Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Everyone else seems to have an opinion on it, so...

...I thought I'd weigh in.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, we appear to pretty much be a theocracy at this point, so I don't need to talk about the first part. Freedom of speech? Not gone yet, but not exactly in a hale and hearty state. Freedom of the press? The press seems to be functioning as an American version of Pravda, or is threatened with jail if it isn't willing to go along with the government. Peaceable assembly? Sure, as long as you don't mind being filmed and watched from that point forward. Redress of grievances? Kind of tough when one party controls all three branches of the government...


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Okay, now that a "well regulated Militia" is no longer "necessary to the security of [our] free state," this amendment seems not to apply any more. Even if it does, there's a big difference between a "well regulated Militia" and every getting to have as many guns as they want to have for any purpose they for which they choose to use them.


No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

See, the news isn't all bad! We've actually stuck to this one!


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Stick a fork in this one, it's done. Apparently the government no longer needs warrants, probable cause, or any of the other nuisances described by the Founding Fathers. Don't believe me? Think about this: did the government go to a judge to get permission to listen to every phonecall in the USA- including yours?


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It says, "No person," NOT, no "US citizen," so how do we justify keeping people in prison in Cuba without the "presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury?" I'm not even suggesting that the prisoners in Gitmo are innocent, but we still have to follow the rules. The rules, by the way, that WE wrote!!


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

I might be missing information on one or two of these points, but I'm pretty sure that the "detainees" in Camp Delta (formerly Camp X-Ray) have been denied each and every one of these rights. I'm tempted to say something about a slippery slope here, but I'll hold off for now.


In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Hmm...setting aside our tendency to sue anyone for anything, we're doing okay with this one. See, MORE good news!


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Alright, let's see, in most cases we're doing okay on the bail aspect- if anything we set it too low too often. Excessive fines? Certainly not if it's a corporation or a Republican donor. "Cruel and unusual punishments?" I refer you to my comments on the 5th and 6th Amendments.


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Wow! This one might as well have a second clause which says, "Unless of course it suits your partisan agenda to deny or disparage any rights not enumerated in the Constitution. The idea behind this amendment is a good one, but it's become the red-headed step child of the Bill of Rights.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

I'm not sure this amendment could be anymore straight-forward, and yet it seems so difficult for so many to understand. Let me give you an easy example of how it works. If the state of Massachusets wants to allow for same-sex marriage, there is NOTHING the federal government can do about it. First, no power "delegated to the United States by the Consittution" forbids it. Second, nothing in the Consitution "prohibits" the states from exercising power on this matter. Third, the right to determine it's views on same-sex marriage is "reserved to the states." Finally, to bring my opinions into a nice, neat circle: if you oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, that is your right. But, the same 1st Amendment that grants you that freedom (
"...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), prevents you from using the government to put it into practice- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A philosophy I can get behind

Anthony Bourdain's summation of his visit to Bali:

"I want to stay here and eat pig until I pass out."


Sunday, June 18, 2006

USA v. Italy

Much better boys, much better. Especially under the circumstances. Now beat Ghana and give yourselves a chance to move on.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

Cornell Woolrich on why he wrote:

"I was only trying to cheat death. I was only trying to surmount for a little while the darkness that all my life I surely knew was going to come rolling in on me some day and obliterate me. I was only trying to stay alive a brief while longer, after I was already gone."

Take that "real" literature.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gracias Espana, Gracias!

Thanks to Spain's 4-0 drubbing of Ukraine today (and I thought it was going to be a good match!) the USA's embarrassing 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic the other day is no longer the worst defeat in this year's World Cup.

All of this, assumes however, that the USA gives a better effort against Italy on Saturday. Otherwise, I might have to rewrite this post.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This is why I like soccer

Mexico 3, Iran 1

NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) -- Mexico's raucous crowd left the stadium singing and chanting in red, green and white waves of unbridled joy. Oswaldo Sanchez, still mourning the death of a father who dreamed of watching him play in the World Cup, left the field with a smile.

Iran, meanwhile, missed a chance to replace talk of political turmoil with discussion of its on-field success.

Hours after the echoes of a protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime faded in this Bavarian city, Iran had hoped to salvage at least one point from its World Cup opener on Sunday.

Mexico, whose goalkeeper had to fly home on Thursday to bury his father, had other ideas, scoring twice in the last 15 minutes for a 3-1 victory.

El Tri's players rushed to hug Sanchez, who rejoined them Saturday night.

Brazilian-born midfielder Zinha, who scored Mexico's third goal, said the team dedicated the win to "our great friend Oswaldo, who is a great person."

"What courage to go through such a difficult thing and then represent your country like it's supposed to be done," said Zinha, also known as Antonio Naelson.

Felipe Sanchez died of a heart attack on Wednesday while preparing to come to Germany to watch his son play.

"It was my dad's dream for me to be here, playing in the World Cup, and I am happy," Sanchez said through a translator.

The 32-year-old keeper made two previous World Cup trips, in 1998 and 2002, but was a reserve.

Sanchez, given flowers and condolences from the Iranian team before the match, turned in a solid outing just 24 hours after returning from Mexico -- so much so that Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe said the keeper appeared "to have an angel watching over him."

Iran coach Branko Ivankovic was left to explain how his team fell apart late in the second half -- and whether politics had cast a shadow on the field.

"Nobody is allowed to discuss politics," Ivankovic said at the postgame news conference. "We are allowed to discuss the opponent, to discuss football, and in this case, to discuss Mexico."

There was plenty to discuss about that, too, namely, how Iran's late-game lapses turned the Mexican fans' bored whistles into cheers.

"Maybe the players thought that after two or three substitutions, Mexico is going to be much easier or something," Ivankovic said.

Instead, Mexico cracked open Iran's defense.

Omar Bravo's second goal of the match, in the 76th minute, put Mexico up 2-1. Three minutes later, two second-half substitutions hooked up for the clincher when Zinha headed in Francisco Fonseca's cross.

"In the first half, everyone was very nervous," Lavolpe said through a translator. "We weren't getting possession of the ball. In the second half, the team stabilized. We had more possession and that's why we won the game."

At home in Mexico City, thousands of Mexicans wearing hats, soccer jerseys and body paint in the national colors swarmed the streets and the main plaza, chanting "Angola's next! We're going to beat them."

Mexico plays Angola on Friday in Hanover, and after Sunday's win, El Tri has solidified its status as a favorite to advance out of Group D, which also includes Portugal.

After trading goals in the first half, Iran dropped as many as five defenders back from the 60th minute on. The strategy worked until defender Yahya Golmohammedi, who scored the equalizer in the 36th minute, made a bad pass.

Zinha fed the ball up the middle to Bravo, who beat goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour for the go-ahead goal. Mirzapour's poor clearing kick set up the scoring sequence for the Mexicans.

Mexico's set pieces failed to come together early in the match, but paid off in the 28th minute after a foul by Iran's Ali Karimi.

Pavel Pardo's free kick from the right side found Guillermo Franco in the box. Franco cleverly headed the ball to Bravo lurking virtually unmarked near the back goalpost. He gave it a right-footed tap past forward Vashid Hashemian and Mirzapour for a 1-0 lead.

Iran's equalizer was a textbook bit of opportunism by Golmohammedi. Mexican Sanchez could only deflect Hashemian's close-in header off Karimi's corner kick, and Golmohammedi took the ball at the top of the area and fired it just under the crossbar into the roof netting.

Jared Borgetti, who led all scorers in qualifying with 14 goals and is Mexico's top career scorer with 38 international goals, was limping when he came off in the 52nd minute and had his left thigh briefly examined by the team's trainers.

It was only the second victory for Mexico in a World Cup game in Europe, the other coming 3-1 over South Korea in a 1998 opener.

There were 45 fouls in the game, 26 on Mexico.

"I don't know why," Lavolpe said. "I have to see the video. That might just mean that the two teams tried to stop the play by fouling."