Re: Hilarity

1

The building with the secret room is a block from my office.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 12:14 AM
horizontal rule
2

Wow, that case drew a good panel, all things considered. The lawyers don't sound like they tailored their arguments very well to the judges, though.


Posted by: Rousseau | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 1:45 AM
horizontal rule
3

Lenny Bruce had a piece where he riffed on the idea of having a document from the President that said, "He can do anything, Jack".

But Lenny was one of the good guys.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 2:14 AM
horizontal rule
4

"This document cannot be meaningfully described" - isn't that a self-contradiction?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 3:27 AM
horizontal rule
5

4: The whole sentence in the lawyer's mind, with assumptions included, probably was:

"This document is totally non-redactable and non-segregable [or else you lose all substantive content, because the whole thing is State Secrets] and cannot even be meaningfully described [without giving away State Secrets]."

To which I would think the response is: "so?"


Posted by: Rousseau | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 3:46 AM
horizontal rule
6

It's all mind-boggling stuff. I am sort of impressed by a world in which governments employ this sort of argument. The Chewbacca Defence was supposed to be a joke.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 3:48 AM
horizontal rule
7

""This document cannot be meaningfully described" - isn't that a self-contradiction?"

It's almost a Godel sentence.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 5:29 AM
horizontal rule
8

It must be the donation of Constantine.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 5:31 AM
horizontal rule
9

It does have magic powers. It makes the Constitution and 792 years of Anglo-Saxon law disappear.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
10

5:

The whole sentence in the lawyer's mind, with assumptions included, probably was: ...

No, no, what the lawyer was thinking was

""This document is totally non-redactable and non-segregable [in the sense of physical, but not logical impossibility, that is, the document repels all black ink and cannot be cut into pieces with any scissors made by any known physical process] and cannot even be meaningfully described [in the sense of a logical impossibility, that is, the words written on this amazing piece of paper are not only meaningless, but they bear no resemblance to anything else in the universe that might be used as an analog, and cannot even have their spatial co-ordinates mapped by another system]."

I'm sure of it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
11

What happened to the Salon article thread? Deleting threads is Orwellian! (Well, allowing for standard internet hyperbole it is).


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
12

11 gets it right. Not even a nod toward my heroism in this new thread?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
13

Actually it seems to still exist. Just isn't linked from the main page anymore.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
14

It exists and will go back up in a few days, when people aren't clicking through from Salon.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
15

11: Just isn't linked from the main page anymore.

Obviously, it couldn't be meaningfully described.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
16

Ogged is trying to bury the Manjoo Conspiracy. Don't let him!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
17

Linking from Salon could result in grave harm to the security of Unfogged. We have no right to ask further questions.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
18

10: Oop, yeah, good catch.

Perhaps we can observe only its position but not its velocity? Because God knows evidence without velocity is just meaningless.


Posted by: Rousseau | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
19

In order to keep riffraff and bandwagoneers away I recommend that this be moved to replace the current banner image at the top of the page.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
20

The arguments are too wonky to gain much traction, but secret government, the unitary executive, the PATRIOT act and the suspension of habeas corpus, privatisation, class restratification, and the monopolar international order dominated by American preponderance are nullifying several centuries of American, English, and European liberalization and democratization. All we'll have left is the market economy.

Arguments about these things by nice people like us have been overwhelmed by realpolitik. In the American university there are many representatives of the realpolitik: the Straussians, much of International Relations, much of economics (economists loved Pinochet and Singapore's Pres. Lee), the pro-torture psychologists, and so on. None of them highlight or foreground their support for the New World Order, but plenty of them are happy with it and working for it.

My disagreement with Bob is that I don't see where the resistance would come from. I'm not sure that he does either.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
21

the arguments clearly aren't gaining much traction, but are they so irredeemably wonky? Maybe I'm too wonky to realize it....


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
22

I met a guy at an NEH institute this summer who admitted to being a Straussian, but he refused to show me the secret handshake.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
23

I don't think the arguments are particularly wonky, which makes it much scarier that they aren't gaining more traction.

Still, though, I think they've gained more traction among the public at large than among the elite. Which is scary in itself, since it points up how un-democratic the system is becoming. I do think we need to give things some time, though. The time from the 2008 election through about 2010 will be very telling.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
24

19: it could be a nice change of pace to have an, ummm, "riff-raff" invasion at this site (what exactly are "riff-raff" on the net?). Trolling, hit and run comments, arguments...a flurry of that would be entertaining.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
25

Off topic, but why has the bot post disappeared from the page? I read it in the feed reader, but now poof!


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
26

I do like it when judges get bitchy:

Judge Pregerson: "What does utmost deference mean? Bow to it?"

Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
27

See 11 and responses to it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
28

27 to 25.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
29

Oh. Thanks. I'm lazy. And a little confused.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
30

To most people habeas corpus is wonky. Less so when you explain what it means, but even then, a lot of people are happy to grant the terrorism exception.

Most of the black helicopter people who (rightly) worried about Clinton's attitude toward civil liberties have been giving Bush a blank check. They're jumping ship now, but the issue is immigration, and what they want to do is deport the Mexicans, or put them in camps, without trial.

Most people deal piecemeal with immediate, personalized cases. Anything beyond that is wonky. (Marcus and Katherine, yeah, you are wonks. Marcus -- you're an economist-philosopher! Who's wonkier than that?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
31

I think of "wonky" as meaning clunky, shaky, unreliable, like some poorly-constructed piece of machinery, and "wonkish" as the adjective describing the condition of being like, or suitable to, wonks. Is this me being idiosyncratic?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
32

It's you being British-influenced, which is where your 'wonky' comes from. For most Americans, I don't think the British 'wonky' is salient enough to require disambiguation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
33

The arguments are only "wonky" to the extent that the feds make them so, in order to conceal the enormity of their bullshit.

As one commenter at Volokh put it:

... as a practical matter, if the government can assert state secrets here, it means that the goverment can always violate the law or the constitution, as long as it classifies the program. That can't be right ...

Not that hard for the guy on the street to follow ... if anyone were trying to get his attention. But wait! Breaking news! Charges dropped against Lindsay Lohan!


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
34

OT, the mouseover text is too long.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
35

No it isn't. Firefox just doesn't do the right thing. You can get a plugin that fixes things.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
36

"Last time I let you borrow my car, you drove it into a river."

"No I didn't. They put the bridge in the wrong place. You can get pontoons that will avoid that problem."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
37

36: If Bill Gates can become a billionaire with that reasoning, then why can't the rest of us?


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
38

Hey, I yield to nobody in my wonkiness. I have no illusions about that. I even look wonky. But basically for the reasons in 33, I think these arguments are fairly straightforward. I mean, I know from wonky and these don't strike me as that much in the weeds. It's pretty basic stuff to our system of government.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-22-07 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
39

The government asserts that document can't be described because every aspect of it is a secret. But once it has been seen by those whose calls were monitored, it can't really be a "secret" anymore and should be admissible.

This is the same reason why the administration wants to keep various "illegal combatants" locked up - because to release them would allow them to reveal the state secret that they were tortured.

But the government attorney goes too far - surely all words could be redacted, leaving only punctuation, without revealing the secret?


Posted by: TokyoTom | Link to this comment | 08-23-07 5:15 AM
horizontal rule