Re: Showdown

1

The picks I came up with:

Round 1: B, D, F, H, J, K, N, O
Round 2: B, H, K, N
Round 3: H, K
Round 4: K: Freedom of speech


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:13 AM
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1: B, C, E, H, J, K, N, O
2: B, E, K, O
3: B, K
4: K


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:17 AM
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Round 1: B, D, E, H, J, K, N (by a hair), O
Round 2: B, H, K, N
Round 3: B, N
Round 4: B (equal protection)

Freedom of the press might have had a stronger showing if the press were actually using it these days.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:21 AM
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I demand that the amendments be seeded first!
1: A, D, E, G, J, K, N, O
2: A, E, J, O
3: E, J
4: J

Interesting to see how much of my bracket was influenced by not wanting Huckabee and the Theocrats or Rudy and the Fascists in power.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:22 AM
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1: B, D, E, H, J, K, M, O
2: B, H, K, O
3: H, K
4: K
The responses might differ depending on whether we are talking about the right in the abstract or as it's currently understood. D, per the current Court, is next to useless, for example, but it doesn't have to be.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:23 AM
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Freedom of the press might have had a stronger showing if the press were actually using it these days.

Yeah, that was one of my problems -- I ranked it high more on a theoretical basis, hoping that if some of these other rights went away, a functional press might step up to enforce them. But that's more of a dream, I suspect.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:23 AM
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Gawd, great post. I'm not sure if I set up the second round and ensuing of the bracket right, but...

1: B,D, E, G, J, K, N, O
2: B, N, E, J
3: B, E
4: B

EPC, baby!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:26 AM
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Nobody minds having troops quartered in their home?


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:29 AM
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I agree entirely with 2, except that I would pick M over N in round 1 (but M would still lose to K in round 2). A few additional comments:

Part of the issue here is that these overlap a lot. I think a properly interpreted and enforced right to free speech will pretty much take care of your assembly and free press problems. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg has famously argued that you can derive a right to an abortion from the right to equal protection of the laws.

Also, I would put more stress on procedural due process: you've got habeas corpus, but that doesn't cover deprivations of property, which can be extremely serious civil liberties issues. (To be clear, I'm not talking about so-called "regulatory takings"; I mean things like forfeiture proceedings under the drug laws in the US, or mass expropriations of the kind seen in some Communist countries, or more recently in Zimbabwe.)

Finally, I assume you're talking about judicially enforceable rights. I'd pick freedom of speech over equal protection if that meant we still had a protected right to argue for equal treatment through the political process. If instead "giving up" equal protection would imply a society without even the concept of equality as a norm that ought to be respected by political actors, that gets much more complicated.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:30 AM
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8: Not if the alternative is me being quartered in Guantanamo, no.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:35 AM
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BDEHJKNO
BEJO
BJ

J: Habeus corpus it is, though I'm a little iffy on how useful this right would be in the absence of the others; it would be simple enough for the government to show the court that you insulted the President or confessed to a prohibited heresy or whatever.

B (equal protection) would have prevailed if it had included the due process clause, but that would have been cheating (two, two civil rights for the price of one!).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:36 AM
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Nobody minds having troops quartered in their home?

It seems pretty low on the list of possible threats. Agreed that a younger me would have listed freedom of the press higher, but having watched them over the past twenty years, fuck 'em. They're gonna have to earn it all over again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:36 AM
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Okay, this exercise is no fun at all because it represents more or less what's going to happen here over the next five to ten years.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:38 AM
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having watched them over the past twenty years, fuck 'em. They're gonna have to earn it all over again.

Oddly enough, apo is in agreement with the Ole Perfesser on this one, though obviously they come at the issue from opposite directions.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:38 AM
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I found my reaction to a lot of them depended on what I imagined the replacement being. Does 'no jury trial' mean a judge or no trial at all? Does no freedom of religion mean the government can ban what it likes or does it mean a state church?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:39 AM
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Part of the issue here is that these overlap a lot

Yeah, I find my first-round picks dependent on what I want to see going into the semifinals.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:39 AM
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Round 1
B, D, F, H, J, K, N, O

Round 2
B, H, K, O

Round 3
H, O

Round 4
O

Did I do it right?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:41 AM
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I demand that the amendments be seeded first!

...or pitted against each other in a round-robin tournament. I'm not sure that a different bracketing would have changed the outcome for me, though, because B and J would have probably come out on top regardless.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:43 AM
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Round 1: BCEHJKMO
Round 2: CEKO
Round 3: EO
Round 4: E

I surprised myself somewhat by thinking of each one as which, off the cuff, did I see as more useful to defending/reclaiming its opponent. So, ultimately, I (guess I) see the right to take to the streets as being vital to getting back any of the others.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:43 AM
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As in any playoff, it's all matchups, bitches. I can't believe "Rt. to Vote" went out so fast for me, but I just couldn't pick against "Equal Protection."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:43 AM
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It's fucking crazy to think like this. If the man starts offering you choices between one freedom and another, the only possible response is, "No! I don't accept your limits and I don't accept your rules."

This is like Lord North meeting with Franklin as senior American representative in Europe and saying, "Look, as between reasonable men, we'll let you have two out of three to sort this mess out. What's it to be, life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness?" And then Franklin telling him which one the Congress is willing to abandon.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:45 AM
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Of course it's crazy. That's what makes it interesting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:47 AM
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I can't see how anything can lose to habeas corpus/right to a trial. Without habeas corpus, the other freedoms are pretty hollow; if they can throw you in jail for no reason then they can throw you in jail for any reason.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:48 AM
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You romantic British bastards. Life is about tradeoffs. If you don't choose a right, we're going to pass yours out to little Billy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:48 AM
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Round 4: O

Forgive me if it goes against the spirit of the game to criticize someone else's choices, but if there is one procedural right that doesn't do much work in the absence of substantive rights, it's the right to vote. Dictators figured out a long time ago that you can permit a convincing facsimile of free elections if you make sure no other substantive rights are respected. Also, freedom of assembly was eliminated in the first round on the way to making voting rights champion; perhaps m.leblanc's Egyptian heritage is seeping through.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:48 AM
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I can't see how anything can lose to habeas corpus/right to a trial. Without habeas corpus, the other freedoms are pretty hollow; if they can throw you in jail for no reason then they can throw you in jail for any reason.

These rights don't so much overlap as intertwine. The effective protection of one assumes a lot of the others. Or so it appears.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:50 AM
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Upon further reflection, the last clause of 25 was over the line. I apologize to m.leblanc. I was going for a joke, but it was lame.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:51 AM
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This post is part of the insidious "Bracketification of America".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:52 AM
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I thought it was funny, Knecht.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:55 AM
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25: See, I found myself thinking after seeing m. leblanc's choices that maybe I'd underrated the right to vote. Because if that means that the government would actually have to respect the results of the vote (by the power of stipulation!) then you can use it to protect the others. I think the dictatorships you have in mind probably don't really observe that stipulation, though.

Or you can keep the right to free speech and use it for your revolution, a la 19.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:56 AM
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it's all matchups, bitches

March Madness: coming soon to a detention center near you!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:57 AM
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None of the rights work as well as they could without the others. But it still interesting to see which ones win.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:57 AM
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33

Really, much of this is like asking which you'd rather give up - your lungs, your heart, or your brain? There's a reason these kinds of liberties are described as "basic" and "fundamental" - a functioning liberal democracy can't survive without all of them.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:58 AM
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Dodd speaking on the Senate floor now on FISA immunity. Turn on CPSAN if you have it.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:59 AM
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28 gets it right.

30 -- the right to vote is useless if the citizens are not informed accurately about their choices. This requires freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:59 AM
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Dodd:

"A nation of truly free men and women would never take "trust me" for an answer, even from a perfect President, much less from this one".

Eloquent speech, hard to pick out pieces.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:00 AM
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Fun post; I think my choices might be idiosyncratic, but of course I'll defend them to the death thousandth comment.

a, d, e, h, j, k, n, o

a, h, k, n

a, k

a (But I don't have to choose! Woo, first amendment!)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:02 AM
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"Today, my disgust has reached its limit"


Posted by: Chris Dodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:04 AM
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21 and 33 get it right -- the concept doesn't make sense.

Part of the reason it doesn't make sense is that there's a whole spectrum of what it means to not, legally, have a right. British law doesn't protect much of a right to free speech, and while it would probably be a better thing if it did, it's not a disastrous lack because the British government isn't overboard about censorship. Not having the right to free speech like UK citizens don't isn't a tragedy -- once you bring in tight government censorship, it starts to look like one. And you could say the same thing about any of the rest of the rights listed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:04 AM
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37: You're looking for some sort of bizarro-world sharia, aren't you?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:05 AM
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I'm done with grading, woo!

Round 1: B, H, J, O

Round 2: H, J

Round 3: H

Some of these rights don't really make sense without the others. What good is equal protection without habeus corpus? Shouldn't free speech include freedom of the press?

I wound up going with the rights that were most likely to help me win back the rights that I lost in the earlier rounds.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:08 AM
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C-SPAN doesn't seem to be carrying The Dodd.

39: I was thinking of that, too. There are plenty of places that are nice to live that don't have the same conception of rights; and it's not like the concept of rights magically protects against government abuse of power. But I didn't wanna be a spoilsport so do your bracket.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:08 AM
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21 and 33 get it right -- the concept doesn't make sense.

You guys have a real sense of whimsy, don't you?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:09 AM
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It would be fun to set this up as a double-elimination tournament.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:10 AM
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Ain't gonna write "whimsy" on the doorposts of my house.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:10 AM
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Actually, I see it's CSPAN-2. I guess that tells us a little about how much this country -- and this Congress -- really does value rights. I just cannot believe this Congress.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:11 AM
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43: Yeah, not about this stuff. Shall I tell adorable stories about Newt getting his faith in Santa completely revitalized at last night's building Christmas party? That's whimsical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:11 AM
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Both Mr.McManlypants and I were thinking about what rights would help us when the other rights back, and he wound up with assembly, but I wound up with press.

I guess I was thinking that if you have control of the information infrastructure, you can organize a protest, law be damned. But you can't organize a protest if you can't publicize it effectively.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:11 AM
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It is, of course, hard to think what it means to give up one of a bundle of intertwined rights; I was trying to think of what would be most important if the government were out to fuck you, which I imagine to be the scenario if we're giving up rights. Religion, it seems to me, has the best chance of resisting being completely squelched, and also provides a justification for assembly and some modicum of free speech. So it seemed to me the right most important to not letting the light go out of the world, so to speak, and it's really horrible to tell people what they can/can't think, so freedom of religion it is.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:11 AM
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46: I ended up watching Ron Paul campaign and look sane.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:12 AM
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The FISA courts have accepted 18,784 Presidential requests for warrants, and rejected 5. The FISA court has accepted 99.5 percent of executive requests. Wasn't that enough?....A more compliant court has never been conceived. And yet, it was not good enough for this administration.

Is this about our security, or his power?


Posted by: Chris Dodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:13 AM
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21 & 33! "No! I don't accept your limits and I don't accept your rules."


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:13 AM
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33 makes a good point -- maybe the question should be which rights are the brian, heart, lungs (i.e. can't live without), which the kidneys (pretty critical, but some sort of elaborate rights dialysis could compensate), which the appendix and tonsils (probably useful at one time but wouldn't likely be missed).


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:14 AM
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Newt getting his faith in Santa completely revitalized

This appearing in a politics thread made me wonder whether it referred to Newt Gingrich. Sounded like a big pandering move for a guy like him.

Would a politician claim to believe in Santa Claus if he was in a very close race and thought the voters were stupid enough to like him better if he did? Which many politicians, if confronted with a yes-no question on Santa Claus, would answer forthrightly yes? or evade the question?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:14 AM
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Abuse thrives on secrecy....Vice President Cheney practices a level of secrecy so baroque that in less serious times it could almost be the subject of laughter...for this Executive Branch, secrecy is power.


Posted by: Chris Dodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:15 AM
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I see it's CSPAN-2. I guess that tells us a little about how much this country -- and this Congress -- really does value rights.

Or else it tells us that C-SPAN covers the House and C-SPAN2 covers the Senate.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:15 AM
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Maybe I'll vote for the Dodd.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:17 AM
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I demand to be covered on all channels of C-SPAN!


Posted by: Chris Dodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:18 AM
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so freedom of religion it is.

That one gets voted off my island first.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:18 AM
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It really is a superb and devastating speech. One thing it makes clear is how good an issue this would have been for the Congressional Democrats to take a stand on. There's not a real security issue.

I'm going by Dodd's web site to give some $.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:20 AM
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59: Specifically, I only care about freedom from religion. The rest of that right can go take a hike. I haven't noticed any benefit yet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:20 AM
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This is a mad and brilliant post and we should get ready for the whole internet dropping by.

Shall I tell adorable stories about Newt getting his faith in Santa completely revitalized at last night's building Christmas party?

yes please


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:20 AM
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That ought to be the epitaph of this Administration, giving away freedom for no gain in security. We're not selling our soul, we're giving it away for free.

These lawsuits would reveal only one secret, the extent of George Bush's lawbreaking...and that he will go to the mat to defend.


Posted by: Chris Dodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:20 AM
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53: On the tonsils analogy, the right to a jury trial at one point was extremely important (e.g., the Zenger trial), but at the moment is not doing anything especially important in the US system (in my view). Which does not mean that it could not be important again.

Also note (per 15) that when I say right to a jury trial here, I mean "as opposed to trial by an independent factfinder such as a judge or magistrate," not "as opposed to a trial by military commission subject to command influence."


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:21 AM
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61: I picked based on what I was most annoyed about, and I think if this country got rid of freedom of religion, it would likely tend towards theocracy rather than benign neglect. Lashes for saying Happy Holidays.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:25 AM
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49: If religion is going survive anyway, why the special protection? Your argument just seems crazy, though perhaps to be expected from someone with such limited exposure to Family Circus.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:25 AM
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I would like to hear more about how Ogged ended up with A.

Rightshores:

B, D, E, H, J, K, N, O
B, E, J, N
E, J
E

huh. It turns out I'm with McManlyPants: we can win the rest of 'em back in the streets. To the blogicades!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:26 AM
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||

So, the protocol for the party is that parents deliver wrapped, labelled presents to the guy in the building who dresses up as Santa, and he shows up during the party and distributes them. Newt has been wistfully mentioning that he really needs a Webkinz for a while now, so I got him one and gave it to Santa. At the party, Santa called Newt up, and asked whether he'd been good, and what he wanted for Christmas, and Newt whispered that he really really wanted a Webkinz. Santa reached into his sack, and gave Newt his wrapped present.

Newt opened it, discovered the Webkinz, and spent the rest of the party rocketing around like an otter on speed, buttonholing adults and explaining that Santa really is magic -- he hadn't even told Santa what he wanted until right then, but Santa made it happen anyway!!1!!11!

Heh.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:26 AM
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OT: I dont care what anybody says, I really like "Showdown at Big Sky" by Robbie Robertson.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:27 AM
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it would likely tend towards theocracy

Not at the rate that I'm going to tax those churches.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:28 AM
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67 before 49. That's enough, ogged.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:29 AM
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The right to pwnage.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:30 AM
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Has anyone pointed out yet that the sad conclusion of this post is that rights are so much vapor without the sort of power that comes out of the barrel of a gun?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:30 AM
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LB, you have a really cute kid, or a really dumb teenager.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:30 AM
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68: When Roberta explained the Santa concept to Noah a couple of months ago, she asked what Noah wanted Santa to bring him. he paused thoughtfully, then exclaimed, "FOOD!" Which is odd, since we can barely get any into the skinny little fucker. Since then, the two times he's encountered a Santa who has asked what Noah wants him to bring, the answer both times has been, "PRESENTS!"

Making Santa's job easy, y'know.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:31 AM
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she asked what Noah wanted Santa to bring him. he paused thoughtfully, then exclaimed, "FLOOD!"

Fixed that.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:32 AM
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74: He's six. I figure I'll worry if the cynicism doesn't kick in in a year or so, but for now the innocence is kind of fetching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:33 AM
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73: No, mcmanus hasn't commented yet.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:33 AM
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In the UK with omnipresent state surveillance [growing at an exponential rate] it's become clearer and clearer to me that privacy is way under-rated. Privacy seems much more of a foundational right than some of the others.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:36 AM
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Has anyone pointed out yet that the sad conclusion of this post is that rights are so much vapor without the sort of power that comes out of the barrel of a gun?

I don't think you can blame this post for that conclusion.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:37 AM
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|| Everyone should use steroids,and George Bush once thought so too..

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:43 AM
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First round advancers: B, D and E, H and J, K and N,O

Then D, H and J, N

Then D, J

Then J

Habeus is the foundation of the rule of law. You ain't got that, you got nuthin'.

These are the important questions of our time, and those of you who object to this exercise are so clueless you'd probably also object to discussing who would win in a fight, Batman or Spiderman. (The answer is Spiderman, of course.)



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:43 AM
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Batman could cut through the webs with some gizmo. Plus if he had time he could design a gizmo that would make the webs just dribble out and puddle at Spidey's feet, then coagulate and immobilize him.

I take no pleasure in this. I much prefer Spidey.

Michae Keaton could eat Tobey Maguire for vespers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:46 AM
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Habeus is the foundation of the rule of law. You ain't got that, you got nuthin'.

There's not much need to gin up a violation in the absence of most of the other freedoms.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:47 AM
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On second thought, the right to vote, even if it is a real and unfettered right (not like what most dictatorships have), is pretty useless without the right to assemble (i.e. form new political parties) and the freedom of press and speech (here I am! Look at this candidate!).

You can't really throw the bastards out if there's not a substitute bastard that you know about.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:48 AM
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But you get to keep American Idol. It's a wash.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:48 AM
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B,D,E,H,J,K,N,O
B,H,J,O
H,J
J

That was depressing, imagining the nightmare scenarios possible as each successive right fails to advance in the brackets.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:52 AM
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85. Leblanc's argument about the right to vote answers widget's downgrading of jury trial @ 64. If your right is simply to a fair trial, the it only takes President Huckabee to persuade enough people that it's perfectly fair to tie people up and throw them in the river to see if they float, and you're in some trouble. Or to try people, quite fairly, in secret at dead of night. Rights to Habeas, and to a jury tend to produce my kind of fair trial, not some mystic crazy man's.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:57 AM
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The only right that matters is the Divine Right of Kings but, unfortunately, we 86'd that one already. So now I'm left defending Right Said Fred as the last defense against tyranny.

I'm too sexy for my freedom of assembly, too sexy for my freedom of assembly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:02 AM
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There's not much need to gin up a violation in the absence of most of the other freedoms.

Procedural hurdles are undersold as an impediment to tyrrany. You can always find thugs to pull a troublemaker off the streets - and absent judicial review, you can pull a guy off the streets for anything, as Bush has proved.

Creating a judicial system in which judges will endorse that conduct is not an insurmountable barrier, but it's a pretty substantial barrier.

Also: Spiderman's super strength and speed would ensure his victory over Batman. Plus, the Dark Knight is too internally conflicted - in the end, he wouldn't be able to pull the trigger on Spiderman.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:02 AM
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N is overrated - lots of extremely free countries on the Continent manage fine with inquisitorial (rather than adversarial) trials which don't involve juries at all. Juries are largely an Anglo thing. (These countries also tend to manage without P, of course.) I suspect that F, too, is not really present in a lot of countries that are otherwise pretty good.
Similarly, is there really a difference between K and L? Surely if you have free speech, you can use it to petition the government? I mean, L doesn't mean the government actually has to do anything about it. Soviet citizens could (and did) privately petition Stalin for a redress of grievances. Sometimes it actually worked.
Also, how can you have K but not H? "You can write what you like, as long as you only write it to one person at a time"?

I agree that J wins out, simply on the grounds that without it, the government can do whatever it wants to you. (Saying "ah, but with E/H/K/L you could get the rest of them back!" is cheating.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:05 AM
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78:First three horsemen, please.

Just got here, and my jaw is agape, as some wingmutt recently said. Choosing among rights is like choosing which children to throw into the fire. I want FDR's Second BoR. I choose Revolution, as always.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:06 AM
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Spiderman vs. Batman is one of those unproductive topics like abortion or gun control. How about Swamp Thing vs. The Hulk?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:07 AM
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Also, how can you have K but not H?

Teh intarnets have undercut the ability of countries to really control the flow of information the way they once did.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:09 AM
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re: 94

You really believe that? The state plus sympathetic media are perfectly capable of almost total control of information even when the internet is widely accessible.

Think about the number of people still claiming that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, or who believe that WMD were found.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:10 AM
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Hulk knows no fear, right? Swamp Thing is a better troubled monster-hero, though.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:12 AM
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the Dark Knight is too internally conflicted - in the end, he wouldn't be able to pull the trigger on Spiderman.

Au contraire. Both are gut-wrenched to the highest degree, but Batman is torn up about who he truly is, while Spidey is wracked over what he should do. It's Spidey who wastes the precious moment thinking, "I can't kill the Batman! He used to be good! But what if I let him go, and he dates Aunt May?"--and in that moment, Pow! Zap! Comics aren't just for kids anymore.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:12 AM
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97 is quite right. There is no hope any more.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:15 AM
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See, I don't really care about P, the right to keep and bear arms, but I would if all the other rights went away. The right to bear arms easily looses out to the right to vote, so it can't make it to the top of the bracket. BUT, if there were no other right, the right to bear arms would be the one I want because it would represent the only chance to get the other rights back.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:16 AM
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Kobe will safeguard our rights.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:18 AM
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I'm not at all convinced that you need the right to bear arms in order to have the opportunity to bear arms.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:19 AM
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people still claiming that Saddam

I think this is more of a bottom-up censorship than top-down, akin to preferring that a highway or something be built so that there's no need to look at the wrong side of town.

The last 5 years have really changed my thinking about rights-- the cheap camera used at Abu Ghraib did more than a ream of regulations, and the indifference to the subsequently released pictures is as powerful as a strong censor. Sure, you can release that-- maybe Z or Rolling Stone will print the photos.

When people are motivated to pay attention to a particular crime, imperfect distribution channels work pretty well; just look at all that is known about the failings of our celebrities.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:23 AM
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101: Well, you would at least need the right to buy ammo....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:23 AM
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OT question for the Brits in the room: While we're talking about imaginary heroes and rights -- did James Marsters playing Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer have an English accent worth fuck-all?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:24 AM
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Apologies to Spike the commenter. But yes, it was your appearance that made me recall the question.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:25 AM
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the right to bear arms would be the one I want because it would represent the only chance to get the other rights back

I now have the last scene of Brazil going through my head. And not the happy-ending version, either.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:25 AM
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re: 104

It didn't sound convincing to me but it wasn't the worst I've heard.

But I am hyper-sensitive to accents. I can only think of a few Americans doing British accents ever in the history of tv and cinema that didn't sound near laughably bad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:26 AM
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95:Y'all also know I have a very complicated attitude toward the law & rights. The 1st amendment did not keep Goldman & Debs outa jail, but despite that Wilson & Harding caught their fair share of shit. Am I worried about habeus for myself because of Guantanamo? Not very much. Not the the MCA etc aren't very bad things.

Thr Rights reside in the people & politics, altho yes, lawyers & courts & the documents play a disproportionate role, and elites & passionate political minorities can wield disproportionate power.
Why was KSM tortured, why has no one been punished for torturing him? Complicated enough to write ten books. Any one of the five factions in the first sentence could have stopped it.

Read that in Italy they changed the law to let supermarkets sell aspirin, and every pharmacist locked his door. The law was abandoned. If every lawyer, hell if what 10% of Amercan lawyers had struck, sat down, workstopped over habeus, Bush would have backed down.

Where do the Rights reside? Not on paper.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:29 AM
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104: According to internets legend, Anthony Stewart Head pulled Marsters aside at one point and explained that he had to work on his accent because his friends back home were making fun of him. Who knows if this is true, but Spike's accent does improve between his first appearance and his later ones on the show.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:30 AM
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I'm in Season 6 right now. Girlfriend has the box set.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:32 AM
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Huh. I never noticed anything wrong with it, but I suppose there's no reason why I would. I was quite surprised the first time I heard an interview with Marsters not doing the accent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:33 AM
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111: I was quite surprised the first time I heard Hugh Laurie speak out of character.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:35 AM
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re: 111

Brits are very very sensitive to accent. It's clichéd to say it, but, nevertheless, it remains true.

That's not to say that no-one can ever do it. I can even think of a few competent Scottish accents assayed by non-British accents, but generally, it's woefully done.

That said, some of the worst British accents I've ever heard are by other British actors.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:36 AM
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Rfts and I watched the BBC Jekyll, and it featured two howlingly bad American accents (one of which I thought bordered on racially offensive Stepin Fetchit territory).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:38 AM
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Him I knew first from Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder. But his House accent is great. I found myself nitpicking a little in the first two episodes, but I'm not sure that I would if I hadn't known he wasn't American, and after those initial episodes, the flaws I'd noticed went away. And Laurie isn't just speaking in an American accent, he's speaking something very close to my American accent, so this is high praise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:38 AM
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That's not Borat's real accent.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:39 AM
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I was quite surprised the first time I heard Hugh Laurie speak out of character.

What's to be surprised at? He's got the same accent as Lt. George as he does in real life.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:39 AM
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104: I thought it was pretty good, actually. But then I'm not a Londoner, and anyway anything would have sounded good next to the horrible accent of the woman (Druella? Drusilla?) Spike was hanging around with. Urgh.

I mean, it's not as though there are no English actresses in Hollywood. I wouldn't mind if Hollywood always had Chukchi characters played by Samoyed actresses with bad Chukchi accents - I understand it would be tricky to find an up-and-coming Chukchi actress in a hurry. (I bet there are a few, though.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:39 AM
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108c would not have worked? You can't imagine lawyers woekstopping and shutting down the criminal & legal system? There is nothing they unaminously care enough about to join in action, even habeus? Costs would have been more expensive than habeus is worth?

Whatever. Make it cabdrivers, or Muslims, or whatever. Maybe I am a crazed Green Lantern guy, but I can't help but think that Lenin & Benito & Adolf & FDR and their close allies just wanted what they wanted more than the people in their way.

FDR got taxes bumped from 28% to 70+ % in his first term. I see liberals saying 40% is impossible. Impossible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:40 AM
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I remember watching Charlotte Grey and when Cate Blanchett spoke, saying to my wife that she sounded like she was from the east coast. Maybe Edinburgh, or Fife. It then transpires a bit later in the film, that her character was supposed to be from St. Andrews.

It was pretty impressive. Johnny Depp's accent in Neverland was pretty good too. Ironic, given that his accent in From Hell sounded poor to me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:41 AM
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Laurie sounds like LB? It used to drive me crazy that I couldn't place where the hell House was supposed to be from. It was too perfectly generic.

We watched Blood Diamond and were baffled by DiCaprio's South African accent, and we weren't sure whether he did it badly or the South African accent is just that different compared to American English (a little of both, said the reviews. Friggin' Dutch.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:42 AM
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I can even think of a few competent Scottish accents assayed by non-British accents

Wow, can you? One of the main plot devices in Gosford Park was that such a thing was virtually impossible.

The all time bad accent award surely goes to Mick Jagger for Ned Kelly, although there's a scene in I forget which movie where Fred Astaire tries cockney, which was a mistake.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:43 AM
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Procedural hurdles are undersold as an impediment to tyrrany.

And equally true as an impediment to liberty. I was thinking I'd vote for habeas over freedom from quartering soldiers, but on further reflection it occurred to me that from the little exposure I've had to habeas issues, there seem to be a bunch of procedural hurdles that effectively diminish the value of that right.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:43 AM
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I don't know what I sound like enough to be sure, but he sounds like 'my people': NY/NJ, but with almost all the regionalisms sanded off by television or whatever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:44 AM
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In an ideal world* where the rights mean what we say they're supposed to mean:
A, C, E, H, J, K, N, O
A, H, J, O
H, O
H

I didn't consider later match-ups when I looked at each pairing, which led to some unusual results. For example, I really wasn't happy to eliminate freedom of speech, but if it's that or habeas corpus...

Also, I never actually said "well, with right X, we can get back Y and X pretty easily," but my thought process was strategic in another way: even if rights really are irrevocably gone in this hypothetical, some rights mean more or less in the absence or presence of others. If we really did have strong versions of rights B, D, F, H and J, a lack of right C wouldn't be all that bad. Not good, of course, but non-hellish. Take away or substantially weaken two or three of those five, though, and C becomes much more important.

In America in 2007 where the rights mean what the Supreme Court has interpreted them as for the past 50 years or so and how they have been used:
B, C, E, G, J, K, M, P
C, E, J, M
E, J
J

That looks very, very depressing. I seem to remember SCMT saying something a few months ago that's relevant -- "I hate how that angry hippy is making sense," or words to that effect. If someone can track down the original post, can we make it the rollover text?

* Ideal except for having to choose just one out of a dozen or more** pretty basic rights, of course...

** The non-Americans here have a point, some countries get by all right without explicit rights to a jury trial and a Miranda warning.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:46 AM
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Hugh Laurie is one of those actors who is much more intelligent and attractive than most of the characters he plays, and much more versatile than he first appears. He used to be consistently underestimated because of his work with Stephen Fry, who had a reputation as a very clever man and who was a bit taller than Laurie. I remember reading a magazine profile of Laurie written by a woman journalist that opened with the observation that, in writing the profile, she had learned he had once dated Emma Thompson. The journalist's initial reaction was "WTF?" but then she met him and her reaction became "WTF was she thinking to pick Branagh instead?"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:48 AM
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I found the accents in Mischief Night to be interestingly difficult to understand. I assume they were accurate (Leeds, IIRC).

I continue to think that Benecio del Toro got far less credit than he deserved for his Mexican accent in Traffic. (He's Puerto Rican.) Of course, I don't know the nuances of Mexican Spanish well enough to judge the region, so maybe he got the state/city wrong.

That said, the most unintelligible accent I've ever heard in person was a guy from Scotland. Nearly impossible to comprehend -- I literally had to look at written info to understand. I wouldn't get much out of a movie with that accent.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:49 AM
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109: That fits with something I heard Marsters say in an interview. He said that as the show progressed his accent moved to the accent that Tony Head has in real life (as opposed to the one that he uses as Giles.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:50 AM
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The right to bear arms is particularly important once all other rights have gone away. You need the ability to shoot yourself in the head when the heavily armed secret police squadron comes to your door. Every Iraqi household had an AK-47 but they couldn't even outgun Saddam's tyranny. If tyranny ever happened here, it would be much more well armed than Saddam. You're kidding yourself if you think citizens can outgun a state.

McManus's discussion in 108 is good, in that rights are actually enforced by the informal willingness of various groups to prevent their violation. Elites are one of those groups -- rights can be upheld by an elite consensus that one simply does not overstep them. When that fails, other groups must get involved in one way or another.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:51 AM
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the rollover text

Speaking of which, I noticed a few days ago that it's gone back to a rather bland one. Did this coincide with the resumption of dating, or have I just been unobservant?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:52 AM
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88: Well, OK, if the alternative is trial by ordeal, then trial by jury looks pretty good in comparison to that, too. I did say in 64 that I wanted an independent factfinder.

My issue with the modern American jury in criminal trials is that I think (ex recto) jurors tend to trust the prosecution too much, and don't really perform their function of skeptically evaluating the prosecution's evidence any better than a judge would. Though an older lawyer I respect a great deal, and who had been a state trial judge, once disagreed with me strongly on this point, so what do I know?

Also, a lot of our disagreement (as with the rest of this thread) has to do with how broadly one defines the right to a jury trial. If it doesn't include a good bit of the definition of the jury's role -- like the reasonable doubt standard and a fair amount of evidentiary procedure -- then in your President Huckabee hypothetical we're just going to have the jurors evaluating the prosecution's buoyancy tests.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:52 AM
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it's gone back to a rather bland one

It's gone back to the original one.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:53 AM
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re: 127

That said, the most unintelligible accent I've ever heard in person was a guy from Scotland.

Yeah, but there are places in Scotland where it'd be pretty hard to argue convincingly that they are speaking English in any real sense. A Doric speaker from rural Buchan or somewhere like that, isn't really speaking English. There are certainly accents/dialects within Scotland that I -- who lived there all my life and who grew up in an area where a fair bit of dialect is spoken -- can't really understand.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:54 AM
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Hugh Laurie hits his r's a little too hard as House (a common enough imperfection in American accents performed by English people) but makes a virtue of it by making it into an element of sarcastic sneer in the character's speech.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:54 AM
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There's a delightful moment, I think in Moab is My Washpot, in which Fry discusses coming out to Emma Thompson (I believe in the Footlights days, when they were showing up to play upper-class yoiks on The Young Ones), leading her to strip naked in his dressing room and ask, "Not even a little?"


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:57 AM
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If tyranny ever happened here, it would be much more well armed than Saddam.

There's that "if" again...


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:58 AM
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He used to be consistently underestimated because of his work with Stephen Fry, who had a reputation as a very clever man and who was a bit taller than Laurie.

And also, I'd think, just that the roles he got famous for (at least over here) were for painfully stupid characters. It's hard not to let that color your image of the actor. Once House hit here, I think he (Laurie, that is, not the character) was broadly perceived as quite appealing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:59 AM
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to Emma Thompson ... leading her to strip naked

I love it when she does that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 10:59 AM
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135: That's hysterical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:00 AM
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Benecio del Toro

His character's accent in The Usual Suspects is my favorite thing about that movie. Also, I wanted Brad Pitt to have three times as many lines in Snatch. I have no idea whether either one is a realistic representation of any speaker on Earth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:00 AM
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It's not just the accent in House, it's the accent while futzing around with the cane and all the other props (piano, ball, motorcycle), doing everything left-handed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:00 AM
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Yeah, I remember seeing a TV show where they were showing footage of Laurie when he rowed for Cambridge. The presenter was amazed that he was/had-been physically fit [as he was playing mostly wimpish types at the time].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:00 AM
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Yeah, whether or not it was realistic, Pitt's accent was a great stunt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:01 AM
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hard to argue convincingly that they are speaking English in any real sense.

That's really interesting. I guess this is where I get way out of my depth. I guess I was just surprised that, having successfully understood people from all over Africa (where English comes in many flavors, some much closer to American English than others), I was completely boggled by this guy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:01 AM
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140: Ooh, I think it's time to rewatch that movie.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:02 AM
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The presenter was amazed that he was/had-been physically fit

That's a build thing -- there's a type of loose-jointed, lanky big guy that can carry a whole lot of muscle and still not look like much beyond being someone who badly needs a sandwich.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:03 AM
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Is this where I profess my love of Emma Thompson?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:04 AM
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I don't see why not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:05 AM
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111
Huh. I never noticed anything wrong with it, but I suppose there's no reason why I would. I was quite surprised the first time I heard an interview with Marsters not doing the accent.

I was a little surprised at hearing him with an American accent in "Smallville," but that was completely overshadowed by my surprise at seeing how short he is. On Buffy the main characters ranged from short to average, except for Angel and maybe Giles, and those were the only two adult main characters. James Marsters was noticeably but not extraordinarily taller than Sarah Michelle Gellar. Tom Welling Jr., meanwhile, is tall enough to convincingly play Superman. The contrast was striking.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:05 AM
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129:Every Iraqi household had an AK-47 but they couldn't even outgun Saddam's tyranny.

Couldn't? Wouldn't. The increased level of post-Saddam violence tells me that Saddam was giving the people just enough, or not fucking them over bad enough, that the people chose not to revolt. I don't judge, but I recognize that it is almost always possible for the people to overthrow a gov't, but the costs are usually perceived to outweigh the benefits.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:05 AM
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re: 144

John Wells, in his huge 3 volume survey of English accents, says that the only accent/dialect he couldn't understand [and he was a dialectologist who specialised in this] was one from the NE of Scotland.

This has come up before, but you can make a pretty case that Scots, in some of the less anglicised forms, really is a different language.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:05 AM
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I will interpret the question as what rights most deserve constitutional protection. Freedom of the press seems implied by freedom of speech so I will interpret freedom of press as special rights for the professional media.

A,B - B
C,D - D
E,F - E (don't believe in F)
G,H- G (don't believe in special press rights)
I,J - J (I is obsolete)
K,L - K (L seems unimportant)
M,N - N
O,P - O (P doing fine anyway)

B,D - B
E,G - G (E seems obsolete)
J,K - K
N,O - O

B,G - B (G was in a weak bracket)
K,O - K

B,K - K (constitutional protection of free speech seems to make a difference)


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:06 AM
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135: So that's how you do it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:07 AM
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So that's how you do it.

I am so coming out to everybody at UnfoggeDCon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:09 AM
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Can I choose separation of powers over all of them, or is that too much of fighting the hypothetical?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:09 AM
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you can make a pretty case that Scots, in some of the less anglicised forms, really is a different language.

This is quite true. Plus, they have 35 words for "fry" and no word for "fruit."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:10 AM
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no word for "fruit."

That's explained by the fact that nothing other than oats grows up there, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:11 AM
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re: 156

Oh there are terms for fruit and veg collectively.
e.g

"Whit the fuck ye eatin' that rabbit fid, fir, eh? Get a fuckin pie doon ye, ya wank"


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:11 AM
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Inuits who grow up in Scotland have 1,126 words for fried snow.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:12 AM
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re: 157

Heh, actually, best raspberries in the world. Fruit growing is a big part of scottish agriculture. We just tend to turn it into jam.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:15 AM
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152: Freedom of the press seems implied by freedom of speech so I will interpret freedom of press as special rights for the professional media.

Someone mentioned that upthread. I'd say freedom of speech is protection against legal penalties for what you say individually (whether verbally or in writing, as long as it's one-on-one or to a small, specific audience), while freedom of the press is protection against penalties for what you say (write, broadcast, etc.) to a broad audience. Alternately, freedom of speech could be apply to non-political communication and freedom of the press could apply to political communication. Either way, freedom of the press is a subset of freedom of speech.

But this isn't just nitpicking, because plenty of governments impose restrictions on both, and some governments restrict freedom of the press but not speech as much. In theory it would be possible be possible to restrict speech (broad slander laws, broad public decency laws, weak privacy laws) while carving out exceptions to leave freedom of the press intact, but that's about as likely as fuck all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:19 AM
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quick hit and run comment:

what about the right to counsel? by "Miranda" do you mean the right against self-incrimination (I assumed yes)? What about the right to due process? what about the right to counsel? There are others. That aside, I'd go

Round 1: D,F,G, J,K,M,O
Round 2: D, J,K,O
Round3: J,K
Round4: K

Ouch!


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:22 AM
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135 is an excellent argument for at least pretending to be gay.

150: Couldn't? Wouldn't.

The Shi'ites of Southern Iraq beg to disagree with you. True that the Sunni tribes in central Iraq that were the heart of his support apparently never turned on him. It is certainly (obviously?) the case that a dictator cannot rule without at least the support of a determined minority.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:22 AM
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Armsmasher just made the very astute observation that we DC residents pretty much get screwed out of Bracket 8 entirely.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:23 AM
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103- I think RedFox's point is that you don't need to have the right to bear arms to actually get them. I eliminated rights that don't actually exist and pushed through the two that allowed like-minded people to gather. Assembly beat Free Speech in the final.

I understand these 16 rights are intertwined, but couldn't many of these rights theoretically be individually stricken with constitutional legislation? Except for one or two that are protected against such?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:27 AM
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I agree with ajay in that the trial by jury is basically unnecessary. You can be judged by biased people who understand the importance of the case, or you can be judged by biased people who do not understand the importance of the case and are being manipulated by professional manipulators.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:28 AM
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This discussion, along with today's Crooked Timber links to Facebook research, are causing me to increase my priority ranking of net neutrality and related issues.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:29 AM
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We watched Blood Diamond and were baffled by DiCaprio's South African accent, and we weren't sure whether he did it badly or the South African accent is just that different compared to American English (a little of both, said the reviews. Friggin' Dutch.)

The South African accent is unique. It's the most silly and least threatening accent I've ever heard from native English speakers, making me wonder if that helps or hinders the noted South African white mercenary industry.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:31 AM
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It is certainly (obviously?) the case that a dictator cannot rule without at least the support of a determined minority.

It can be the case that that minority consists entirely of the military, though. E.g. Burma.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:32 AM
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Back to the original structure -- I find the head-to-head matchups too distorting to cope with. Say you could pick four off the list? I go with speech/press, search and seizure, assembly, and habeas (the pre-AEDPA kind). Anyone else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:33 AM
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I vote for speech/press/habeas/separation of powers/guns.

I'm with the revolutionaries. Wasn't it TJ who advocated blood-letting every 7 years or so?

Shay's Rebellion style.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:35 AM
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I'm confused as to how this works. I got stuck on the first one -- how could you choose between equal protection and freedom of religion? Surely without one, the other becomes less meaningful? Similarly, speech vs. petition -- if you don't have freedom of speech, what use is it to have freedom of petition?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:37 AM
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you need substantive rights for procedural rights to mean anything--you also need procedural rights for substantive rights to mean anything. So choosing between habeas & the really fundamental substantive rights like free speech is about impossible.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:39 AM
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It's the most silly and least threatening accent I've ever heard from native English speakers

I would vote for the Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota accent to win this.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:39 AM
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Back to the original structure -- I find the head-to-head matchups too distorting to cope with. Say you could pick four off the list?

"Liberals simply cannot make the hard choices."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:42 AM
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how could you choose between equal protection and freedom of religion?

Easy. Religionists are annoying.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:43 AM
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the other question is whether the losing rights will no longer be constitutionally guaranteed but can still be established by statute, or they won't exist at all. If the former, I'd save habeas & equal protection first.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:43 AM
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170- Isn't search and seizure as inevitably subject to too much judgment, compromising its effectiveness?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:44 AM
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as *written*


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:44 AM
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I'm too cunning to rise to your bair, MCMC.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:44 AM
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173 is correct, which is why if you really have to choose then you should go with structure, and in particular competing power centers.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:45 AM
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Maybe you're just not aroused by that kind of bear.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:45 AM
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174: No no, you are confused by the fact that people from Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota are the least threatening people in the English speaking world. (Excepting Canadians, who are really the same tribe as the northern midwesterners.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:46 AM
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I'm told (by my family, who are all Buffy fans) that at one later point a script had Spike pretending he was American, and Marsters did a very impressive English-incompetent-American accent.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:46 AM
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170: I really like the Fourth Amendment, and I think it's a darn shame what has happened to it since the late 1960s, but I don't know if I could put it above equal protection.

I note you've combined speech and press -- can I squeeze assembly in there, too? If so, I think you could have a working democracy with speech / press / assembly, habeas (implying, as I think you are, a good bit of procedural due process protection for life and liberty), equal protection, and the right to vote.

It's interesting to see the contrast between the desires to save certain rights on the different grounds that they can be expanded through construction (i.e., discussions about what given rights "include"), supplemented with (nonviolent) political action, or used at (or leading up to) the barricades.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:47 AM
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173 is correct, which is why if you really have to choose then you should go with structure, and in particular competing power centers.

There are always competing power centers, under any form of government. The notion of institutional centers of power that exist in part because of commitments to the institutions--esp. after the last six years--seems a hard one in which to repose a lot of faith.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:49 AM
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184: Oh, its a great moment. He has to pretended he's a friend of Xander's. It was very well done.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:49 AM
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Apparently Unfogged agrees with Justice Scalia: we have no right to vote for president.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:53 AM
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Well, not so much that, but in the absence of supporting rights, the right to vote turns empty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 11:55 AM
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I'm too cunning to rise to your bair, MCMC

But this bait is so delicious. No hooks at all. Really!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:01 PM
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I was referring to how, immediately after I voted in the presidential poll, it vanished. Sure, it's back now, but do you expect me to trust it anymore?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:03 PM
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189- But right to vote defines a democracy. Theoretically, the right to vote allows the implementation of other rights. Assembly allows basis for rebellion.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:06 PM
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Wasn't it TJ who advocated blood-letting every 7 years or so?

Wait, will. Haven't you also endorsed the 7-year, renewable term plan for marriages?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:16 PM
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Wait, will. Haven't you also endorsed the 7-year, renewable term plan for marriages?

Yes, I have. I think that they fit together nicely.

Everyone tell Di congrats.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:17 PM
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It'll be months before I can make up my mind on what rights I am most attached to, but a question while I think:

When you say "Miranda rights" on the list, do you mean the right to have warnings read to you prior to custodial interrogation, or the rights enumerated in the warning? (to have an attorney present for questioning, to appointed counsel if you can't afford one, to remain silent) Because the warnings themselves I could give up, if need be, but the right to remain silent and the right to counsel would definitely make it to the final cut.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:25 PM
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There was a moment during the Contract of America meshugas when the Congressional Black Caucus introduced an amendment to some crime bill that was immediately voted down by the unified Republicans and not a few Democrats. It was the verbatim text of the 4th amendment.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:28 PM
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1. A, D, E, H, J, K, N (ugh), O
2. D, H, K, O (ugh)
3. D, K (sob)
4. K


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:33 PM
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Construing "Miranda rights" as silence/counsel rather than the warnings, it won my brackets:

B,D,F,H,J,K,N,O
D,F,J,N
F,J
J

It struck me going through these how easily being a member of the majority could skew ones choices. Though, oddly, I appear to have ditched the rights that protect women (equal protection, abortion) more readily than I'd have thought and focused more on rights closely related to legal process (Miranda, jury trials, habeas).


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:38 PM
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196: To be fair, is it possible at least some of them voted it down because adding it to a crime bill would be completely superfluous, it already being (in theory) the supreme law of the land?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:40 PM
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196: While there were many meshugas involved with the Contract on America, there I think you mean mishegoss.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:43 PM
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If you don't do anything wrong, you don't need to worry about the 4th Amendment. Right?

Because we can trust the government.

I love how some crazy conservatives profess to trust the government with everything but their money.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:43 PM
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Best worst American accent: Dominic West of The Wire ("I don't know why British actors are getting big parts in American TV shows. Maybe it's because we're cheap.")

Also, after watching a couple seasons of The Wire and then going back to first-season Battlestar Galactica, I can totally hear Jamie Bamber's accent, which I didn't notice at all on first viewing.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:49 PM
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I don't quite understand the full bracket system. I need a full flow chart.

Round 1: B, D, E, G, J, K,N, O

But I don't understand which ones I'm supposed to pit against each other next. Basically I think that it's a tough call between G and J. I can give up D as a separate right, because I think that it's included in G. I think that my final choice is G.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:53 PM
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196: Now the Republicans don't have to worry, because the Roberts court would strike down any bill like that as unconstitutional anyway.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:56 PM
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203: I don't quite understand the full bracket system.

I'm pretty sure the way it works is that the winner of bracket 1 goes up against the winner of bracket 2 (call that bracket 9), the winner of bracket 3 goes up against the winner of bracket 4 (call it bracket 10), etc. Then the winners of 9 and 10 face off, and so on until there's only one left.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:29 PM
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1: A, D, F (In the sense of 5th Amendment rights: you can only whip up enthusiasm for the nasty stuff when you manufacture confessions.), H (Russia today seems to have personal freedom of speech, but not of the press. People give interviews to Westerners, etc., but independent media is under a lot more pressure.) J (Can I feed the troops Ramen and have them sleep on my air mattress?) K, N (This would be pretty useless without procedures that actually let you present a case, but at least nullification would be a possibility when I'm convicted for refusing to refer to the month of April by the Turkmanbashi's mother's name.), P (You can keep your plebiscitary democracy.)

2: D, H, K, P
3: D, K
4: K

If I were arranging them serially, my 2nd choice would have been P--which leads to the unappealing choice of hiding out in the hills with a rifle and 5,000 cans of food and shouting ineffectually on a street corner.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:27 PM
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168: The South African accent is unique. It's the most silly and least threatening accent I've ever heard from native English speakers, making me wonder if that helps or hinders the noted South African white mercenary industry.

It's because South Africans themselves are incredibly scary, aggressive and heavily-armed people - even by US standards. The accent takes the edge off just enough to allow them to function in normal society without everyone else running away screaming. (It's rather like the LAPD Armored Assault Vehicle in "Dragnet" which has a sign on the end of the ram saying "HAVE A NICE DAY").

Also, have you ever heard a West Country accent? It's a mark of just how ferocious pirates were that they were still feared across the world despite sounding like that.

ttaM, perhaps an Aberdonian would rank these rights differently - "why do I need freedom of speech? No one understands a word I say anyway".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 3:59 AM
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174 -- You really need to say "oh, ish" aloud in a St. Cloud accent. Right now.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 6:05 AM
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ttaM, perhaps an Aberdonian would rank these rights differently - "why do I need freedom of speech? No one understands a word I say anyway".

Yeah, and 'right to bear arms? who'd want to come here and repress us anyway?'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 6:38 AM
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209: don't be too sure, ttaM. Aberdeen has oil. And therefore, by extension, ties to Islamo-Doric terrorism. We cannot wait for the smoking gun to be a small drunk aggressive man with a broken bottle.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 10:43 AM
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