International House of Dan: December 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dan's 2006 List of Christmas Demands

Preliminary Note: In the past, this list has been made available via email to a select crowd. I have decided to be more inclusive and share with any and all of you the opportunity to revel in the joy that is giving Dan presents. You are not all expected to get me all of the things on this list, it only matters that they are all gotten; if one of you wishes to tackle the whole thing, that's ok, and it's ok if each of you takes on a single item. I only ask that each of you finds the gift level you feel is appropriate... and then exceeds it! Happy Holidays.

It is that time of year again, when all of you begin scratching your heads for ideas of what to get me for the Holidays. In keeping with tradition, I will help you decide not just if, but what to get me by issuing the following List of Christmas Demands:

1. A Job. Yes, my recurring cycle of unemployment has become as well known to you as it has become annoying to me. One of you should find me a great job that will pay well and make me happy. I suggest you begin with any organization for which a link is provided on this page (the CAICC does not count... I said "that will pay well"!!). One caveat: the job should be in Chicago, as the CAICC will not further establish and run itself.

2. Money. In lieu of employment, the purpose of it will suffice. I ask that you stick to conventional currencies (USD, Euro, gold ingots, etc.) but other items of monetary value will do as well (barrels of crude, manganese nodules, stocks and bonds, etc.). Just remember the conversion rates for your more exotic currencies... (I will not be fooled by 1,500 Lebanese Pounds, 2,000 Colombian Pesos, 4,000 Zambian Kwacha, or even 9,000 Indonesian Rupiahs, I know they're all just under $1 USD!!).

3. Books. I like books, but not all books. I'm picky about books, so I tend to shop for obscure little reads that nobody else likes at used book stores that sell them for far less than they are worth. One of the best of these is New York's Strand, and I have made the following selections in no particular order (do not worry about duplicating a selection, they are excellent about exchanges and I promise I'll exchange the other person's, not yours!):

a. "The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law" by William Schabas
b. "Can God and Caesar Coexist?: Balancing Religious Freedom and International Law" by Robert Drinan
c. "The Concept of Aggression in International Law" by A.J. Thomas, et al
d. "Active Liberty: Interpreting our Democratic Constitution" by Justice Breyer
e. "All the Liberties but One: Civil Liberties in Wartime" by Chief Justice Rehnquist
f. "The International Criminal Court, Ethics, and Global Justice: The Politics of Criminalizing Violence" by Steven Roach
g. "Between Law and Custom: High and Low Legal Cultures in the Lands of the British Diaspora - The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 1600-1900" by Peter Karstan
h. "The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals" by E.P. Evans
i. "The International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility: Introduction, Text, and Commentaries" by James Crawford
j. "1688: A Global History" by James Wills
k. "The Law of Nations: An Introduction to the International Law of Peace" by Brierly (any non-fiction book entitled "The Law of Nations" is a safe bet, the older
the better!
l. "Cause Lawyering: Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities" by Sarat and Sheingold
m. "Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure" by William Bolitho
n. "Man on trial: History-Making Trials From Socrates to Oppenheimer" by Gerald Dickler

This list is by no means exclusive, just intended to provide a sampling of the books I demand to receive as gifts for the holidays.

4. Clothes. They come in handy, what can I say, but again... I can be picky. Most of you know how I dress, but if you don't, do not despair; I can always find something I like. Make my life easier by sticking with sports or political attire I will find funny and agreeable, or gift cards from stores with a variety of items and styles.

5. "The Simpsons" Gear. DVD's, collectibles, games, apparel... these are always a good bet.

6. Trips. I can have a pretty nice time just about anywhere. Seeing as I don't know what the vacation and leave policy will be on the job one of you gets me, it's best to stick with weekend getaways and open-ended dates. I expect lodging to be included, though a meal stipend is not necessary.

7. "Statue of Frogs". One of my professors in law school had a small metal figurine on his desk, it was three frogs dancing on a base that read "Statue of Frogs" (a brilliant play on UCC 2-201!!). I have searched far and wide for one of these, but to no avail. I want one.

8. Movies. I enjoy movies, but I never get to go to them because I always end up getting sidetracked ($10 a ticket?!?!). As a result, I end up catching films when they are edited and aired on TV or when somebody rents them months after I first said "that looks good, I should go see it". If you've ever heard me say a movie looked like it was worth seeing, go ahead and buy it, the odds are good I never got around to it. Stick to DVD's, my apartment is too small for VHS.

9. Music. My music taste is too difficult to explain, I don't fully understand it myself. Music is not a big priority in my life. If you feel the need to buy me music, I suggest "gift card" type downloads, but only after somebody gets me a new MP3 playing device. My old one got wet in the rain and now it skips songs and shocks my ears. Not a pleasant feeling.

10. Food and Drink. These always make for good gifts. My only rule is: no vegetables. Vegetables are not food, vegetables are what food eats.

Happy shopping, and check back soon for regular content.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Mayor's Name Is Hippo

As if anybody needed a reason to visit Altoona, PA, here is a reason not to. I think the last paragraph is especially telling: an undocumented immigrant who was brought to Altoona as a child is believed to have killed 3 people at the age of 27... clearly it was his Dominican roots and lack of green card that caused it, and not having been raised in Altoona. Not to mention that, having been outside a nightclub or two in my day, I can't help but think the "victims" do not merit a law in their honor; it's not like they were shot outside an orphanage that they were volunteering at...

For other examples of reactionary and bigoted responses to an irrational fear of immigrants, I refer you to The Simpsons.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Congressional Circumvention Corrected

President Bush announced earlier today that he had accepted the resignation of (soon to be "former") US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Following a controversial March 2005 nomination (and much to my chagrin) Bolton had been appointed to the post in August of last year while the Senate was in recess. Bolton was among the many controversial nominees proposed by the President during his "mandate period" in the wake of the 2004 elections. When strong opposition in the Senate made Bolton's confirmation unlikely, Bush did what any "decider" would do: wait until the Senate goes on recess.

As you may recall from high school civics class, Article II of the US Constitution provides in part that "[t]he President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session." As a result, Mr. Bolton's recess appointment was set to end with Republican control in the Senate (along with any chance for Mr. Bush to get him confirmed).

In a letter to the President dated last Friday, Bolton praised Bush's leadership as "critical in safeguarding America's values and interests in a time of peril and challenge". The resignation letter to Mr. Bush did not say that "it's not you, it's me", perhaps because Bolton knows that both he and Bush are equally to blame. If it is any consolation to Mr. Bolton, I don't have a job either; and if it's any consolation to Mr. Bush, I'd be happy to fill the UN Ambassador position until a replacement can be found.

In related news, has not yet announced plans for the future.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Augusto Pinochet, 1915-2006??

Former Chilean dictator and disincentive to future tyrants everywhere, Augusto Pinochet, suffered a heart attack that is being described as "life-threatening". I write "suffered" in all hopes that the attack did not take place during his sleep, or that if it did, was painful enough to wake him.

He is said to have received his last rites. It is my understanding that when a Catholic man is unable to confess during his last rites, he is to be absolved only where evidence of contrition exists. If Pinochet has ever apologized for his many crimes, I must not have bought a paper that day, or watched the news at all that week.

Pinochet will soon join fellow deceased and disgraced despot Slobodan Milosevic as an example to leaders the world over, that impunity cannot be maintained forever, and that justice for their crimes will stalk them so intensely that death will not find strongmen in military uniforms, but friendless and pathetic old men. Last rites... at least lawyers are required to defend unsavory sorts...