focused on the consequences.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sometimes Bill O'Reilly Makes Me Sick

The title link goes to a video of an interview about the recent NSA Decision. Who gave this guy this kind of voice? No, better yet, why is he so anti-American?? He seems to believe that the judge wants to kill Americans. The guest seems to think that "liberals" are communists, and that the ACLU is the most dangerous organization to this country.

OK, this is why I am so sick. First, the NSA program violates the law. The President is bound to follow FISA, and the NSA program is in direct contradiction to both FISA and the Fourth Amendment. What's worse, this idiot has the gall to be so ignorant about civil liberties. The ACLU represents the interests of all Americans by preventing the abuse of civil liberties by the government, something that the George Bush has done repeatedly since the start of this "War on Terror" nonsense, and Bill O'Reily continues to aid and abet by spreading this moronic ignorance to the entire FoxNews demographic. Since when has standing up for the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, make someone a leftist or an activist? The people who act in contravention of these rights aren't Conservative in the lexical meaning of the word. If anything, this brazen military-centric protectionist ideology is more Fascist in nature. So who's worse, someone who wants to keep this country free, or someone who wants to destroy the very foundation of our Free society?

Does the ACLU take on cases and represent people in situations that are sometimes repugnant to our common sense notions of socially permissible behavior? Sure, but these are the situations where the government is most likely to expand power at the expense of the Constitution's guarantee of liberty. Someone must push the boundaries to force the development of the law. The real danger are the knee-jerk, anti-liberty ideologues like O'Reilly and his guest who would rather take freedom away from the electorate.

Be wary of Neo-Conservativism, represented by the likes of O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Politicians with their point of view pose a greater risk to what makes this country great then decisions aimed at protecting the rights given to us by the founding fathers. Any American against the exercise of rights provided by the Constitution is Un-American in the truest sense. They represent the antithesis of freedom.

Update: Bill Maher's Perspective.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Constant Quandries

I posted a few days ago about how many scholars fault the reasoning in the NSA decision. After the President's remarks, the deeper political effects are now being felt in Washinton. Clearly, national security will take center stange come November, even if the rest of us really care about tax cuts and government spending.
There has been another interesting development with American policy on Iraq. Apparently, the President is entertaining the idea of installing a dictator to lead the government in Bagdad. One would think that, at the very least, we would learn from history, especially considering history has shown these tactics don't work to th benefit of American interests. It may finally be coming down to the point where the old-style Texas shoot-from-the-hip politics will have to give way to diplomatic negotiation.

Moving from one political battlefront to another, the political battle over net neutrality continues to rage in Washington. It appears as though Congress is about to strike the final blow. If ever there was a time for action, this would be it. If this bill passes you can expect more of the idiotic, pocket filling, useless, anti-consumer, rate hikes like the new veiled hikes from Verhizon. The worst possible affect is a new restriction on civil liberties. One that would otherwise silence the power of sites like YouTube to expose government action through user created content.

One example is a recent video that shows polices arresting a teenager for his speech. Two Sheriff's apparently arrested a teenager for expressing a political opinion with explitive language. This situation reminds me most of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Cohen v. California. In that case, the expression involved similarly explicative language, but focused on the draft. I think there is a strong argument that the Sheriffs violated the teenager's First Amendment right to free speech, provided he was trying to convey a political message.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Due process in the anti-terrorist state...

Probably not, at least from John Gilmore's perspective. His website lays out his struggle against the government and laws that are on the books but secret. We have to ask...What is really going on in a country where we are supposed to know all the laws, and have adequate notice prior to the deprevation of our liberties.

More interesting stuff.

Updating the not-so spectacular liquid explosive terrorist threat.

Another racist politician? Quick question, why does it seem like they are all Republicans?

Sinking closer to a police state?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Wagging the Dog, sort of

Since last week, a media frenzy has exploded over how unsafe air travel is since terrorists can get a hold of easy to make and easy to conceal explosives. Interestingly enough, its possible that this could be largely conjecture. While the possiblity of making one of these explosives is relevant, the primary question is feasibility and effectiveness of this method of terror.

The Register is running an interesting article on just this point. It generally concludes that using the common ingredient to make these liquid bombs, TATP, is difficult to make and can be unstable. Moreover, it would take quite a bit to bring down an airliner. It's feasible that a terrorist could use this kind of bomb to blow a hole in the air plane, but it is unlikely it would take down the whole plane, even with a small hole.

We see this scenario everywhere today (Times Online, LA Times, UK News, ZDnet, Time, NPR, USNews, and CNN). But why? This could be one perspective. Politicians are rallying the troops. The goal is to keep the American people scared of something that is statistically unlikely in order to sway votes. Even the President is hoping so. Why focus on what is really going wrong and what really needs to be fixed, when you can terrorize the country with a mass media blitz that will butress expanded governmental power? It's clearly the goal when certain media outlets devote significant resources to keeping us "informed." What makes this even more clear is the way the President has attacked decisions that would inhibit his unconstitutional actions.

The reality of the situation is th media spins the news, and politics takes advantage. The only way to rectify the problem is to be more cynical, to question more of what we are told. That should be the ultimate goal, a population motivated to seek out different points of view on world events, to get educated, and to vote based on that education.

A little late but...

Yesterday, a federal judge in Detroit, Michigan, struck a blow for civil liberties against the increasingly troublesome unitarian Presidential power. The opinion effectively puts a halt to the NSA domestic surveillance program, but its future is dubious. Regardless, this news rang clear among many in the blogosphere (, HowAppealing, ConcurringOpinions (An interesting First Amendment analysis), Balkinization, and The Law and Society Blog). I have yet to read the opinion (.pdf), but the strength of the reasoning has already come into question. Since this deals with an issue I am currently working on a paper for, I will provide my analysis once I get a chance to read the decision.

On a side note, I found this little political gem to be quite disturbing. One thing can be said for the knee-jerk reaction to terrorism, and the mentality of fear currently gripping America, is that it never fails to stir up the wrong kind of sentiment. One day, and now five years, appears to have dealt a blow to the Civil Rights movement.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Re-valuating Terrorism...

In the last 15 years, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the United States. First, the initial attack on the World Trade Center. Second, the attack in Oklahoma City. Finally, the attack that caused the collapse of Tower 1 and 2 on September 11, 2001. In 1993, The first bombings at the trade center were written off inconsequential. In 1994, The Oklahoma City bombing was dealt with as a matter of domestic hostility, and dealt with under the criminal law and sentenced to death. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers 1 and 2 is a wholly different story, and we all know how that part of history played out.

Now, September 11 is invoked by politicians to draw support for their cause. What is perverse about the use of a national tragedy is its transformation into propaganda. The evolution of employing this kind of rhetoric has lead to Unconstitutional Presidential action. This change in focus really does make terrorism seem like a political ploy, a movement of fear used by those in power to stay in power. To some extent, it makes sense considering the fairly small odds (towards the bottom) of even being personally involved in an act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Don't get me wrong, security is important to defend ourselves, but the reality remains that the Bush Administration continues to use the War Rhetoric to support his regime. Now this intellectual absurdity is spilling over to the pseudo-political regurgitation of partisan politicians. I think Ned Lamont puts things into interesting perspective.

Would it shock the American people that the Bush administration escalated the time table to foil the most recent terrorist plot this month? Or, that the President paved the way for Israel's attack on Hezbollah? Probably not. The problem is that American Citizens keep falling for the trap, and keep depending on a President who misleads the public under the auspices of paternal protectionism when the real goal is expanding executive power at the expense of individual liberty. This flies in the face what the founders envisioned.

It's time for this abuse to stop. Wake-up America! In today's world we cannot cower in fear, willfully giving up freedom. Fear laden politics breads the kind of New York neurosis made popular by sitcoms like Seinfeld and turns otherwise reasonable human beings into docile and subservient sheep. We can't change the tide of the times by continuing on the current path. The U.S. needs new foreign policy that does not alienate the rest of the world. That, at least, would be a start.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Copyright and Security

Two posts in one day...Unusual, I know, but I am trying to catch up.

For anyone keeping track, thanks to questionable business practices by Verizon based on the Government's abuse of liberty, there are now 83 words you can't use. Speaking of domestic surveillance, a Federal Court in California has consolidated the litigation surrounding the President's NSA program. The impact of the President's policies can be seen in other areas, too. Especially considering this recent decision by a New York Court permitting police to search patron's bags on the subway. Then again, the extent of the President's interest in national security is becoming questionable.

In other news, there have been some interesting developments with the RIAA and their assault on copyright law and the individual end user. First, one perspective on the truth. Second, a calculated move to keep the public in the dark. Finally, an interesting attack on the RIAA's policies.

On a final note, the CEO of Google has some interesting words on Net Neutrality.


My last post noted how recent proposed legislation operates to protect government leaders from war crimes. While this type of legislation creates an absurd limit on the imposition of responsibility, recent events have not created a lens that focuses the new political motivations of the republican party, and, to some extent, the media.

It is hard to miss the effect of current events on the political minefield, especially with Presidential approval ratings being at an all time low. Think Progress explains just this point in a recent post (see also) discussing how the Vice President is using the terrorist plot foiled by the British last week to promote the political agenda of the republican party. Recent posturing has increased in the media as well. The recent Massachusetts primary is also being incorporated into the political spectrum.

All of this really seems like little more than contradiction from both sides. The neo-conservative republicans are using terrorism to their political advantage, which is no surprise. This kind of fear-mongering is precisely the tactic which operates at the core of the contradiction. Effectively, it works the odds. This post doesn't aim to denounce the threat of terrorism, or that it has become less than a part of our lives as Americans. Rather, this post points out the contradiction in the rhetoric of politics. This is the kind of idiocy that the American people should be more intelligent than to so simply take these words as fact.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I came across an interesting commentary this morning where Jacob G. Hornberger argues that it is American foreign policy which exposes us to terrorists threats. Superficially, the argument makes sense. The solution of full withdrawal he proposes seems a bit extreme. This is just one side of the argument, and part of the conjecture supporting why the US and its citizens are the targets of militant extremism. If this were the route to go, then the proper course would be something more efficient.

If anything the biggest problem with government, at any level, is how inefficient the system operates. The thought process seems less focused on the cost and benefits, with benefits being the overarching goal, and more focused on attributing power and spending money. Examples of this inefficiency runs from the absurd and stupid to the down-right idiotic. At the very least, Congress must read the bills it passes. It's clear that the family run oligarchy has become largely self -serving, working to avoid liability and culpability for their official acts, even when laws now on the books aim to create an efficient organization by creating official responsibility. Without a mechanism to impose responsibility, government can do what it wants. The end result is where we are at now, a government doing what it wants, with utter disregard for the consequences, and a national steadily reaching towards $8 and a half Trillion.

Interesting side note.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

And We're Back...

Ok, so the Illinois Bar Exam is officially over. While I seemed to have survived superficially and mentally, my professional survival won't be determined until mid-October. I guess I can wait that long, though I don't know if I want my results back. Hopefully, this will mean more regular posts than I have been making over the past few weeks. To start, an update on what seems to be going on in the world.

Questions remain.

Loosing one person one vote...

A balance to paternal legislation.

The slow, grinding operation of systemically sanctioned freedom.

A perspective on signing statements.

Solutions to the Gasoline problem? Though probably not this.

Attacks on the Free Web, only supported by Corporate Zeal.

What is wrong with Americans?

Freedom also requires governmental responsibility.

Absurd, even if it's in a different country.


Not every label lives up to the BS it is used to support. Some need an education in rhetoric and hyperbole.

Have we thought, yet, that this might be a good idea?

Not a Surprise! Redux.

Michael Froomkin's interesting perspective on Presidential Signing Statements.

Now, don't take this seriously.