Another criminal escapes justice on a technicality

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Interestingly, that’s not how the right-wing noise machine is approaching this story, about how some of the indictments against Tom DeLay have been thrown out. You’d think that people who have spent literally four decades decrying “judicial activism” and unjust outcomes of people “clearly” guilty, would be a-twitter that a judge and then an appeals court threw out the indictments on a technical point.

In fact, however, people at, say, the National Review think this post-facto justifies Mr. DeLay and makes it almost criminal that he was forced to step down as House Majority Leader. We should all cry for Mr. DeLay, apparently. Except of course — as even the more-friendly Houston Chronicle article is forced to admit — Mr. DeLay still faces charges of laundering money and of committing conspiracy to launder money. Those were crimes at the time (Illegal to launder money? Who knew?) — and he may still face trial on them.

The guys at the National Review take this as evidence that “the charges seem to be falling apart”, but that seems a tad over-optimistic based on the articles I’ve seen. The dismissal came because the crime Mr. DeLay was alleged to have committed didn’t come into force until 2003, whereas his disreputable actions happened in 2002 and before. It seems the courts had little choice on this one — though I’d love to know what prosecutor Ron Erle had in mind when he pressed the charges in the first place. I doubt this is as open-and-shut as it seems. All that notwithstanding, the other charges are not hobbled by the same calendar problem. Money laundering and conspiracy have been on the books as crimes for quite some time now.

Though the Review article would have you believe that the dismissals taint the other indictments, in fact, the only reason that Mr. DeLay has not faced trial yet is that the presiding judge opted to wait until the appeal of indictments was complete.

Has “the Hammer” been vindicated? Hardly.

A complicated poster.

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Yet another in the series of posters for the newly-rechristened Second Interworld War. This one is inspired by the many different posters that had streams of planes passing overhead in a not-too-subtle V formation. The purpose was to impress with the sheer excess of Allied production. And of course, the exhortation to work hard and to invest in war bonds. My poster reads “Give them the Tools of Victory: Work to Win”.

The Tools of Victory

Executing this poster took quite a bit more work than the others; the gruesome details appear below the fold.
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War Between the Worlds, and its sequel

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I’ve been making posters that, I’ve claimed, were from the First Interworld War. I’ve decided that, “really”, they’re from the Second Interworld War. The primary motivation for the change has been the realization that most of my inspirations are from WWII, not WWI. Also, this allows me to imagine, vaguely, that H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds was the First Interworld War. Here’s what I envision:

Wells’ Martians apparently did not have radio technology. It seems a pretty big lack, but who knows? Mars does not have a Heaviside layer, I believe, so the idea of long-distance transmission by radio might not have occurred to them. Also, there are signs that Well’s Martians were telepathic. If so, and if telepathy is not easily conveyed by electromagnetic fields, then they might never have gotten into that technology. If telepathy is then also short-ranged, we’d have the situation I want; to wit, that the Martians dying on Earth are unable to relay a warning about infection to the Martians at home. Since the Martians (justifiably) probably found it inconceivable that we resist their might, they might have kept chucking one or two cylinders a year as reinforcements, not knowing at first that the war was lost and later, not knowing why.

So, for the next decade or two, at random times spaced by a few months, these engines of death would come down on Earth. The Martian within would extricate the walking machine, lay waste to the surrounding area, but then eventually die from the same disease that brought down the first. Along the way, the powers on Earth would get valuable experience and technology battling the lander and then trying to recover it. This allows me to leapfrog tech when I need to, and explains the follow-up.

More below the fold.
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The Appeal of Apocalypse

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What is so seductive about the end of the world?

Evidence of the eschatonic impulse are around us everywhere. Disaster movies often reign supreme in the theaters — and the bigger the disaster (Independence Day, Armageddon, etc.) the more successful the movie. Foreign policy seems more and more a push for one last throw of the dice. Preachers orate, as they always have, of the coming of hellfire. Books like Left Behind are runaway best-sellers.

Why is it that we are drawn to the end of the world? More below the fold.

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Are you safer?

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In today’s NY Times, Richard Cohen writes a piece that praises Hilary Clinton for having the “courage” to assert “I believe we are safer than we were” (before 9/11). Mr. Cohen lambastes what he sees as the knee-jerk reaction of her Democratic rivals, who (he says) reflexively bash everything associated with Bush, even those things that are true or good. We are safer, Mr. Cohen asserts, and we should be willing to say or hear this.

Problem is, he’s flat out wrong. More below the fold.

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Ubi Dubium

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There’s a nice little piece (“Better to Be Hamlet than President George” by Peter Birkenhead) in Salon today on the value of doubt and its sad lack in today’s political culture. It’s worth a read. (Perhaps I’m a bit biased, as I chose to name my original domain “ubidubium”, from the Latin “ubi dubium ibi libertas”, or, “Where there is doubt, there is freedom.”)

More from the First Interworld War

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Researching for this(!). I came across a great book called You Back the Attack — We’ll Bomb Who We Want, billed as “remixed war propaganda”. An artist named Micah Ian Wright took World War II propaganda posters (some from the Bad Guys) and reworked them to put a Bush Jr. spin on them. It’s snarky, obnoxious, and really hilarious — though sobering in a way, too.

As a bonus, Mr. Wright included all the original, unmodified posters as an appendix. So it’s easy to see how these were used and how they could be used. I expect I’ll be pulling a lot of inspiration from this book. The first such brainchild is offered below.

Continue reading “More from the First Interworld War”