Saturday, September 09, 2006

Constitutional Scavenger Hunt

Minnesota Law Professor Jim Chen has created a "Constitutinal Scavanger Hunt": 21 questions the answers of which can be found by a close reading of the Constitution.

You can download a hard copy via SSRN, or alternatively, the text is online here.

Happy hunting, legal eagles!

UPDATE: In the same vein, submit your best constitutional poetry. Presumably, that's anything that isn't libelous, slanderous, obscene, a "fighting word," or fraudulent. Good luck!

We Promise

Great news everyone! Kofi Annan reports that Syria is willing to police its own border with Lebanon to stop illegal arms shipments to Hezbollah. They're willing to deploy an entire battalion (600-800 troops). The border is 375 kilometers long, of course, but I'm sure this a genuine effort and not a bald-faced diplomatic lie.

Kofi Annan is so cute when he's naive.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back at Carleton

I'm back at Carleton. And I have writer's block.

Presumably, it is a byproduct of the stresses of moving back in (which is still a work in progress). Presumably the blog will get back on its feet at least by Monday--hopefully before.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Anti-Semitism Update

Jewish leaders are reporting a significant rise in anti-Semitic activity in Canada and Australia (the latter reaching record highs since data began to be compiled in 1945), in addition to the aforementioned spike in Great Britain.

Speaking of Britain, Arab Anglicans are apparently furious that the Anglican Church has decided to enter into a dialogue with the Jewish community. Not Israel, but the Jewish community.
"Senior people of the Church of England informed me that the whole event came to appease Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Israel and the Jewish lobby because of what happened at the Synod of the Church of England regarding the issue of divestment," Bishop Riah [Abu al-Assal of Jerusalem] said. "My personal opinion is that it is not the right time - given the events in Palestine and the Middle East at large."

That nasty Jewish lobby turns its head once more. Is nobody safe?

Meanwhile, via Opinio Juris, UN Watch has released a report on the first three months of the new UN Human Rights Council. Though the council was created, in part, as a reaction to the obsessive anti-Israel fixation possessed by its predecessor, it appears the new one is little better:
The imposition of public scrutiny to the election process led to some improvements: former Commission members Sudan and Zimbabwe did not seek Council membership this year, and Iran was not elected. However, the Council nevertheless remains significantly non-democratic, with a membership that includes such serial human rights abusers as China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Non-democracies control the Council's two largest regional groups, Africa and Asia, which together hold a majority of Council seats. The UN's Islamic group, the Organization of the Islamic Conference ("OIC"), dominates these two groups as well, in addition to holding more than one-third of Council seats overall and thereby the absolute power to convene the body in special session.

Regrettably, its OIC members have been more interested in using the Council to promote their anti-Israel political agenda than to promote human rights--and to the fledgling body's great detriment, they have been able to do so. They have been aided in this endeavor not only by repressive regimes like China, Cuba, and Russia but also by some of the Council's free, democratic members--Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay--from whom one would expect better. Only a minority of eleven Council members--Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom-- have consistently defended the values and principles that the Council is supposed to promote.

The result? In its three sessions to date, the Council has ignored the vast majority of the world's human rights violations. Even the dire situation in Darfur merited only passing mention by a few members, and resulted in no statement or action by the Council against Sudan. Instead, the OIC-dominated Council devoted most of its debate, 100% of its country-specific resolutions, two special sessions, one "fact-finding" mission, and a "high-level commission of inquiry" to one-sided, politically motivated condemnations of Israel. It said nothing when its subsidiary body,the Sub-Commission, broke its own most basic rules in order to one-sidedly condemn Israel as well. It also enacted a resolution on another OIC cause celebre, condemning "incitement to religious hatred" and "defamation of religions"--an attempt to legitimize last year's violent reaction to Danish cartoons and to silence Middle Eastern dissidents by equating democracy with blasphemy.

Ah, progress.

I'm leaving for college tommorow, so most of today and tommorow will be spent packing/traveling. Full time blogging will resume once I settle in Northfield.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'd Imagine Bush Feels The Same Way

I wonder just how many administration officials believe roughly the same thing:
"Let me explain the government to you. There's God, then there's the president and then there's my father."

-- Jack Roberts, 6-year-old son of Chief Justice John Roberts, overheard speaking to one of his young peers on the last day of summer camp

Via The VC

Monday, September 04, 2006


Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is calling it quits, saying that he is done with being a political leaders and admitting that his calls for peace and restraint are ineffectual.
"I will not be a political leader any more," he told aides. "I am only happy to receive questions about religious matters."
Al-Sistani's aides say that he has chosen to stay silent rather than suffer the ignominy of being ignored. Ali al-Jaberi, a spokesman for the cleric in Khadamiyah, said that he was furious that his followers had turned away from him and ignored his calls for moderation.

Asked whether Ayatollah al-Sistani could prevent a civil war, Mr al-Jaberi replied: "Honestly, I think not. He is very angry, very disappointed."

He said a series of snubs had contributed to Ayatollah al-Sistani's decision. "He asked the politicians to ask the Americans to make a timetable for leaving but they disappointed him," he said. "After the war, the politicians were visiting him every month. If they wanted to do something, they visited him. But no one has visited him for two or three months. He is very angry that this is happening now. He sees this as very bad."

This, to put it lightly, is a problem.

Ali al-Sistani is probably the most respected Shi'ite leader in all of Iraq. He has, from the start, been a voice in favor of peace and democracy in Iraq. Not that he's perfect of course. But as I wrote over a year and a half ago, "If anybody can hold the country together while negotiating a reasonable US departure time, it is him." I'm not the only one who thinks so. David Ignatius saw the warning signs a month ago, warning in July that:
He has been our crucial ally. He is very quiet. You don't see him, he doesn't give speeches, he doesn't meet with Americans. But if he decides the game is up, the game is up.

Matt Yglesias believes that Sistani could have been the "silver bullet" that got us out of this jam. Certainly, I can't imagine that he wouldn't have had to play a crucial role in the Bosnia-esque peace summit that Tom Friedman thinks is our last best hope. Even conservative Jonah Goldberg admits "it sure doesn't sound good."

No, it doesn't. And I think this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, with regards to Iraq's future.

Via Steve Benen.