The nasty bit of lower GI gak I mentioned earlier this week has been an ongoing joy since. Yes, I saw a doctor yesterday. No, it is nothing to worry about. Just a bug, probably viral, which has kept me more grumpy and less productive than usual.
But this news made me smile:
Ridley Scott attached to return as director
Twentieth Century Fox is resuscitating its “Alien” franchise. The studio has hired Jon Spaihts to write a prequel that has Ridley Scott attached to return as director.Spaihts got the job after pitching the studio and Scott Free, which will produce the film.
The film is set up to be a prequel to the groundbreaking 1979 film that Scott directed. It will precede that film, in which the crew of a commercial towing ship returning to Earth is awakened and sent to respond to a distress signal from a nearby planetoid. The crew discovers too late that the signal generated by an empty ship was meant to warn them.
Well, that last paragraph is a rather pathetic summation of the original film. Here’s the original trailer:
Which doesn’t explain much, granted, but sure captures the feeling a whole lot better.
Anyway, having Scott involved should be good for the project. We’ll see.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here previously, but I’m a big fan of the Talking Heads. Have been since college. Yeah, I know, I’m getting old.
And while I can’t embed it here, you should go watch this video of Road to Nowhere.
But it isn’t by the Talking Heads.
And have a box of tissues handy when you watch it.
I’m sick with a nasty lower GI thing, which might explain why I think this is hilarious:
**GAH! F***ing YouTube pulled it, and I can’t get the Hulu version to patch. Go HERE to see it.**
Anyone who remembers Bill’s other spoken-word stuff will recognize this for the genius that it is.
Filed under: 2nd Amendment, Civil Rights, Constitution, Emergency, Government, Guns, Politics, Predictions, Preparedness, Terrorism, Violence
Following up to the March revelation that the Bush Administration had concluded that it had the legal authority to effectively suspend civil liberties, comes a piece in the New York Times about how they almost used that authority in 2002:
Bush Weighed Using Military in Arrests
WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.
Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
OK, so in March we found out that the Bush Administration had constructed a legal theory that would allow it to suspend at least some of the Bill of Rights. From the initial Harper’s article:
Yesterday the Obama Administration released a series of nine previously secret legal opinions crafted by the Office of Legal Counsel to enhance the presidential powers of George W. Bush. Perhaps the most astonishing of these memos was one crafted by University of California at Berkeley law professor John Yoo. He concluded that in wartime, the President was freed from the constraints of the Bill of Rights with respect to anything he chose to label as a counterterrorism operations inside the United States.
And, curiously, the author of that article did wonder about how it may have been considered being used by the Administration:
We need to know how the memo was used. Bradbury suggests it was not much relied upon; I don’t believe that for a second. Moreover Bradbury’s decision to wait to the very end before repealing it suggests that someone in the Bush hierarchy was keen on having it.
It’s pretty clear that it served several purposes. Clearly it was designed to authorize sweeping warrantless surveillance by military agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Using special new surveillance programs that required the collaboration of telecommunications and Internet service providers, these agencies were sweeping through the emails, IMs, faxes, and phone calls of tens of millions of Americans. Clearly such unlawful surveillance occurred. But the language of the memos suggest that much more was afoot, including the deployment of military units and military police powers on American soil. These memos suggest that John Yoo found a way to treat the Posse Comitatus Act as suspended.
Today’s NYT report is the first which reveals that high-level Bush officials actively considered and even advocated that the power to use the military to arrest American citizens on U.S. soil be used. In this instance, Cheney and Addington argued that the U.S. Army should be deployed to Buffalo to arrest six American citizens — dubbed the “Lackawanna Six” — suspected of being Al Qaeda members (though not suspected of being anywhere near executing an actual Terrorist attack). The Cheney/Addington plan was opposed by DOJ officials who wanted domestic law enforcement jurisdiction for themselves, and the plan was ultimately rejected by Bush, who instead dispatched the FBI to arrest them [all six were ultimately charged in federal court with crimes ("material support for terrorism"); all pled guilty and were sentenced to long prison terms, and they then cooperated in other cases, once again illustrating how effective our normal criminal justice and federal prison systems are in incapacitating Terrorists].
Greenwald goes on to argue that it is critical for the Obama Administration to renounce the legal decisions behind the Bush Administration policies:
Those are the stakes when it comes to debates over Obama’s detention, surveillance and secrecy policies. To endorse the idea that Terrorism justifies extreme presidential powers in these areas is to ensure that we permanently embrace a radical departure from our core principles of justice. It should come as no surprise that once John Yoo did what he was meant to do — give his legal approval to a truly limitless presidency, one literally unconstrained even by the Bill of Rights, even as applied to American citizens on U.S. soil — then Dick Cheney and David Addington sought to use those powers (in the Buffalo case) and Bush did use them (in the case of Jose Padilla). That’s how extreme powers work: once implemented, they will be used, and used far beyond their original intent — whether by the well-intentioned implementing President or a subsequent one with less benign motives. That’s why it’s so vital that such policies be opposed before they take root.
Just consider for a moment how the Obama Administration (or some subsequent administration) might construe this same authority to “suspend” other components of the Bill of Rights. To shut down some particularly troublesome “fringe” religious group. To impose “limited” censorship on internet traffic. To “stop the terrorism of handgun violence”.
This is the legacy of the Bush Administration, and why so many of us were so very nervous about the precedents being set by it. Because history is long, and freedom is easily lost.
Went to see the new Harry Potter movie last night (which I enjoyed), and of course had to sit through about six days worth of “Previews of Coming Attractions” (which I didn’t). In amongst the usual eminently forgettable fare they were threatening us with was one particular movie that sent a chill up my spine.
No, it wasn’t a horror flick, though it certainly looks to be pretty horrible. It was Sherlock Holmes.
Good lord, they’ve tried to turn him into an “action hero”.
Now, granted, Holmes was able to take care of himself in a fight. Sir Arthur specified this in the books & stories. He was capable with sword, walking stick, and his fists. And most of those play their part in his lore.
But this preview wanted to portray him as some steampunk version of Batman. All that was lacking was a mask and cape.
Methinks the writers (there are four of them – never an encouraging sign for a movie) heard that Robert Downey Jr was to be in the role and thought that they had to somehow connect the story to Iron Man. And no, according to the ImDB, the screenplay is not based on any of the actual works of Conan Doyle. This is what can happen when fictional characters pass into the realm of the “public domain”.
Be afraid, be very afraid.