Friday, September 21, 2007

Freshly Squeezed Constitution

We're not ones to lay guilt trips, but while you chugged down glass after glass of O.J. coverage this week, you probably ignored how your senators were trying to take away an asterisk next to the principle of habeas corpus.

GUANTANAMO DECAY (OR, ROT IN CAMP). The Senate narrowly defeated a measure that would have given "enemy combatants" the right to go before a judge and challenge why they're being held, a right that every accused criminal in the U.S. already has.

Before you call 911 to report an Al-Qaida sympathizer, hear this one out. This measure would not guarantee all combatants that go before a judge get out of detention. It merely gives them the right to ask. A court can still deny the release of a prisoner if the government produces evidence to justify it.

The Constitution is clear about this:
"The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it."
We at your Lightning Round understand the "public safety" principle. But we worry the feds are stretching the "rebellion or invasion" clause too far. Hey, if even The Juice can get a bail hearing, why not everybody?

WHAT'S THAT SMELL? A meteorite crash in Peru led to dozens of people falling mysteriously ill. Experts disagree on what's causing the sickness -- gas from the meteorite or something else.

From the Daily Mail:
But expert Ursula Marvin cast doubt on the theory, saying: "It wouldn't be the meteorite itself, but the dust it raises."

A meteorite "wouldn't get much gas out of the earth," said Ms Marvin, who has studied them since 1961 at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts. "It's a very superficial thing."
The BBC raises another possibility:
Symptoms could well be caused in part by what is known as a Mass Sociogenic Illness (MSI).

There are countless examples of this through history and up to the present day.

Amid fears of a gas leak late last year for instance, dozens of British pupils were taken to hospital with nausea and other symptoms. However no gas or environmental cause was found, and doctors could establish nothing wrong with the children. It was ascribed to mass hysteria.

Meanwhile, the Belgian Coke scare of 1999 - when many said they fell sick after drinking contaminated cans - was also said to be an example of MSI when laboratory analysis showed levels of contamination were not high enough to cause any of the illnesses reported.
So that may explain the illness. But, phew... somebody go get a whole bunch of Glade sticks.

JOHN THE BAPTIST. Arizona senator and presidential candidate John McCain is straddling two Christian denominations: Baptist and Episcopal. He has attended a Baptist church in Phoenix for more than a decade, even though he grew up Episcopalian.

From the AP:
In a June interview with McClatchy Newspapers, the senator said his wife and two of their children have been baptized in the Arizona Baptist church, but he had not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he said.

He told McClatchy he found the Baptist church more fulfilling than the Episcopalian church, but still referred to himself as an Episcopalian.

The Associated Press asked McCain on Saturday how his Episcopal faith plays a role in his campaign and life. McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va.

"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain said. "Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."
Later, Sen. McCain said what's important is that he's a Christian. This however, may not satisfy the faithful, whatever denomination they may be: Baptist, Episcopalian... or Republican.

Noted one commenter on the Rum, Romanism and Rebellion blog, "McCain will be the tooth fairy if he thinks it's what you want him to be." Your Lightning Round editor is not as cynical, having recently re-affirmed his faith in a non-denominational church after growing up Presbyterian.

But will McCain remain a Baptist? Or will his flexibility take him in yet another spiritual direction? Our office conspiracy theorist sees LDS missionaries deployed by Mitt Romney headed for McCain headquarters...

HEIL, NO! A federal judge has upheld the right of two New Jersey students to wear buttons featuring young Nazis to protest a school uniform policy.

From the AP:
The buttons bear the words "no school uniforms" with a slash through them superimposed on a photo of young boys wearing identical shirts and neckerchiefs. There are no swastikas visible on the buttons, but the parties agreed that they depict members of Hitler youth.
The students will not be allowed to pass the buttons out at school. However, the court said nothing about the arm salute.

THINK PINK. And now, fashion with class. When some twerps harassed a freshman student at a Cambridge, Nova Scotia school for wearing a pink shirt, two seniors decided to make pink the new black.

From The
They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

"I made sure there was a shirt for him," [Senior] David [Shepard] said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. David and Travis [Price] figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

It was hard to miss the mass of students in pink milling about in the lobby, especially for the group that had harassed the new Grade 9 student.

"The bullies got angry," said Travis. "One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted."
And your Lightning Round is glad too, for proving leadership, a little innovation, and a dose imagination can work glorious wonders.

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