Saturday, 04 October 2008

“Troopergate”: proof that “more of the same” means more of the same [Update: Oops. Looks like I shouldn't have trusted Johnson after all. This isn't Michalski's decision—it's the Defendants' brief, written by Peter Maassan, for whose clients Michalski ruled. That means this is second-class, legally-mandated snark instead of first-rate, smack-down snark.] (x-posted.) I’m probably the last person you’d expect to agree with KC Johnson—the final post in the aforelinked series is titled “Absolutely, Positively the Last Words I’ll Write about KC Johnson or Durham in Wonderland”—so when I link to his post on yesterday’s Michalski ruling, know that I do so reluctantly. At issue is the so-called “Troopergate” filing, in which six Alaskan senators sought to quash the legislature’s investigation into possible abuses of power by Governor Sarah Palin. Here’s Michalski’s summary of the events to date. The Plantiffs’ argue that the court must immediately enjoin the legislative investigation because “[a]s the nation watches, Senator French [D], Senator Elton [D] and Mr. Branchflower [are making] the Alaska Legislature and the State of Alaska a laughingstock.” On this point, and this point alone, Michalski agrees: In this politically charged atmosphere, perceptions differ. Consider: Alaska’s Governor pledges her full cooperation with the investigation, then reverses court when selected for national office. The Governor files an ethics complaint against herself, then moves to dismiss it as meritless. The announcement that a witness will disobey an Alaska legislative subpoena comes from a spokesman of the McCain Campaign. Six Alaska legislators file suit, asking the court to rule that the Legislature—their own coequal branch—has no authority to investigate abuses of power by the Executive. The Attorney General, the highest law enforcement officer in the state, advises witness that whether to comply with subpoenas is a matter of personal choice. Plaintiffs may truly believe that Alaska has become a “laughingstock,” but they should look at someone other than Defendants here for the source of the humor. Michalski then addresses the case-law behind the Plaintiffs’ argument: Plaintiffs give relatively short shrift to the legal bases for the relief they ask for, and with good reason. In support of their extraordinary request—that the court shut down a duly authorized legislative investigation in the final weeks of its life, solely to forestall a possibly negative impact on the fortunes of one political party, Plaintiffs are able to cite . . . Read the decision itself for the legal niceties. I’ll focus on the rhetorical effect: . . . Plaintiffs are able to cite: —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . —not a single case from any jurisdiction . . . Michalski’s conclusion? Alaska law is unambiguous on these issues, and Plaintiffs failure to cite it, while lamentable, is...
An American Carol: Funny or Funniest Ever? (x-posted.) This weekend witnessed the nationwide release of An American Carol, the new comedy by noted comedic genius, David Zucker.* The folks at The National Review could hardly contain themselves. Kathleen Parker wrote “it’s funny—if you like that sort of thing.” Someone who wrote to Kathryn Jean Lopez “wasn’t disappointed.” Given how fond conservatives are of extrapolating what Real Americans feel from the box office receipts of recent anti-war films, I wonder what they’ll make of An American Carol’s success. Here are the films Real Americans voted down with their wallets: In the Valley of Elah (2007) – $6.8 million. Redacted (2007) – $.06 million. The Kingdom (2007) – $47.4 million. Rendition (2007) – $9.7 million. Lions for Lambs (2007) – $15 million. Home of the Brave (2006) – $.04 million. Bombs, all of them—unlike An American Carol, which raked in an impressive $3.4 million this weekend. That’s way more than the $4.5 million the film Stop-Loss scored in its opening weekend, a dismal return which had conservatives saying: People don’t go to theaters to sit through two hours of diatribes and propaganda on their leisure time. They’re not going to spend money on it. Now we have the proof. People are giving Hollywood pretty clear message on these message films: Do not want. We told them so. You tell ‘em! People don’t go to theaters to sit through two hours of diatribes and propaganda! Except for this fellow, who thought: That was the best scene in the film and it was way too short. They missed a huge opportunity to educate there. What scene would that be? Only the funniest in the entire film: Jon Voight at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, in the shadow of where the World Trade Center once stood, as George Washington, in a most moving scene, that will have you begging Voight to do a miniseries playing our nation’s first president. That’s Kathryn Jean Lopez again, and she knows from funny. This film was so funny, Lopez is persuaded that names like David Zucker, Steve McEveety, Myrna Sokoloff, Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammar, Robert Davi, and An American Carol star Kevin Farley will one day be recognized as revolutionaries. Or would have been, were it not for the liberal conspiracy: I’d love to see American Carol if THE DAMN THEATERS WHERE I LIVE WOULD PLAY THEM. There is suppression going on . . . The theatre squashed it in the tiniest room and didn’t have many times for it. Conspiracy! The blatant attempt to crush the spirit of the GOP is palpable. I see it everywhere, even in the trailers that were chosen to play before the feature. Conspiracy! [A] moviegoer who read in the paper that AAC was playing at a Burbank theater. Upon arriving at the theater, there was no movie poster and no title on the marquee. They had to ask if it was playing. They were told it was. There was a sound problem and everyone asked for their...

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