Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

France? Ireland? Begium? Mauritania? And now Italy

No, not the 2010 World Cup draw. Countries that have more faith in the ability of people paid to protect them than the United States:

Since 2002, more than 550 detainees have departed Guantanamo Bay for other destinations, including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palau, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.

Several others have departed for Bagram and other secret prisons and torture chambers, but let’s assume the DOJ isn’t double-counting here.

(h/t to Glenn Greenwald’s Twitter feed)

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Anerica’s Finest News Source Explains Glenn Beck Viewers

Passionate defenders, gather ye round:

“Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: ‘one nation under God,'” said Mortensen, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954. “Well, there’s a reason they put that right at the top.”

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Radley Balko: Optimist, not Libertarian?

Manufacturing evidence is apparently legal for prosecutors who then prosecute the case. This, at least, is the argument a couple of crooked prosecutors are making.

Radley Balko is more optimistic than I am about prosecutors:

If the Supreme Court…would essentially overturn Buckley and give prosecutors complete immunity, even when they conspire to convict an innocent person from the earliest stages of an investigation. The vast majority of prosecutors would never engage in such reprehensible conduct, of course. But it’s curious why professional district attorney organizations and government agencies want to protect the lowly few who would.

I hope he’s correct, but, if I believe Robert E. Lucas, Jr., prosecutors are Rational Actors, and therefore get rewarded by what is measured: convictions, conviction ratio, high-profile conviction, convictions for capital crimes, etc.

I didn’t notice a metric for “losing when the client is innocent” on the list. So let us hope I’m wrong and most prosecutors are less than rational. It is, in any event, interesting to see a so-called “libertarian” website arguing that some people do not work in their own self-interest.

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He’s from Georgia, but He Speaks the Language Very Well

WalterJon finds a brilliant judge’s response to a “birther” case:

The Court observes that the President defeated seven opponents in a grueling campaign for his party’s nomination that lasted more than eighteen months and cost those opponents well over $300 million. Then the President faced a formidable opponent in the general election who received $84 million to conduct his general election campaign against the President.

It would appear that ample opportunity existed for discovery of evidence that would support any contention that the President was not eligible for the office he sought. To press her “birther agenda,” Plaintiff’s counsel has filed the present action on behalf of Captain Rhodes….

The American taxpayers paid for her third and fourth years of medical school and financially supported her during her subsequent medical internship and residency program. In exchange for this valuable free medical education, Captain Rhodes agreed to serve two years in active service in the Army. She began that term of active service in July of 2008 and had no concerns about fulfilling her military obligation until she received orders notifying her that she would be deployed to Iraq in September of 2009.

Captain Rhodes does not seek a discharge from the Army; nor does she wish to be relieved entirely from her two year active service obligation. She has not previously made any official complaints regarding any orders or assignments that she has received, including orders that have been issued since President Obama became Commander in Chief. But she does not want to go to Iraq (or to any other destination where she may be in harm’s way, for that matter). Her “conscientious objections” to serving under the current Commander in Chief apparently can be accommodated as long as she is permitted to remain on American soil.

Read the whole post. And enjoy the whole decision [PDF].

Title ref:

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Hogging/Jimmy Webb Post

Ken Houghton distracts us from the important things with an examination of monopoly power, asymmetric information, and perpetuating a bad business deal.

By the time Gary Bettman got to Phoenix, his lawyer was lying to the court:

“There are three things that it takes to be an owner of an NHL franchise. One, you’ve got to be wealthy … two, you’ve got to love hockey. And Mr.Balsillie, he has got both of these in his favour in spades. Nobody’s denying that. But number three, your Honour, you’ve got to play by the rules that bind NHL owners.”

My Loyal Reader notes that NHL owners are clearly bound by something. In at least one case, handcuffs. From the WSJ, two days ago:

[William “Boots” Del Biaggio III’s] [bankruptcy] filing came amid lawsuits accusing him of fraudulently offering collateral he didn’t own to secure the loans he took out before buying the [NHL’s Nashville] Predators.

Del Biaggio pled guilty to forging financial documents in order to secure $110 million in loans from eight banks and National Hockey League owners Craig Leopold (of the Minnesota Wild) and AEG (of the Los Angeles Kings), loans that Del Biaggio used to buy his stake in the NHL team.

It’s good to see that the owners have a very strict policy when selecting owners, almost as sensible a policy as when they located a team in the Phoenix area in the first place. (Noted for the record: both the city of Phoenix and Scottsdale turned down the “opportunity” to have the Coyotes play in an arena there after the initial lease was up. Only Glendale was stupid enough to make an offer.) I guess none of them owns a Blackberry.

Webb version here.

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What Obama Means when he says "the troops"

Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss.

Andrew Sullivan points out the obvious link from yesterday’s appointment to today’s “reversal“:

It was a point of pride that the Red Cross would never be allowed in the door, Jeff says. This is important because it defied the Geneva Conventions, which require that the Red Cross have access to military prisons. “Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. ‘Will they ever be allowed in here?’ And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in — they won’t have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators.”

People keep telling me that America is a better place since 20 January 2009. As with the claims of economic recovery “right around the corner,” there is precious little evidence.

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My Job Application Letter

Dear Philadelphia Inquirer,

I also am a native of the City of Brotherly Love. The last two firms at which I have worked have lost billions of dollars.

While I admit that—unlike your latest columnist—I am not responsible for that happening, I believe this qualifies me to write a monthly column for you. While I understand that you must keep the amount you pay for the column secret from the workers who took $25/week pay cuts in an effort to save the paper, I believe that we can quickly agree to an amount in the neighborhood of the $1,750 you pay Rick Santorum, whose Philadelphia ties are much more suspect than mine.

I will, of course, write columns for you specifying that the current financial system is in perfect order, functioning precisely as it should. This should give my column the same truthiness that Mr. Santorum and your latest columnist bring to your august institution, and “promote further discourse.”

You can reach me via this blog. I look forward to receiving a contract.


Ken Houghton

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