Remember Don Siegelman? Ex-governor of Alabama railroaded by the Bush DOJ on trumped-up 'bribery' charges? (Ten-cent summary - a supporter both gave a big donation to a charitable fund in which Siegelman was interested, and was re-appointed to a board overseeing Alabama hospitals that he'd served on before, both under Siegelman and under prior Alabama governors. This is perfectly conventional politics (google the words "ambassador" and "donor" if you want a sense of how conventional), but would be bribery if the parties had explicitly agreed that the appointment was a quid pro quo for the donation. The DOJ's case that there was such an agreement depended on a guy named Nick Bailey, a convicted felon (he pleaded guilty on unconnected bribery charges back in 2003, but wasn't sentenced until 2006) whose story included, among other inconsistencies, a claim that he'd seen the check for the donation handed over at a meeting about a week before the actual date on the check.)
Siegelman was out of prison pending appeal of his conviction; that appeal has just been decided, and the Eleventh Circuit has left his bribery convictions intact, while reversing his convictions on a couple of ancillary charges of which there was literally no evidence, and remanding the case to the trial court for resentencing. It's not interesting or particularly erroneous law on a quick reading -- the tone is "Hey, man, if the jury chose to believe Bailey, they're the finders of fact -- we can't do anything about that." Which is true as far as it goes, but leaves Siegelman going back to prison.
Can we start pressuring Obama to pardon this guy? I'd like a big, noisy fuss, where people are making speeches about the strong evidence that the prosecution was politically motivated from start to finish, and explicitly tying this prosecution to all the scandalously political behavior of the Bush DOJ.
I have business elsewhere, and with a better class of person.
I will, however, return to discuss Watchmen in this thread, replete with spoilers.
Apparently, there's just no pleasing those blasted, ungrateful subjects of the Queen.
NSFW, but not in ill-taste, is a description of one of these "hey normal naked bodies look normal" type sites that seeks to promote body acceptance. In this case, boobies.
Whenever I see a site like this, I'm always struck by how wall-eyed real boobies are, as opposed to photoshopped/porny boobies, which seem to have binocular vision. I'm guessing this is because when women wear clothes and bras, our boobs are held in binocular position, because it's more comfortable to get them out from your underarms if they're big enough to bump your arms. And so when pushing fantasy bodies, and removing the clothes, the boobies are just supposed to keep that forward-facing bra-mold. And so the plastic surgeons and whoever pedals in ideal breasts keep recreating naked breasts that are held facing forward by invisible bras.
But it's kind of bizarre when I stop to think about it.
Actually, I don't have much hope. (It's not for me.) Although this is nice, at least.
But today from 9am to noon, pacific, were held oral arguments regarding prop 8. They were webcast but I didn't watch, since I was zipping about town on my NEW BIKE and whatnot. Part of that involved going past city hall where there was a large pro-8 gathering and with much smaller anti-8 gathering interspersed in it, making the whole thing a sort of gay marriage colloid. Seeing this caused me to reflect once again on the silliness of the many signs pointing out, as if it needed pointing out, that in the past (they actually say "traditionally", but I don't think that the sign-bearers can really muster an argument that this specific thing that obtained in the past should also be called traditional) only men could marry women and only women men. But of course that isn't in dispute.
I don't have time to write this up with proper care but do think this is a question that would interest the Mineshaft: Is Food The New Sex?
So the DC voting rights bill has been derailed because of the NRA's amendment that would legalize assault weapons in the District. I guess, in a way, this could be win-win either way. If the amendment is voted down, it would be a great day for DC's autonomy. If the amendment passes, DC could arm a militia and secede.
Suppose you are up in front of your Calculus II class, and you take the region bounded below by y = x3, above by y = 8, and on the left and right by x = 0 and x = 2. Then you revolve this region about the line y = 8. Why might you totally regret this example?
My drawing on the blackboard did not extend the functions beyond the region, and had ill-placed bowing curve-lines to indicate the 3-D structure of the areola.
I've found myself on the infuriating end of a few vaccine conversations lately, mostly conversations framed as though it's quite reasonable for a parent to opt not to vaccinate their child, because there's hocus-pocus in the serum that will give your child autism. And every opinion on the topic is equally valid. The other aggravating conversation is that it's reasonable for a parent to deny their daughter the HPV vaccine, because reasonable parents get wiggy at the thought of their little princess having sex.
My question is slightly different, though - why is the HPV vaccine only marketed to young girls? Everyone gets HPV, even if it can only lead to cervical cancer in women. Therefore it seems like a much more effective blockade to vaccinate boys and girls universally, with girls reaping the biggest benefit down the road. Wouldn't that take a lot of the sexual sting out of the vaccine, if it was marketed as your 11th Year Vaccine For Everyone, or something?
The "Wednesday Addams kicks ass" angle won me over.
Unrelated: on Sunday I saw Paolo Angeli.
You'll all be happy to know, you little bitches, that I am now too self-conscious to recline my seat on a flight. The various persons in front of me had no such reservations. Did I bitch or smack them? No, because that would be rude, and because I think they're entitled to recline their seat. Instead I composed scathing posts in my head about how it's all your fault.
* No love.
Continuing today's breast theme, this article from Salon, while not the greatest, talks about something that I'm sure is far more common than is acknowledged in polite society. I don't think it would be outrageous to estimate that more than 60% of women who have breastfed in the modern age have, at one time or another, had their milk sampled by their partner.
From Josh, a fascinating article on reconstructive surgery after masectomies.
This is a very personal topic for me, for reasons that have come up before. (I'm a little uncomfortable going into the backstory here on the front page. It's so public on this big white expanse of a page.)
One thing that was incredibly liberating for me was when Twisty scoffed at the idea of implants and opted to stay prepubescently flat-chested post-masectomies. (I can't find the entry that actually made a deep impression on me; that's just a similar one.) I just needed to see an example of how someone might carry that off confidently for it to be realistic for me to envision myself choosing to stay ironing board flat. At the time, the thing that troubled me most is that the reconstructed breasts look like Frankenstein mockeries of the original. I eventually concluded that after masectomies, you no longer have the option of having normal breasts when naked, and your job is to find some way to own your new body.
At this point I don't want reconstructive surgery, but it's a complicated decision with pros and cons, (although the pros are the clear-cut winner. I don't feel torn.) Possibly I'll feel differently when it comes time.
(I am definitely not looking for advice. I've known about this for a decade; most likely I've already thought through your great idea about cover-up tattoos or whatever.) (When this comes up in conversation for the first time with someone, I often get incredibly condescending advice like, "Have you thought about checking with an oncologist? Have you considered getting mammograms?" as opposed to phrasing it as a curiosity-driven question, "Do you see an oncologist? Do you get mammograms?" I'm sure there's a generous, sympathetic reason why people phrase their immediate thoughts as advice, but it irritates the hell out of me.)
I'm sure everyone's seen the upsetting news that the Obama administration has taken the position that detainees at Bagram don't have the right to challenge their detention by habeas petitions in the American courts. Despite the fact that this isn't breaking news anymore, I'm going off half-cocked here -- I haven't done the legal work to solidly support what I'm going to say below. But I wanted to post something about about it, rather than just letting it pass, and getting the law solid in a timely fashion wasn't going to happen.
The fundamental analytical structure that I understand the Geneva Conventions (and the pre-existing customary law of war which they largely codify) to apply to locking people up, is that there are really only two acceptable statuses under which a signatory can confine people. A detainee can be a prisoner of war: this means that he hasn't done anything wrong, he's just on the other side; that he may not pressured to give information; that he has to be treated fairly well under an elaborate set of standards; and that you're allowed to keep him confined until hostilities end. Prisoners of war aren't confined for punishment or for interrogation, only to disable their capacity to continue fighting. On the other hand, if you want to lock someone up, and you don't want to treat them as a prisoner of war, you have to make a legal case in front of some legitimate tribunal characterized by due process that they have committed some crime; if you can do that, you can imprison them as punishment for their crimes. There is no undefined status where you don't have the rights of a POW, and also don't have the rights of a criminal defendant.
I can see it being perfectly reasonable for the Administration to take the legal position that foreigners detained overseas during active hostilities don't automatically have habeas rights -- that would imply that POWs were entitled to challenge their status as such in American courts. So the Obama administration's position on this not self-evidently insane if you ignore the facts of the matter. But those facts are that we're not treating the detainees in Bagram as POWs. If we wanted to call them criminals, and release them to the Afghan criminal justice system rather than allowing them to challenge their confinement in the American courts, I think that would be fine. If we wanted to charge and try them ourselves, that would be fine. But we can't hold people indefinitely without giving them any rights at all, not under my understanding of the Geneva Conventions, or under any decent person's understanding of the dictates of civilized behavior.
It is barely possible that the Obama administration is still stalling while they try to figure out how, practically to unwind the mess they were left with by some means more coherent than just unlocking the Bagram cell doors and shooing everyone outside. But I'm really, really not happy about this development. Anyone who wants to talk me into why I shouldn't be angry and disappointed, either on the basis of legal argument or policy, I'm all ears.