Down but not out

My Internet connection was down all day today, hence the lack of anything new. I’ll try to post something after dinner, but I suspect I may not have the energy. So let’s use this as an open thread, and I promise, more to come tomorrow.

I got my tickets to Asia, so it looks like I’m really heading back.

The Discussion: 41 Comments

i just got up at 7 in the morning to come into my office and do a translation. then all the power in the building went out, and i lost most of what i had done! on top of that, without the AC, it can be pretty hot here. Everything’s back on, but with a start like that, looks like it is going to be a long day.

July 19, 2005 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

So, what do you think of the new Supreme Court nominee?

July 19, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

‘I used to be able to name every nut there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say,” Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts,” and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think thats what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room and she’d just start yellin’. I’D say,” Peanut, Hazel Nut, Cashew nut, Macadamia nut.” That was the one that would send her into goin’ crazy. She’d say,”Would you stop naming nuts!” And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn’t talk ,but he’d go”rrawr rrawr” and that sounded like Macadamia Nut .Pine Nut which is a nut, but it’s also the name of a town. Pistachio Nut.Red Pistachio Nut,Natural, All Natural White Pistachio Nut.’

July 19, 2005 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

Harlan Pepper. Was there a point to that?

July 19, 2005 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

There sho R alotta nuts in dis world!

July 19, 2005 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

Gordon, it was a shrewd move on Bush’s part, a sort of stealth nominee we don’t really know too much about. This is one time when the Senate confirmation hearings will take on a whole new importance. I’ll give Roberts the benefit of the doubt for the moment, but I sure want to know more.

July 19, 2005 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

“Well. then, I just HATE you….and I HATE your….ass….FACE!”

July 19, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

I think it’s hard to say how this confirmation is going to go. Especially since his appointment to the appellate court was supported by both political parties. Heck, even the Clinton’s supported him.

Should be interesting.

July 19, 2005 @ 8:50 pm | Comment

Maybe Clinton supported him, but not for the Supreme Court, where you can interpret what the Constitution is all about and in so doing change the lives of millions. Like I said, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until I know more.

July 19, 2005 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

two posts below duplicated

July 19, 2005 @ 8:53 pm | Comment

I know the feeling of having the internet connection out. 2 weeks, but things are back up now.

Wondering how the DNS issues for will work out, but time will tell.

July 19, 2005 @ 10:05 pm | Comment

I also think it was a clever tactical move on the part of the President. One, it breaks the woman or minority requirement that many thought was now imposed on the selection process, two it puts the Democrats in a difficult position. The Democrats, with Renquist in mind, do not want to expend more political capital than necessary on this nomination (although the Chief Justice is not anymore influential nor power than any other justice, the title does carry prestige). So, the Democracts will need to appear to be doing their due diligence, but not so much as to pit them in a nasty confrontation that may hurt them when (and if) Requist retires. But then there are factions that have their own agenda, and may force the Party to take a stand that they really do not wish to take (Clarence Thomas comes to mind).

Much of the debating will be about yesterday’s decisions. I realize that many think there needs to be some form of vigilance on retaining those decisions, but the real need will be in deciding issues that have not come up yet. Not knowing what those issues are, it is difficult to ask questions about theml. Not only that, the parties themselves will not know at this time what stand they will have concerning the unkown issues (I am not inclined to believe that the political parties are based on some philosphical basis, but rather they are based on loose factional alliances which modify over time).

July 19, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

may force the Party to take a stand that they really do not wish to take (Clarence Thomas comes to mind).
Posted by JFS

Have you ever actually read a Clarence Thomas SCOTUS opinion? Yeeeesh. This man isn’t qualified to be a legal expert on CNN, let alone a Supreme Court judge.

July 19, 2005 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

Wasn’t Souter a similar kind of deal, and he ended up being quite unlike what everyone thought he would be. I have to agree that the Dems can’t afford to waste capital on this one when Renquist is on his last legs (whether he cares to admit it or not).

On the other hand this nomination is a bit of a blow to the Hispanic Jewish female contenders.

July 19, 2005 @ 11:49 pm | Comment


Horse-shit. I’ve read many of them. Justice Thomas adheres more closely to an identifiable judicial approach than any other current sitting justice — in his case “originalism”, his opinions are admirably free of jargon and he has established himself as one on the few currently sitting justices to demonstrate and interest and expertise in commercial matter.

As hard as it may be for you to beleive that the uppity darky is capable of it, Thomas’s legal reasoning is much more rigorous than is O’Connor’s or Kennedy’s who have shown an unfortunate willingness to abandon previously articulated legal principals when they get in the way of a desiable outcome.

Of course, please feel free to cite an example of an incompetently written Thomas opinion as well as providing your own qualifications to pass judgment on issues of constitutional law.

July 20, 2005 @ 12:35 am | Comment

Sorry to switch topics, but I have a question that I was wondering if anyone could help me answer, and well, I guess there is no better place to ask it than in the open thread. My girlfriend recently got a US travel visa. On the way back to the US, we wanted to spend a few days in Japan. Now I know I don’t need a Japanese visa, but I am curious as to whether she needs to go through the entire Japanese visa application process, or if she will be able to get a short “layover visa” at Narita Airport, since she will be on the way to the US.
I have no idea, does anyone else?

July 20, 2005 @ 12:35 am | Comment

on-site application is ok, i think. you might have 24 hours to visit tokyo and eat a few bowls of ramen. good luck

July 20, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

Bingfeng, I’m very surprised you didn’t like War of the Worlds, given that it was written as a metaphor of British colonialism. Didn’t that speed up your nationalistic pulse? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Disclaimer: I have not seen the new film, but I re-read the novel two years ago. It’s really quite good, the scenes describing refugees fleeing London are particularly gripping.

Then I tried to read a Chinese children’s version. I quickly realized that learning the Chinese terms for words like “telegraph” and “martian” might not be so useful.

July 20, 2005 @ 4:13 am | Comment

the uppity darky

Playing the race card, Conrad? Shame on you.

Re: Roberts, isn’t his lack of experience on the bench a valid consideration? He’s only been a judge for two years.

July 20, 2005 @ 4:25 am | Comment

Slim, re learning Chinese words for “telegraph” and “martian” not being useful…mate, in China you never bloody know….nothing surprises me anymore. The fact that I’ve known the Chinese for both words for as long as I can remember might tell you something! Haha.

Today the Jamestown Foundation website updated with 4 new China-related articles. Essential reading IMO as always. The latter two articles are particularly good.




July 20, 2005 @ 4:50 am | Comment

Martyn, couldn’t agree more re Jamestown. I talked about them today.

Last article is the pick of the bunch.

July 20, 2005 @ 5:04 am | Comment

Damn Conrad, I was going to write a reply to that, but it looks like you covered that quite nicely.


July 20, 2005 @ 6:21 am | Comment

Iwas sitting in a bus in Shenzhen. minding my own business. I got up to get out when I reached my destination.

Some guy just pushed a black back towards me. I did not think anything of it and got off the us.
A few minutes later, that same guy with an accomplist stopped me. One of the guy even threaten to beat me up !

They claimed that I had broken some neon light they are delivering to a customer and I had broken 3 of the neon lights.
After some discussions, they wanted me to call their boss to discuss settlement. So, I did, and this ‘boss guy’ claimed that each of the 3 neon lights I broke costs rmb 700.00 and he wanted me to pay the amount to the 2 guys hassling me.

I began to be suspicious, I asked to look at the neons and they started to give me all kinds of shenanigans(sp).
Then another man from the spectator told me it’s all a trick and that I should ignore them.

I left.

Please warn everyone about this bullshit.

July 20, 2005 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Ben: Have to confess that I hate going to Shenzhen or Guangzhou on my own, because every person I meet seems to be trying to rip me off or steal my mobile/handbag/money/passport/whatever. Sad, but short of taking a bodyguard, I’m not sure what to do.

Richard: Last time you went on a tour of China I invited you to visit some farmers in Jiangxi with me. It couldn’t happen that time, and now I’ve left Jiangxi, but I’ve still got enough connections to take you out there if you’d like.

July 20, 2005 @ 7:25 am | Comment

I have very few problems in SZ, but I stay off the mini-buses, and avoid the train station/border crossing as much as possible. I know of foreigners who have been assaulted, though.

July 20, 2005 @ 6:09 pm | Comment

*geesh* vaara, quite nicely put.

You can spot how disqualified Clarence Thomas is by how quick his loony tunes followers throw out the faux race card.

As for horrendous Clarence Thomas opinions, feel free to drop by my site and do a search for “the uppity darky”. Oh wait, you won’t find anything with that search term, but if you do search for Thomas, you’ll find his horrendous contortions on the Cheney Energy Taskforce.

“Originalism” BWAHAHAHAAHAHAHA! In other words, neo-cons legislating from the bench to throw out major portions of the Constitution that they don’t like… like the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, ESPECIALLY the 9th, and the people part of the 10th and all of the due process protections of the post Civil War Constitutional Amendments.

And Simon, what’s this crap about the Democrats having limited political capital? The Democrats aren’t the party of the lame duck President with the traitorous Deputy Chief of Staff and a miserable failure as Ambassador to the UN nominee.

Roberts is a political hack. See his ruling on Gitmo gutting due process. See his work for Bush-Cheney 2000 in Florida, which eventually legislated the President of the United States from the bench. “originalism” *snort* Right up there with “I’m not a crook.”

July 20, 2005 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

Unfortunately Tom, we seem to be stuck with him unless they find a bleeding corpse in his basement. The media are gushing, even some moderate and liberal voices. I don’t know enough to comment on Roberts, except to say it’s too early to doing the coronation. Let’s learn who he is first. As to Thomas, Conrad is wrong as usual on domestic issues. Thomas is an imbelcile who is always looking over his shoulder to read Scalia’s facial expressions so he knows what to think. His career was undistinguished (to be very kind) and he will be remembered by posterity soley for the public hairs on the can of Coke.

July 20, 2005 @ 7:04 pm | Comment


What in the name of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are you babbling about????

Rebutting all of the inanities in your comment would be a complete waste of productive time. It’s enough to point out your silly claim that judges are trying to “throw out” the Third Amendment of the Consititution. The Third Amendment provides that : “no soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.“. Please point out any judicial decision allowing the government to quarter troops in private residences.

The rest of your assetions, while not quite as absurd, are not far off.

July 20, 2005 @ 9:08 pm | Comment


So, Thomas blindly follows Scalia does he? Thomas and Scalia have identified a very distinct difference in their judicial philosophy. Do you know what it is? If you don’t know what it is, doesn’t that indicate that you really aren’t in a position to comment on the subject in an informed manner?

What about the case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where Thomas dissented from a stinging opinion by Scalia, or Virginia v. Black where Thomas broke with Scalia to hold that cross burning is not protected speech under the 1st Amendment, or Lopez, Morrison and Raisch (the latter being the recent medical marijauna case), three cases where Thomas broke with Scalia to take a far less expansive view of the Commerce Clause, or the recent Kelo case regarding taking private property for “public” use, in which Thomas strongly supported the homeowners and Scalia refused to join Thomas’s dissent.

But, hey, the above are just anecdotal, maybe the statistics will prove that you are right, that Thomas merely follows Scalia like a puppy. Let’s take a look actual results. For the 2004 Court term Scalia and Thomas agreed less often than did six other pairs of justices.

Souter-Ginsburg (85% in whole/92% in part/94% in the judgment)

Rehnquist-O?Connor (79%/90%/91%)

Ginsburg-Breyer (77%/91%/94%)

Stevens-Souter (77%/90%/91%)

Stevens-Ginsburg (75%/90%/92%)

Rehnquist-Kennedy (77%/86%/91%).

Scalia-Thomas: 73% (in full), 79% (in full or part).

And who had the highest rate of agreement for the 2005 term? Why it was Souter and Ginsberg again and Thomas agreed with Rehnquist more often than he agreed with Scalia.

Facts can be annoying things, can’t they?

July 20, 2005 @ 9:45 pm | Comment

Conrad –
Awwww… as usual you’d rather pick nits than face the core of the argument. Finger point and say others are bad, rather than deal with real arguments.

Sad and pathetic. Willfully stupid. Always throwing chaff in the air rather than producing anything of value.

But I can see why Conrad loves Clarence. Read one of the few pieces of his own writing during his years on the SCOTUS in the Cheney case. You’ll be dumbfounded by it’s simplicity.

It’s Okay If You’re A Republican. Which has been Conrad’s MO for years.

July 20, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment


You’re talking out your ass again.

“One of the few pieces of his own writing

Thomas has written numerous majority opinions, dissents and concurrances. A quick and incomplete Westlaw search pulls up well over 100. Thomas’s Cheny dissent was short and simple because it relied on a very simple point. Thomas argued that in order to obtain a writ of mandamus, the applicants had to show that they were clearly entitled to the discovery material sought and that they failed to meet that burden. Other than that, he JOINED in the majority opinion and so had no need to write anymore on the subject.

I’m still waiting for that citation to a judicial opinion authorizing the quartering of troops in private residences. Even a dissent will do.

How about it?

July 20, 2005 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

Awwww… as usual you’d rather pick nits than face the core of the argument.

Sounds like you’ve got everything but the facts on your side: The name-calling, the cheap polemics, the partisan hackery. The heat! The passion! The drama! The ad-hominems! But if “the core” of your argument is sound, won’t there be some facts to back it up?

Sad and pathetic. Willfully stupid. Always throwing chaff in the air rather than producing anything of value. — Tom —

July 21, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

And the basis for saying the writ wasn’t applicable was stating that the law applied to Hillary Clinton’s panel and not to Cheney’s panel.


As for the 3rd Amendment, you might check the rather dangerous conclusions concurred by Roberts in the Hamdan case as to the limits of Judicial Review on a war time President given a blank check by Congress.

As for the 9th Amendment read Scalia’s dissent in Troxel v Granville where he eviscerates the judicial right to protect unenumerated rights violated by legislative edict.

As for the 14th Amendment Brett Boyce has a lengthy pdf on originalism

Sorry sam_s, the facts are on my side. For all of Conrad’s usual bluster and distractions, Clarence Thomas is a hack unworthy to sit on the SCOTUS.

And “originalism” is a lie to provide a cop out cover for social conservatives to interpret “original meaning” in the way that fits their ideology best.

July 21, 2005 @ 4:37 am | Comment

I’ve figured it out Tom, you’ve confused Justice Thomas with his predecessor, Thurgood Marshall. From Bob Woodward’s The Brethren:

On the Court, Thurgood Marshall had little interest in perfecting the finer points of the law. He often told his clerks, only half-jokingly, “I’ll do whatever Bill [Brennan] does,” sometimes even jotting “follow Bill” on his notes. . . . The clerks had taken to calling Marshall “Mr. Justice Brennan-Marshall.” . . .

Woodward and Armstrong do make a good case that Justice Thurgood Marshall didnโ€™t know the first thing about writing legal decisions, mostly followed Brennan, and never spoke during oral arguments. Marshall is more or less a cipher throughout, when heโ€™s not boring his clerks with endless stories about himself.

I guess all those black justices look alike.

July 21, 2005 @ 4:58 am | Comment

Hamdan has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the Third Amendment. Nada, zippo, zilch. Even the dimmest first-year law student at the lowliest State U cow college would know better than to try that asinine argument.

As for the Ninth Amendment, it grants no independant rights whatsoever:

It is clear from its text and from Madison’s statements that the Ninth Amendment states but a rule of construction, making clear that a Bill of Rights might not by implication be taken to increase the powers of the national government in areas not enumerated, and that it does not contain within itself any guarantee of a right or a proscription of an infringement

As for this Boyce person, I’m not inclined to invest the time to read the obscure musings of a non-law professor published in a third-tier law review. There are plenty of authoritative publications on all sides of the issue with which you are apparently unfamiliar.

Finally, to call originalism “a lie” is bizarre. Originalism can be neither a lie nor a truth, right nor wrong. It is simply one method of constitutional interpretation. It is a legal rather than a scientific doctrine and, as such, can be neither correct nor incorrect. To tie originalism to social conservatism is also bizarre. There are plenty of Libertarian origninalists and plenty of non-originalist social conservatives.

I do, however, admire the way you tried to avoid responding to the challenge I put to you by attempting to answer a totally different question. Nice try.

In light of your evasiveness, I’ll pose the request again, please cite me one legal authority, or even a law review article (see how I keep making it easier for you), calls for quartering troops in private homes. If you can’t (and, trust me, you can’t) then please concede that your assertion that conservative judges are seeking to undermine the Third Amendment was complete and utter bollocks.

Oh yes, and to avoid another horsesh@t answer like “Hamdan”, to qualify your Third Amendment authority should actually mention the Third Amendment at least once.

July 21, 2005 @ 5:49 am | Comment

I know you want to limit the scope of answers that you presume to be horseshit in the same way that you threw out the race card so quickly and repeatedly.

And Sam_S, so nice to see you calling me out on ad hominem but not the race baiter. Tells me that you belong to the crowd of willfully stupid as well.

Hamdan didn’t address the 3rd Amendment directly, but it did address that the CON judges will refuse to accept judicial review of a “war time president” that is allowed by Congress to do whatever is necessary to conduct a military conflict as to be defined solely by the President.

As for you hair-splitting of “Libertarians” and “Conservatives”, I laugh. Sorry. No difference in that “originalist Libertarians” use the originalist theory at their whim to deny liberties.

And so nice of you to use the paraphrase of Madison’s words, rather than Madison’s actual words or even the 9th Amendment itself.

It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure.

Of course “originalist Libertarians” have been quite quick to say that if a right isn’t enumerated then it is insecure until such time as some Legislature enumerates it. {see the absurdist hoop jumping points of view from separate dissents by Scalia w/ Rehnquist and Thomas to deny privacy to homosexuals because that’s for the Legislature to deal with. Cop out.}

So, yes, a theory can be a lie. Creationism is a theory. It’s also a lie, when it defies the facts. “originalism” is a lie, when it stops being a coherent theory and just a convenient rationalistion to hide ideological interpretations of the law behind.

July 21, 2005 @ 6:35 am | Comment

{see the absurdist hoop jumping points of view from separate dissents by Scalia w/ Rehnquist and Thomas to deny privacy to homosexuals because that’s for the Legislature to deal with. Cop out.}

separate dissents in Lawrence v Texas. Sorry, bout that.

July 21, 2005 @ 6:37 am | Comment

And Sam_S, so nice to see you calling me out on ad hominem but not the race baiter. Tells me that you belong to the crowd of willfully stupid as well.

Well, I recognized Conrad’s race comment as irony, which I suspect you did also, but want to use it as a lever to distract from the argument about your qualifications to judge a supreme court justice. It’s a low tactic, and generally effective in high school, but useless to your argument.

“Wilfully stupid” is cute, but again could boomerang on you, having called a Justice a hack unworthy of serving on the Court, while you seem totally unable to substantiate the slur.

July 21, 2005 @ 6:59 am | Comment

I do, however, admire the way you tried to avoid responding to the challenge I put to you by attempting to answer a totally different question. Nice try.

Coming from the guy that throws out his radical right filofax quotations and factoids on Thomas to avoid the real questions.

Like factoids on 1 year of judgements comparing Scalia/Thomas to other pairings as a distraction.

Why don’t you give us a site with a year by year of Thomas matched up with each of the other judges on the court, Conrad, instead of your distractions and hack factoids? If you want to make it a set of tables for all of the judges, I’d be happy to take a look at it.

Interesting to see the allegedly moderate O’Connor hanging so tight with Rehnquist in 2004.

July 21, 2005 @ 7:03 am | Comment


Originalism is not a “theory” you great braying jackass. It is a method of constitutional interpretation. It is one means of approaching a task. To say orignalism is “a lie” is like telling somone who wished to cross a lake that the breaststroke is a lie and the backstroke is true.

BTW, I still await that cite supporting your assertion that conservatives seek to erode the Third Amemendment. Anything written by any judge in all of American history will do.

When you find the cite, e-mail it to “blue boy” because I’ll be the poor sonofabitch standing in the corner holding my breath.

July 21, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

It is a method of constitutional interpretation. It is one means of approaching a task.

Not. If it was equivalent of the breast stroke, then there would be stone tablets explaining the rules and parameters that would allow any and all to replicate precisely the results given by a practicer of “originalism”.

Such rules and parameters don’t exist. Furthermore the ability to replicate the results produced by Scalia or Thomas is impossible, because the opinions they spew are all over the fuckin’ place.

And I still haven’t found the hundreds of opinions written by Thomas or the breakdown between majority opinion, concurring majority opinion, opposition author with others, or lonely man howling in opposition against the big bad world.

And you still haven’t responded to any of the arguments that bypass the specifics of the third. Or dealt with the 1st on religion, 4th on search and seizure, 8th on unusual punishment {prison beatdowns are so cool, right Hon. Thomas?}, 9th, or due process and equal protection.

Why? Because as usual, Conrad, you’ve got nothing.

July 25, 2005 @ 5:07 am | Comment

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