The recent hijacking of an US-flagged ship and subsequent rescue of its captain by Navy SEAL sharpshooters has finally brought the ongoing piracy in the Gulf of Aden to the front of Americans' minds. While Somali piracy has been happening since the early 1990's, it has clearly escalated over the last few years. Given that the Gulf of Aden is part of the Suez Canal, avoiding it for shipping is not a viable option. Each year, 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden, including 12% of the world's oil supply. The Suez Canal was built because the alternatives were poor. With the almost complete absence of a functioning government in Somalia, expecting help from the land is a fool's hope. And sending troops ashore to deal with the pirates on land doesn't seem likely. Does anyone remember what happened the last time we had soldiers in Somalia?
Thursday, Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty and allocated to a $65 billion ponzi scheme that he had been running for decades. The plea makes him legally guilty of eleven counts including fraud, perjury and money laundering. He will be sentenced June 16th, and could receive as long as 150 years in jail. Given his age of 70, even if the judge goes easy on him it will surely amount to a life sentence. Given the situation, why would he plead guilty? What's the upside to him for doing so?
Last week, President Obama signed an order to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within the next year. This would be very good. Gitmo has come to reflect everything that was unseemly about Bush's foreign policy, and getting past it would be good both for the United States itself, and for the way we areviewed by the rest of the world. Now, however, comes the hard part: actually getting it done.
Sometimes it's fun to imagine what it would be like to be President of the United States. Actually, being dictator would allow me the latitude I'd really want. I've always liked the title "Tsar". In any case, I'm neither arrogant enough to think I could be elected to any office above County Animal Control Officer, nor foolish enough to want to take my family and I through the process. But what if something silly happened and I were somehow elected President? Maybe some crazy Internet stunt that got out of hand. What would I do my first full day in the White House?
At the start of the month, I posted the Best Names of 2008, a list of names of people that went through a central Texas courthouse during 2008. I'm now pleased to share with you the best names from previous years. Just Plain Wrong
- Abcde (Ab – sa - duh)
- Neewollah (Halloween spelled backward, Mother was Wiccan)
- Shatiria Mist (Conceived in a washateria and mother relinquished parental rights in a washateria)
What follows are actual names of people that came through a central Texas courthouse during 2008. Frankly, I don't think any more of an introduction is needed. The names speak for themselves. Names Are Destiny Eroin, charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, to-wit: heroin Margarita Lyons, charged with her 5th DWI
As the end of the George W. Bush presidency approaches, presidential pardon season has begun. While the number of pardons Bush has granted during his two terms has been relatively low, last week he issued fourteen pardons and commuted a pair of sentences to mostly obscure offenders. And earlier in his presidency, Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence. [...]