Monthly Archives: April 2007

TODAY: SCOTUS private Conference on Hamdan/Khadr; Commission Charges Referred

Today the Supreme Court holds a private conference on the Hamdan and Khadr cases to determine whether to grant cert in those cases. The Khadr reply brief may be found here; it consists of some dense legal argument detailing just why habeas corpus historically did not apply only to citizens of the sovereign. We’ll see just where that goes, if anywhere, after today’s Court conference.

Family handout pic of Omar Khadr, who is still held by US military at Guantanamo Bay. At presser today, lawyers announced they were continuing pressure on the US for access to the boy.

Above: Omar Khadr, 20 y.o., Guantanamo detainee

Also, this Tuesday, 24 April, charges on the 20-year old Khadr were referred under the military Commissions process, referred charge sheet here, and Solicitor General letter notifying the Court of the charges here. The five charges are non-capital and include: (1) murder by throwing a hand grenade at U.S. SFC Speer; (2) attempted murder by planting converted land mines into improvised explosive devices and planting them to kill coalition forces; (3) conspiracy to attack the U.S. via Al Qaeda; (4) violating 10 U.S.C. 950v(b)(25) by providing material support for terrorism; and, (5) violating 10 U.S.C. 950v(b)(27) by spying.

Materials on the Commissions, including very detailed transcripts, records of trial, and charge sheets, interactive timelines and schedules, may be found here.

More to come after the Court acts/declines.


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Filed under Afghanistan, Appellate Law, International, Islam, Law, Military Law

GiSTEQ PhotoTracker / GPS Phototagger: $99

If you, like me, take tons of pictures, and wish you could automatically record the location of each picture taken, this might just be the solution. GiSTEQ is introducing the $99 PhotoTracker, about the size of a key fob, which you manually sync with your camera’s internal clock, toss in your camera bag or pocket, and off you go to shoot pictures. When done, GiSTEQ’s included software automatically tags your photos with a “geotag” indicating the location of each picture.

Of course, this allows spiffy Google Maps custom clickable maps of your photos and where they were taken.

Prognosis: reasonable price, good solution if your camera doesn’t have built-in geotagging (typically only more expensive cameras have this option).

The GiSTEQ PhotoTracker may ordered at the $99.99 sale price here (regular price apparently $129.99).


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Filed under Photography, Tech

Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, and Hypocracy

As you know, I’m a die-hard environmentalist. I also believe that Thomas Jefferson spake the truth when he said “all Men are created equal.  And I also believe it’s true that ol’ TJ owned slaves around that same time.

No lingering cognitive dissonance there, most of us have worked through these historical demons of American history and have come to terms with what was wrong in that picture.

But back to the environmentalism: Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, who Professor Ann Althouse keenly points out (I was LOL, ROFL, however you say it, at her lovely characterization of the situation) were obnoxious and indignant when Karl Rove failed to bow to their fame and beauty, have more flaws in their campaign to promote environmentalism than a lowly industrial diamond.

Professor Bainbridge quotes Gregg Easterbrook on the cognitive dissonance between Laurie David’s frequent travel in chartered Gulfstream jets and her nasty words (appropriately, I agree, but then I don’t travel in a Gulfstream) for owners of SUVs. Easterbrook writes:

I did a few quick calculations. The mid-sized Gulfstream G200 model can carry about 2,100 gallons of jet fuel, which is made from petroleum, and would burn around 1,200 to 1,500 gallons flying from New York to Los Angeles, depending on wind speed and how many passengers were aboard. A Hummer driven 15,000 miles, the average put on a car per year, would burn around 1,250 gallons of gasoline. So for Laurie David to take one cross-country flight in a Gulfstream is the same, in terms of Persian-Gulf dependence and greenhouse-gas emissions, as if she drove a Hummer for an entire year. But then, conservation is what other people should do.

Why can’t these people practice what they preach? Why?


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Filed under Environment, Humor, Politics

Halo 2 for Windows Vista

Should you be considering Halo 2 for Vista, PlayFeed has a great rundown of the improvements over Halo 2 for the Xbox. They are many, but you can read’em after you gaze lovingly at the new Halo 2 Achievements list which, alas, unless Bungie revises their game plan, won’t appear on your 360 (unless, of course, you purchase the Vista version, in which case it’ll add to your Xbox Gamerscore).

Halo 2 Vista Achievements

The improvements, according to PlayFeed:

  1. Achievements
  2. Dedicated PC servers
  3. Custom Multiplayer Maps (create your own maps)
  4. Windows/Xbox Live built-in (includes Messages, Friends, Players, Chat, and Settings, identical — and completely integrated with Xbox Live)
  5. Supports the 360 peripherals on a PC
  6. Much higher resolution
  7. The 2 new maps (recently sold on Xbox Live for $4.00) included free
  8. PC Voice Chat integrated, precisely the same as Xbox Live Chat (and Windows Live and Xbox Live can interact)
  9. “Tray and Play”: installs completely onto the hard drive, no need to leave the disc in the player.

Enjoy, and if you’re on an Xbox/360 Halo 2, join me for a game or two. I’m, of course, HLime.

Harry out.

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Filed under Gaming, Tech, Windows Vista, Xbox 360

Spinal Tap Reunited: Warmer Than Hell!!!

Your and my favorite band is reuniting for the first time since 1992 in a 15-minute film directed by Rob Reiner and focusing on global warming. They’ll be playing Wembley Stadium in London as part of the Live Earth concerts scheduled on July 7, 2007.

One new song is featured: “Warmer Than Hell.” For those of you who aren’t familiar (astounding though that would be), This is Spinal Tap was a brilliant 1984 satire of rock band documentaries or “rockumentaries,” and starring Christopher Guest as guitarist Nigel Tufnel, Michael McKean as singer David St. Hubbins, and Harry Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls.


You’d be right if you recognized these names as the same comedy troupe that has entertained us huddles masses and wretched refuse in such subsequent (hilarious) films as Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.Here’s the lowdown on what Spinal Tap has been doing since last we saw’em:

Nigel has been raising miniature horses to race, but can’t find jockeys small enough to ride them; David is now a hip-hop producer who also runs a colonic clinic; and Derek is in rehab for addiction to the Internet.

Can’t wait.

Read more here.



Filed under Culture, Humor, Movies

$2,499, 52-inch Westinghouse 1080p LCD

Those of you who know me know that in 2006, I picked up a 42″ 1080p Westinghouse LCD for $1499 from Best Buy, had a minor techincal difficulty with it that wasn’t promptly fixed to my satisfaction. After some calls back and forth to Customer Service to ensure the problem was fixed, and after the 42″ fell off the Westinghouse production line, Best Buy was happy to upgrade me, gratis, to the 47″ 1080p LCD screen. You also know I was Continue reading


Filed under Gaming, Tech, Xbox 360

China passes U.S. as top greenhouse gas emitter in 2007

Or so Shai Oster of the Wall Street Journal writes today, citing comments by the International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol. Previously China had been expected to surpass the U.S. in emissions in 2010, but China’s burgeoning economy (increasing at more than 10% a year for the past four years) has required a revision to the estimate — China will likely surpass the U.S. in emissions this year.

This, of course, is touched on by Mr. Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, but he doesn’t dwell on the looming Chinese and Indian industrial complexes. For good reason — once those two countries’ billion-each populations take to the roads and demand production/consumer goods en masse, the U.S. contribution to the global warming problem will, relatively, appear a pittance. For now, though, our place is secure as the #1 or #2 polluter for years to Continue reading


Filed under Environment, International, Law, Politics, Science, Supreme Court, Tech

Microsoft’s upcoming "Multi-Component Gaming System”: Xbox 360 + Zune/360 Handheld + Live Anywhere?

April 19, 2007, Microsoft filed a new patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a “Multi-Component Gaming System.” Here’s the pertinent language from the summary paragraph:

Gaming components can be combined wirelessly, by wired connections (e.g., via a docking station), or a combination thereof. The processing capabilities and functionality of each gaming component in the combination is augmented by the processing capabilities and functionality of other gaming components in the combination. In an exemplary embodiment, a console gaming device is coupled to several handheld gaming devices. Each handheld gaming device is capable of utilizing the console gaming device to process gaming applications, thus Continue reading


Filed under Gaming, Tech, Windows Vista, Xbox 360

John Edwards primping

I’m not saying one way or another whether I like John Edwards, but this video of Mr. Edwards preening and primping is priceless. Take a look:

It’s also interesting that Mr. Edwards has been known to have received at least two $400.00 haircuts. I’d imagine, given the above video, that that price includes the Extended Warranty and not just the trim.


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Filed under Humor, Politics

NYT reports on Russian Press/News media

If you follow news of Russia, you’ll know that the Kremlin has engaged over recent years in an ongoing exertion of control over media outlets. All three national television networks, for example, are directly controlled by the state. The Moscow Times in 2006 reported that one newspaper that frequently published anti-Kremlin stories was purchased by the wife of the assistant to an Economic Development and Trade Minister in the Kremlin. (The minister acknowledged that he of course could not purchase the paper himself because he was a state employee.)

The New York Times has a new report detailing the depths of the muzzling effect–that even “independent” media have explicit rules imposed on them regarding what they can and cannot say:

At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

Read more here.


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Filed under International

Hilarious Onion "This American Life” Spoof

I went to high school and college with types like this. In fact, I probably was a type like this. I may still be. You know, the throngs of “bespectacled cynics prone to neuroses who are actually doing just fine”? Anyone who either enjoys, or enjoys making fun of Ira Glass’ show “This American Life” should check it out here.

I especially like the (as always) apropos Onion spoof-quote: “We here at public radio couldn’t be more pleased with ourselves.” So true.


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Filed under Culture, Humor

"One high-fat meal a day gets the doctor to stay”

The proposition might seem hyperbolic, but a new study published in Journal of Nutrition supports the proposition that a high fat meal has the opposite effect as does the proverbial “an apple a day.”

The study, conducted by, among others, the Penn State Vascular Health Interventions Lab, found that “[t]he consumption of a single high-fat meal has been associated with a transient impairment of vascular function.” What does this mean? According to the study squib, one’s consumption of one high-fat meal can cause higher blood pressure following the meal (both systolic and diastolic), as well as higher “peripheral resistance.” In practical terms, the study found that among the 30 students stested, those that had a high-fat Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, Health

Badass Halo/Masterchief Movie

This has gotta be one of the best Halo user movies I’ve seen. I enjoy Red vs. Blue, but this is just plain wacky. Plus, the fellow that made this is fantastic at putting together CGI movies. Kudos.

I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s Halo vs. Metroid and worth watching to the end.


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Filed under Gaming, Windows Vista, Xbox 360

Breaking News: The 1984 Logan Act Conviction vs. the “No indictments in 200 years” falsehood

This is a much-belated blog on a topic that is probably of interest only to those interested in the most arcane of the arcane — the Logan Act, 18 U.S.C. § 953. It’s been talked-up most recently because of allegations by some that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi potentially violated the Logan Act by visiting Syria and, according to the allegations, engaging in “negotiations” with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. By this reading, the allegations claim that Speaker Pelosi violated the Act by illegally usurping the Executive’s solitary power to engage in foreign affairs.

Of course the truth is much more complicated than that. Facts (incorrect ones at that) get bandied about that the Act has never actually been used to indict, much less convict, anyone for the last 200 years. Other claims are that the Executive’s power over foreign affairs is not exclusive, and that it is shared by Congress. And so on.

So let me quickly disabuse people of the first claim, that is, that there has never been an indictment of the Logan Act in the last 200 years. Patently incorrect. Wrong. No cigar.

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Filed under Appellate Law, Law, Supreme Court

You Damaged My Marriage: United States v. Taylor

The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (C.A.A.F.), the highest military court in the United States’ military justice system, recently ruled on a privileges issue that has widespread implications for military appellants. In United States v. Taylor, No. 06-0319 (C.A.A.F., 5 April 2007), the Court ruled that during a criminal prosecution for adultery, an criminal accused may not prevent his spouse from voluntarily testifying to admission she made to her. The opinions were notably drafted by the two newest members of the court. Judge Scott W. Stucky delivered the opinion of the court and Judge Margaret A. Ryan delivered a lone dissenting opinion. Both judges were appointed on 20 December 2006.

The facts of the case are unfortunate but not uncommon. A young couple married. The Marine stayed in North Carolina and his wife returned to Idaho to complete her high-school education. The husbands wandering eye then turned to a fifteen-year-old girl living in the same trailer park. He later admitted to his wife that he had engaged in intercourse with the underaged girl. During his prosecution the wife was called to the witness stand to testify about this conversation.

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Filed under Appellate Law, Law, Military Law