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October 5, 2006

More blackwhite newspeak AP foxnews hogwash
Posted by Teresa at 11:28 AM * 84 comments

We have a couple of further instances (see the earlier post) of Fox News and the Associated Press identifying predatory pedophile Mark Foley (R-Fla) as a Democrat:

Matt D, in the comment thread, pointed out this screen shot preserved at Daily Kos. It shows Fox News displaying the headline, DID DEMS IGNORE FOLEY EMAILS TO PRESERVE SEAT?

An interesting new development spotted by The All Spin Zone in the Long Island Press is an AP news story identifying Dennis Hastert, GOP Speaker of the House, as a Democrat:

Nassau County Legislator and congressional candidate David Mejias (D-Massapequa) insisted on Monday that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (D-Illinois) resign after Hastert failed to act on knowledge that former Congressman Mark Foley (D-Florida) engaged in inappropriate actions with minors…
It’s a good thing All Spin Zone saved a screen shot, because where that story used to be there’s now a page that says “An error occurred. The document you are looking for does not exist.”

Stay tuned for late-breaking news from the Eastasian front.

Addenda: Reynolds gets pick of the litter.* (The actual story: here.)

On a PR site, Steve spotted an instance of (D-Fla) that’s dated September 7th.

Comments on More blackwhite newspeak AP foxnews hogwash:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Buy the book now to find out what'll happen next....

#2 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:53 AM:

Buy the book now to find out what'll happen next....

I was hoping for a happier ending, actually...

#3 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:18 PM:

No accident, no doubt: They are lying.

#4 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:21 PM:

Does anyone know where I can find a nice little "News for Non-Sensationalists" page? You know, where I can quit reading about Foley and all the other red herring-type stuff that is meant to draw me away from the stuff I really ought to be paying attention to - where can I get that?

I don't have a lot of time, so the nytimes.com frontpage is my usual skim-through standby. These days, however, the best I've got is this (which is wonderful, but not exactly a world-news roundup) and another friend's blog (which informed me that today is International Fast for Darfur Day) - the top of the NYT today has nothing that seems really important to me and I wonder what I'm missing.

I mean, I know that misreporting is important, and that Fox News is biased, and that Foley has sent some inappropriate emails, but this being all over the news now just seems like a huge cover-up plot for something (and the misreporting seems to play right into it). I may be nuts in thinking I'll ever find out what's being covered up, but still, I feel it's my duty to try.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:26 PM:

Kelley, let's narrow it down. How often do you want to check for news?

#6 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:33 PM:

If I were to pin it down really specifically, around 10:30 EST/9:30 CST each morning would be ideal. (That's about when my brain gets fuzzed at work and I need to take a 15 minute breather.) So I take that time and try to keep abreast of what's going on outside of small-town Illinois. My afternoon breather tends to focus on local news.

#7 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:36 PM:

Freedom is the right to say "religious bigotry-based partisanship plus the old-boy network equals tyranny".

Or, to jump back one book:

All Congresscritters are equal, but some Congresscritters are more equal than others.

Don't get me started: My primary literary field was 20th century utopian fiction and its relationship to Orwell...

#8 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:37 PM:

If once a day is good for you, I would suggest UnderNews and Cursor

Undernews is sometimes a bit quirky and personal (by Sam Smith, a Green) but mostly does a really good job of hitting most of the important news of the day.

URL: http://prorev.com/indexa.htm


Cursor pretty much hits everything on the mainstream news agenda minus the fluff - where Undernews sometimes leaves stuff out because of personal quirks, Cursor sometimes misses stuff because it relies pretty totally on the mainstream liberal agenda - but it is also very good.

URL: http://www.cursor.org/

My feeling that if you hit undernews and cursor everyday you are about as well informed as 15 minutes can make you.

Obviously this is not the same as more extensive sources - but you just want to keep up in a miniumum amount of time, while skipinng the dead white women, those two work well together - their biases complement in my opinion.


#9 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:49 PM:

With all this mis-identifying going on, this Commenter clearly and unequivocally wants to set the record straight: Congressman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) has stopped hiding behind kids. His new human shield is the First Lady.

#10 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Kelley Shimmin,

I'd also recommend the Rachel Maddow show on Air America radio. It's an hour or two (depends on your local station) of news and information with a very funny, knowledgable host, who makes sure to cover more than the sensational story of the day.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 01:24 PM:

Believe it or not, the World Socialist Web Site does pretty good news summaries. With a name like that, all they've got going for them is the quality of their reporting.

News of the day is up top. If you scroll down past their foreign-language options, you'll come to their News Analysis section, which does solid reporting on longer-wavelength stories.

#12 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 01:42 PM:

It just... boggles... my mind that they would do something so outrageous. It's a bad sign how often I've been boggled lately.

#13 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Thanks very much! I have bookmarked all of the suggestions and I read through today's material on the sites Gar Lipow suggested. Unfortunately I can't listen to Rachel Maddow on the air here (Champaign, IL is about 100 miles from anywhere she's broadcast) but I'll check out the streaming option.

I'm definitely going to check out the World Socialist Web Site because of the world-news focus. A good indicator of how badly I needed a clue-stick is the fact that prior to glancing at that site just now, I didn't even know that Sri Lanka was in the news. Stuff goes on all over all the time, and unless someone tells me, I just don't learn about it....

#14 ::: Pantechnician ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 02:23 PM:

With all this mis-identifying going on, this Commenter clearly and unequivocally wants to set the record straight: Congressman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) has stopped hiding behind kids. His new human shield is the First Lady.

Look at how many kids he needed to form that first human shield. I think he's figured out that since adults are larger, it takes fewer of them to form a barrier he can hide behind. During the next election, he will refer to this discovery as "increasing the efficiency of government."

#15 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 02:27 PM:

Kelley, it's also available as a podcast, though you have to pay. It used to be on from 7 to 9 in the morning, and not on any of my local stations, so I paid for the podcasts for a year. Fifty dollars a year works out to about 20 cents a day for about one hour, 15 minutes of material without commercials in it, and I knew I liked the show a lot since I had heard it streamed. It's now live from 6-8 PM., but I still listen to the podcasts because I like being able to go back and listen to the bits I missed.

Sri Lanka is in the news? Is this the civil war thing again? [[Wanders off to look at socialist website...]]

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 02:36 PM:

predatory pedophile Mark Foley

Now wait a minute. He's a bad guy, and he did some very wrong things, and may have broken the law (from what I've heard on NPR it's actually not at all clear that he did).

But it's a bit hyperbolic to call him a pedophile. Even in law, they don't use that term unless the younger person is under the age of consent (which I don't know for DC, but frex it's 16 in New Jersey, and a lot of other places). And in reality, pedophiles go after pre-pubescents, often without regard to their sex.

If the guys he was going after are under the AoC in whatever jurisdiction applies, you can call him a chickenhawk, which is fair. Sounds nasty enough. If you want to get technical you can call him an ephebophile, though that usually applies to younger adolescents.

But let's not weaken the term pedophile by applying it to guys like Foley. He doesn't rape children. T/h/a/t/'/s/ /D/i/c/k/ /C/h/e/n/e/y/./

It also muddies the real issue, which IMO is sexual harassment. What he did would have been wrong if they'd been 35-year-old staffers. The fact that they were young and trusting, and therefore vulnerable, does make it worse, of course, but it doesn't make it pedophilia.

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Don't forget BBC News. I've got its headlines under the "Latest Headlines" button on my Firefox Browser, so I can just click to see about 25 world news headlines right there.

(Apologies for multiple use of word "headlines;" I couldn't immediately think of an alternative.)

#18 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Following behind Linkmeister, I like The Guardian's World News Page. There is a story about Foley ("Masturgate", if you like) but just the one.

The Guardian also runs the AP feed along the left so there can be quite breaking news at times.

If you're looking to avoid sensationalism or overexposure, I think you are looking to avoid the US media or sites that aggregate it.

#19 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:21 PM:

Kelley: we're neighbors!

#20 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:26 PM:

Xopher at 16, thanks for your post. I am currently avoiding the lefty political blog sites, they are just having too much fun screaming "predator" and "pedophile."

#21 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:36 PM:

Retro-editing?

Mark Foley (D-Fla.) back in September?

#22 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:39 PM:

"Predator", I think, is a fair description of sexual harrassment of extremely young people by extremely powerful middle aged men.

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:49 PM:

Christopher, I'd never have used the term "pedophile" if Foley wasn't so much older and more powerful than the pages. How about if I just refer to him as a sexual predator?

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:55 PM:

Gar Lipow, I won't debate on the topic of 'predator', but I will point out that 'extremely young people' is ambiguous language, once again likely (I assume not intended) to conflate the pedophilic with the merely chickenhawkish.

Adolescents are not children. Neither are they adults. The fact that most of society assumes they must be one or the other (usually situationally selected for whichever is most to the disadvantage of the adolescent in question) is one of the ways our society is toxically warped.

#25 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:57 PM:

So ... when did the Associated Press start pitching for the Republicans? How long have they been doing this?

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:59 PM:

Teresa, as I just remarked to Gar, I won't argue about 'predator', since it sure looks like predation to me. It's the word 'pedophile' I was objecting to.

And yes, I have personal experience with being tarred with that word when the person I was interested in was not only over the age of consent, but the age of majority as well. No one can be a pedophile by virtue of being too old. An 18-year-old dating another 18-year-old is not a pedophile; neither is a 47-year-old dating either of them.

It's the huge power imbalance exacerbated by the tender age of the victims, that makes Foley's conduct so reprehensible.

#27 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:01 PM:

Gar @ 22: "extremely young people" is 5, 10 -- not 17, 18. Don't misunderstand, I despise Foley's behavior: it was predatory and harrassing. These young people come to D.C. to learn, not to be sex candy for the legislators in whose charge they supposedly have been placed. Nevertheless, I think Xopher's right -- it has not yet been proven that Foley's a pedophile, and in situations like this it's important to be clear about what we know and what we don't know.

I am waiting for someone to claim that Mark Foley must be a terrorist, in league with Al Qaida, because all this scandal in the Republican party is making the Protectors of America look bad.

#28 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:18 PM:

Sandy B. #25: I believe Associated Press has been bought out by Sun Myung Moon.

#29 ::: Tom S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:30 PM:

Michael @ #28

You're thinking of United Press International, which is now a shadow of its former self.

#30 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:37 PM:

Tom @ #29: Oops, you're right. I can't tell 'em apart any more.

#31 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Wait a minute. I think we're on to something here. If we can get the Republicans to label anyone who does something wrong and gets caught doing it as a Democrat, then that gets Bush, Cheney and all the rest of them out of office (since they were voted in as Republicans) and...

Why are you all looking at me like that?

#32 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 06:16 PM:

Faux news strikes again. If a strong argument against unregulated speech existed, this would be it. I'm waiting for Coulter to come out with another book about how this proves the left is godless.

I am definetely not a lawyer, but couldn't the DNC technically sue Faux for this? Claiming that they let this guy go on sexually harassing underage staff when he wasn't even a member of their party has to be slander at the very least.

#33 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 06:37 PM:

Jen Roth: Wow, you're in CU too? Awesome. It being a college town, I'm not too surprised. A lot of people roll through from time to time - Neal Stephenson for instance lived here for a while when he was a kid. And of course there Roger Ebert.

Nancy C: Thanks for the info on the pod casts. I might consider subscribing and listing to it while I run occasionally. (During the day and very carefully, for any would-be lecturers on safety issues for female runners.)

#34 ::: Another Damned Medievalist ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 10:16 PM:

Well, fortunately Jon Stewart gave the democrat thing a good bit of attention this evening.

#35 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:04 PM:

Oh I agree with you about "pedophile" and "extremely young". There is a difference between children and teenagers, and the infantileization of teenagers, and denial that that they have sexual natures is a big part of what is wrong with our culture. (For example parental notification laws for abortion and birth control.)

So I think we are in agreement. Foley was a 40-year old, politically powerful predator who sexually harassed young high school students. ["young" is redundant as a modifer for "high school students" since a high school student is (with rare exceptions) by definition young. But it is accurate and increases the emotional impact.]

#36 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:36 PM:

Teresa, the word you may be needing is ephebophile, or possibly hebephile.

#37 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 12:03 AM:

I get a lot of thoughtful, intelligent reporting on issues that even NPR and PBS haven't examined yet from The Christian Science Monitor. My local reading room always has a stack of the latest issue for free just outside the building, but I don't know if that's just a local thing. Oddly, there's more fluff on their Web site. URL is here:

http://www.csmonitor.com/

#38 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 12:13 AM:

Kelley Shimmin - I roll through CU fairly frequently, seeing as how I74 runs from southern Ohio, where I live, to eastern Iowa, where many of my relatives live. On a couple of memorable occasions my car has failed to roll through the CU area. Your local Ford dealership does seem to do a fairly good job of caring for elderly ailing Escorts. Somehow I failed to get much sympathy from friends when I complained of having to spend a night in Champaign.

#39 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 12:46 AM:

How much irony can you get from one webpage?

A blast from the past, courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

December 8: The U.S. House of Representatives last night approved legislation... aimed at ousting war criminals and torturers from the United States. ... It will give the Department of Justice the ability to deport those who have committed crimes against humanity, torture or murder.... 'Let's be clear - torturers are terrorists. We will no longer be a safe haven for international criminals.'"

The law's sponsor, quoted at the end there, was Mark Foley, who of course voted for torture a week ago.

Notice, this is from the gop.gov website, not the gop.com (Republican Party) website.

What, you didn't know the GOP constituted a government in itself? Now you do.

#40 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:32 AM:

Pages are 14 to 16. The age of consent in DC is 16. If Foley was careful, he didn't do anything illegal. He was wrong and a very bad man, yes, he was much older and in a nominal position of authority over the pages, but he didn't necessarily break the law.

And unless he had an open arrangement with the surgeon who is his companion, he was also immoral.

#41 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:52 AM:

According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know), the minimum age for pages has been 16 since 1983.

#42 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 02:01 AM:

#39 Every year, an estimated 800-1,000 war criminals and human rights abusers seek refuge in the United States. ... Currently, the Justice Department and Department of State do not have the specific authority to remove these people from the country or bar their admittance. This legislation closes that loophole.

Wow. That number just went off the scale in the last year or two. But what do you do when its the Justice Department abusing the human rights? Ah well, another loophole in the law...

#43 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 02:25 AM:

>If Foley was careful, he didn't do anything illegal. He was wrong and a very bad man, yes, he was much older and in a nominal position of authority over the pages, but he didn't necessarily break the law.

I'm pretty sure there are laws on the books against sexual harassment -unless Congress exempted itself from that, as it does from many labor laws. So the question is not if he was law breaker. That will be settled by an often unjust and unpredictable legal system.

The point is that he was a sexual harasser, preying on high school aged kids and some powerful Republicans (possibly many powerful Republicans) chose to cover it up rather than protect the young people under their care.

#44 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 02:50 AM:

Oh, one last point tonight. The main reason he is in legal trouble is due to a bill he co-sponsored that makes it illegal to solicit sex over the internet from anyone under 18. So even though sex with a 16 year old is legal in Washington D.C., making a date with a 16 year old over the internet is probably illegal. [There may consitutional questions, and questions of interpertation. ]

Again though, legal or not legal, it was still wrong. The Republican leadership failed in their duty to protect young people under their care from a sexual predator, by covering up his sexual harassment of high school age kids.

#45 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 03:37 AM:

I'll second Teresa's recommendation for the WSWS, with the small proviso that its articles on other groups and individuals on the far or indeed near left should be regarded as, um, one side of the story. As well as the useful news and interesting analysis, their cultural and artistic coverage is often outstanding.

A good daily portal to most of the really important news from around the world is Antiwar.com. The opinion pieces are mostly from libertarians, leftists and anti-war conservatives, but even if you detest that, the range of links to significant news stories is the best I know. My one proviso about that is, they're mostly conflict-related stories, and you'll miss Good News from the Science Front. And we all need Good News from the Science Front to keep our serotonin levels up.

Time for another coffee and cigarette, I think.

#46 ::: Francis ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 04:57 AM:

Pages are 14 to 16. The age of consent in DC is 16. If Foley was careful, he didn't do anything illegal. He was wrong and a very bad man, yes, he was much older and in a nominal position of authority over the pages, but he didn't necessarily break the law.

Wrong. Multiple reasons. The first and clearest is the sexual harassment laws. The second is that IIRC, the M-F age of consent is 16 but the M-M age of consent is 18 in DC. The third and most important is that Foley himself sponsored the legislation that makes using the internet to proposition under 18s illegal.

Ignorance is no defence in law. Particularly if the law you have broken is one you yourself sponsored.

#47 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 05:50 AM:

"Ignorance is no defence in law. Particularly if the law you have broken is one you yourself sponsored."

No, but he could take the high road morally and argue that the law is a bad one and his was a fight for freedom.

I see Mark Foley in blue makeup, yelling FREEEDOMMM!

#48 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 07:40 AM:

The second is that IIRC, the M-F age of consent is 16 but the M-M age of consent is 18 in DC.

IANAL, but doesn't Lawrence v. Texas invalidate that?

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 07:42 AM:

Teresa, your last response here made me think you were going to change 'predatory pedophile' to 'sexual predator' (which I agree is accurate) in the main post. Was that your intention?

#50 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 08:25 AM:

Gosh. I guess we were sadly uninformed, it's not the evil republican who did this terrible thing, but the secret group of gay republicans who protected him. Those canny gay people...they've infiltrated even the poor, misunderstood republican party. Well, now that I understand I guess I can stick my head back in the sand while covering my ears and singing "lalalla".

Feh.

#51 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 10:15 AM:

Zounds.

I just heard about that toxic cloud in NC. I'd like to go on record saying that this is clearly Bush's fault. Am I first?

Seriously, it'll be interesting to see if there is any difference between the response to this and the response to Katrina.

#52 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 10:30 AM:

Just noting now that the swedish newspapers when reporting on the Foley debacle actually place people as republican with some accuracy. Apparently it is possible.

#53 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 10:32 AM:

As (probably) the only government documents librarian in this crowd, I decided to look this up:

The Senate's web page on the Congressional Page program and the House's page both say pages must be 16, in their junior year of high school, and have a 3.0 grade-point average.

More here, a 3-page document in .pdf format, with a footnote referring to this one that won't open for me.

#54 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 11:21 AM:

Scott H --

I live near there, although not in the line of the cloud.

I just called a family I know who live less than four miles from the explosion site. They are ok, but are prepared to evacuate if the wind changes. (Currently it's blowing away from their house.)

Right now no one knows whose fault it is. Although there has been a string of environmental mini-disasters around here recently: lead in the water in Durham, E. coli in the water in Cary, a large smoky compost fire in Durham, a small fire at the nuclear plant if I remember correctly, and now this.

I don't know if this is funding-related, regulation-related, or whether people are just incompetent. (The three are not exclusive.) This explosion came from a private company, not a government agency or public works, and I read this morning that they had received previous warnings.

It's unlikely to be a Katrina-scale disaster; right now it's only affecting a small area. The heavy rain this morning has scrubbed a lot of the chemical precipitates out of the air, so the plume is not going to spread as much as it otherwise might. (Unfortunately that means they have been scrubbed right into the water. No word on that yet. The family I know is on well water, so I hope they will be okay.)

However, it is a mostly rich, white area (although downtown Apex, where the explosion occurred and people are evacuated, is somewhat less so). Make of that what you will.

When I heard about the evacuation this morning I was grateful that I had at least put copies of my important papers in an accordian folder with handle, so I could grab them, and the cats' carriers were ready to go -- in case the plume had spread to my area and I needed to leave. However, I still haven't really put together a jump bag, with first aid, food, flashlights, etc.

It's been a lesson to me that hazmat events can and will happen near me, even though I don't think of anything dangerous being nearby. So I need to be prepared.

#55 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 11:56 AM:

Xopher: I don't know that Lawrence would invaldidate differential ages of consent. Further, and if I were more prone to accusing people of projection, since the laws in D.C. are written by the congress, perhaps they know something about the risks the residents face; vis-a-vis, predatory attacks on males below 18.

#56 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:19 PM:

Caroline

I was just cracking wise. In hindsight, that probably wasn't so cool--sincere apologies for my insensitivity & no offense to your family or any of the other folks caught up in what is undoubtedly a miserable situation.

I AM curious to see if the federal emergency management clowns have gotten their act together any better in the last year.

#57 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Scott #56: I figured the "clearly Bush's fault" was cracking wise, but took the "Seriously...." well, seriously!

(That was said with a sincere smile, in case the tone wasn't clear over the internet.)

Luckily my own family is not affected, and luckily the people I know in Apex are all okay. No apologies necessary.

#58 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:46 PM:

Scott -- nothing has really changed in government preparedness -- this morning I read that the TSA has failed to complete and file its emergency plan.

For those who don't know, all Federal agencies are required to have an emergency plan that details what they will do to continue to operate in case of any sort of disaster (natural as well as man-made).

Right at the moment, no Federal Agency has a budget for Fiscal Year 2007, which started at 12:01 am October 1, 2006. I'm assuming Congress has passed a continuing resolution, otherwise all sorts of things, like the National Parks and the Smithsonian, would be closed.

One of the duties of Congress is to authorize the funding of Federal operations. This is done through appropriation bills. They have had eight months to do this, and not one of the 13 bills has made it to the floor.

Plenty of time for grandstanding, sexual harrassment and cover-ups, but none to do the work they were elected to perform...

#59 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:50 PM:

...ousting war criminals and torturers from the United States...

By sending them to do their thing in our secret prisons in other countries.

#60 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 02:04 PM:

#44, Gar Lipow

The main reason he is in legal trouble is due to a bill he co-sponsored ... [There may consitutional questions, and questions of interpertation. ]

Maybe I'm just being childish or churlish, but it seems to me defendants shouldn't be able to raise constitutional objections to legislation they voted for, much less legislation they wrote. If they claimed to believe it was compatible with their oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, then they should have to live with it even if it's overturned for the rest of us.

#61 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 07:05 PM:

Jen and Lois, you're right. I was remembering Washington State's rules.

#62 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 08:38 PM:

Lori, Congress passed a continuing resolution on October 3. Everything keeps running until November 17th.

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 11:18 PM:

Todd #60: I think the term is estoppal, but I don't know if it applies to criminal trials vs. legislative decisions.

#64 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2006, 10:04 AM:

Xopher #63: Estoppel.

#65 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2006, 11:16 PM:

Estoppel - from http://www.lectlaw.com/def/e040.htm

I'm not going to quote the definition; but the last paragraph is too good not to post:

>An example of the slowly disappearing tendency of the legal profession to speak in secret code. All it means is 'stopped,' 'blocked' or 'not allowed.' Not only is it bizarre but the term does not appear to originate in any known language. Our research indicates it started either as a legal fraternity's drunken prank or was the result of an unknown Judge's severe speech impediment.

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 01:39 AM:

Gar Lipow #65: I've always wondered if it wasn't some sort of influence from Spanish (A Spanish speaker would, after all, render 'stop' as 'estop').

#67 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 02:31 AM:

According to The Language of Money (by Edna Carew) Estoppel is derived from the old French estoupail meaning 'cork'; the modern French etouper means 'to stop up' (via this online reference)

#68 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 03:05 AM:

One doesn't need to be a lawyer to understand the law, but I would gently suggest that if one feels the need to preface any post with "IANAL", think twice.

Arguing against a law you yourself sponsored may be hypocritical, but it doesn't mean the law magically becomes Constitutional, or that it is possible to overturn the law except for you.

As for differing ages of consent, that wasn't directly addressed by Lawrence. Law students have to learn about the Michael M. case, in which the Supreme Court (in 1981) decided that different standards for males and females are A-OK; that holding might have to be revisted in light of Lawrence someday, but I wouldn't count on SCOTUS to be a bastion of impartial and fair legal consideration. On any issue.

Also, I understand that there is currently some question as to exactly what Foley may have done when he was at the GOP convention in San Diego. Age of consent in California is 18.

Estoppel is part of civil law; it's a fancy old Law French term meaning "You, STFU." Wikipedia has a summary that will tell you rather more than you ever wanted to know.

#69 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 03:41 AM:

#65

So, it turns out there are clear roots in French (hardly surprising, considering the language mix that was around when the system of Assize Courts was set up in England), and a bunch of American lawyers write it off as a joke.

What does that say about American lawyers.

#70 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 05:17 AM:

Gosh darn, the header said "69 comments" (that's soixante-neuf for you legal-French buffs), but there don't seem to be any of those at all!

I'm going to complain to my Congressman!

And he's a Republican, so he'll sympathize!

#71 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 09:30 AM:

Mythago #68: Michael M. decided that different ages of consent for different sexes were OK (I don't know this, but IANAL so I'll take your word). That's about the age of the young participant, right? In other words, if boys can have sex at 13 but they want girls to wait until 16, Michael M. established that that passes Constitutional muster?

What I'm curious about is whether Michael M. or any other case SCOTUS has decided establishes whether the gender of the older partner can affect the age of consent. In other words, is it OK to have a law that it's OK for a 17-year-old to have sex with a 35-year-old woman, but not a man the same age?

Again, IANAL. I gather you are (or a law student, but in any case know more about law and matters legal than I do or ever will). Does it seem possible that it could be argued that such a law amounts to a de facto outlawing of certain homosexual behavior that would not be illegal between heterosexual couples, i.e. sex between a 17- and 35-year-old, and is therefore unconstitutional under Lawrence?

I know the current SCOTUS would laugh that argument out of court, but as the American legal system increasingly fails to be a justice system, it becomes interesting to discuss what we might work for after we overthrow the jackbooted thugs that have taken over our once-glorious country.

One thing I do know: states which outlawed gay sex outright, and which specified that in their AoC laws, as of Lawrence had no age of consent for homosexual sex! They therefore presumably became a magnet for legally-conscious pedophiles and chickenhawks, which is not an outcome anyone, except possibly these transgressors, would desire.

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Btw, I looked it up. DC's AoC is 16 for heterosexuals, and is listed as "Law repealed" for homosexuals (both male and female). I suspect it's one of those that simply outlawed homosexual sex before (as if THAT has ever been enforced...DuPont Circle, anyone?). My guess is that the courts would rule that the heterosexual one should be applied.

#73 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 06:42 PM:

I was at the last Secret Gay Cabal meeting and Foley was not on the Gay Agenda. IIRC, we talked about getting quiche back on the menu at the House cafeteria (there was much talk that we would be quickly exposed by cherries flambe). I have the meeting minutes somewhere.

#74 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 07:08 PM:

No, no, guiche is a French food. You'd have to call it Freedom Egg Pie.

#75 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 01:10 AM:

In other words, if boys can have sex at 13 but they want girls to wait until 16, Michael M. established that that passes Constitutional muster?

Right. Michael M. held that, you know, girls can get pregnant and things so they need more protection. Whether it would be decided the same way today is a different question. I don't think any "Romeo and Juliet" laws have made it up to SCOTUS; the Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled that they were fine because we need to keep faggots from recruiting and stuff.

Age of consent would probably revert to whatever it was for heterosexuals under Lawrence.

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 09:00 AM:

Do you think the argument I outlined might be made under Lawrence?

#77 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Marilee (at #74), I remember reading somewhere about a day care or grade school where the students were sure they didn't like quiche--but they all looked forward to lunch on scrambled egg pie day.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 11:43 AM:

Vicki #77: Susan refused to eat my Macaroni and Cheese until I agreed that it was too savory and richly flavored to deserve that name, and called it Pasta/Cheddar Casserole. THAT she loves.

Mac & Cheese is bland comfort food, you see. not something with mushrooms and onions and herbs and spices.

#79 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 09:45 PM:

Creative renaming loops us back to Orwell, #1. The links at the Wikipedia article on 1984 are fascinating. First off is a Russian(!) site with the full text downloadable. (The novel is the public domain in Canada, Russia, and Australia - follow your conscience.) The "1984 Index" tracks the resemblance of the present day to the conditions of the novel. And for geeks, there's a link to a "++ungood" T-shirt. There's more - an MP3 radio drama, for example.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 10:02 PM:

Xopher: there's a cartoon about pasta-and-cheese in the most recent Trader Joe's newsletter. Something about when it's that rich, you can't call it mac-and-cheese. (I'll have to scan it.)

#81 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 10:41 PM:

P J Evans: I'd LOVE that! It would go up on my refrigerator.

#82 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2006, 02:13 AM:

One of the emergency foster teens I had back when I was well ended up living with me for three years. Her parents had abused her (among other ways) by forcing her to eat truly inedible items. I'd always made food without names, but suddenly I had to name things or she wouldn't eat them.

#83 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2006, 03:42 PM:

Xopher (#82): It looks like the cartoon P J refers to is on page five of this version of the Fearless Flyer.

#84 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2006, 03:52 PM:

That's the one, all right!

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