Thursday, December 22, 2005

Programming Note

Expect light blogging until January 2, since I am leaving to visit family in Detroit over the holiday.

Also, if you are so inclined, please send some kind thoughts to my cousin Nick and his family. At the age of 24, he has been fighting cancer for nearly three years already. Just when you think he's been to Hell and back, he endures a treatment that is even worse than the last. Things took a marked turn for the worse recently and, though he is in the care of some of -- quite literally -- the finest doctors in the country, it seems he is reaching a point where divine intervention will soon be the only avenue for recovery.

That's all I have for now. Given the circuitous route we're taking to Detroit, look for an update no sooner than tomorrow, though I may have some time to post this evening.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Seasons' Greetings

Courtesy of a co-worker...
For Our Democratic Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

For Our Republican Friends:
"Here's wishing all of You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

Wednesday Food-blogging

Look for light posting (if any) until this afternoon as I struggle to escape the food coma I entered last night.

Last night, I made Sun-dried Tomato Burgers with Balsamic-Glazed Onions and Home Fries with Wild Mushrooms.

I was a little leery of making hamburger patties with cumin, but the spice added a subtle, but readily apparent base for the rest of the flavor. Also, I strongly recommend using the best balsamic vinegar you have for the onions -- they come out tasting like candy. (Most high-end balsamics are very expensive, because of an importing consortium that controls the majority of the market. If you live near an ethnic Italian neighborhood, you may be able to find a shop that imports Modena balsamic from outside of the consortium -- at about a quarter of the cost!) Top with an extra sharp Wisconsin white cheddar just before serving and your all set.

When I sauteed the potatoes, I added two big cloves of garlic, finely minced. I also used portobellos instead of shiitakes and oysters, and the flavor was probably less woody, but it took on the flavor of the garlic very well. A dash of garlic powder at the end made for some potent potatoes, but that nicely balanced the sweetness of the burgers.

Serve with Harpoon I.P.A. If you can't get it (meaning: if you live just about anywhere outside of Rt. 128), another hoppy beer goes nicely. (Or, you could beg your local beer distributor to carry it -- we found a place near Detroit last year that stocks Boston's finest micro-brew!)

At Bartley's in Cambridge, this easily would have been a nine dollar burger. But Mr. Bartley has nothing on me. Not after this.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What she said

On the MBTA's roll-out of the new CharlieCard, quoth the Pelican:

I don't care how easy the CharlieTicket will be. Ridership will not increase if the T doesn't run on time, has incomprehensible signage, has unhelpful employees, and has stations that are dark and dangerous. The MBTA should work on its service first. Better fare collection will not help me when I am choosing to walk thirty minutes from MFA to downtown because it is faster than waiting on the T.

[via Universal Hub]

RINOs in the Mist

I completely forgot to link to this week's edition of RINO Sightings at Kesher Talk.

Check it out.

Orin Kerr on the NSA and FISA

Professor Orin Kerr has an exceptional post up at the Volokh Conspiracy about the NSA and FISA. His conclusion: the activity is probably illegal under FISA, but probably permissible under the Fourth Amendment. He is careful to add numerous caveats to this very basic opinion.

For the most part, I agree with his Fourth Amendment analysis; indeed, he articulates thoughts similar to my own, though he does so with far greater clarity.

As for the FISA analysis, his reasoning strikes me as generally sound, save a couple of quibbles: I wish he had fleshed out the implications of the statutory definition of "United States persons" under the statute and that he had looked with greater specificity as to how FISA addresses terrorism as a matter of statutory construction. Despite this, he makes a strong case for illegality.

In any event, there is no excuse for any interested person to pass this post by. It's long, so be sure you have a decent block of time to work through it, but well worth a full read.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Get your Exile fix on the go...

   I have added Feedblitz capabilities to the sidebar. I know that dealing with RSS/XML feeds can be a pain sometimes, especially for newcomers to the blogosphere. This service allows posts from The Exile to be syndicated directly to your inbox, allowing you to keep up with happenings here anywhere you can access your email.

Thanks to Digger for pointing me to the service!

Follow-up on FISA

Following up on my previous post on the NSA and FISA, two quick points:

First, I have actually had a chance to sit down and start reading the statute. I won't go into significant details here about my impressions; I don't have the energy for an epic-length post at the moment. That said, on my first time through, I could not envision how the secret order squared with FISA. On my second pass, though, it looks as though Congress and President Carter apparently did not envision something along the lines of what the NSA has apparently done, and therefore made no provisions -- affirmative or negative -- for such a situation. I may yet will probably almost certainly change my mind again on the third pass, since this is far from the clearest law in the world to even begin to fully comprehend. In any event, don't expect anything resembling a fuller opinion until tomorrow at the earliest.

Second, things seem to have gotten heated in comments to my previous post -- and understandably so. No matter where you stand, this NSA issue has very real implications for our security and our freedom. That said, let's be clear about something: I have always made it a point of pride to be straightforward here at The Exile. While I sometimes engage in hypothetical for the sake of discussion, it has never been my intent to obfuscate anything discussed here for the benefit of any ideology or any other person. Accordingly, I will never express an opinion here without having satisfied myself that I have given it adequate and due consideration, regardless of what the conventional wisdom about the holding of a particular opinion might be, and regardless of whether it is positive or negative. I may not always be right (Hell, I'm human, after all), but I'll never be anything less than sincere. And, I'll be damned if I am going to allow anyone to pressure me into taking a position prematurely. I didn't get this far (and, indeed, I will get no further) by simply going along.

I don't intend to start now.

If you want considered thoughts from a conservative-leaning perspective, I hope you have come to the right place, and of course opposing viewpoints are always welcome. If you're expecting to find the party line, a parrot of partisan mega-blogs, or a wingnut to bait, well . . . I suspect you can find one without looking too hard.