FUBAR

A fitting end to a stupid suit

The case of the $67 million pants — the plaintiff later generously knocked it down to $54 million — is over for the time being, but for a week or so it vied with Paris Hilton in the public attention paid to jurisprudence.

But this case was sadder than that of the jailbird heiress and also more serious.

The background: After three years of unemployment, Washington attorney Roy Pearson finally netted a good job and treated himself to a $1,000 suit. He took it to his local dry cleaners for $10.50 in alterations.

I am therefore I blog

I once asked a friend of mine, a novelist, why so many writers have drinking problems. “A better question is why so many drinkers have writing problems,” he replied.

His response came to mind recently, when I began to toy with the idea of starting a blog. Although the contrarian in me is attracted to the prospect of being the last law professor in America without one, the advantages of the form are obvious.

CIA Castro murder plot revealed

The CIA recruited a former FBI agent to approach two of America’s most-wanted mobsters and gave them poison pills meant for Fidel Castro during his first year in power, according to newly declassified papers released Tuesday.

Contained amid hundreds of pages of CIA internal reports collectively known as “the family jewels,” the official confirmation of the 1960 plot against Castro was certain to be welcomed by communist authorities as more proof of their longstanding claims that the United States wants Castro dead.

Keeping abreast of the news

Mainstream American media are amateurs when it comes to exposing politicians. The European press has done it longer and better.

From the British tabloids to the muckraking papers of continental Europe, no elected official is safe from investigations, spoofs and pointed barbs.

Just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Wprost, a conservative newsmagazine published in Poland put a artist’s composite of Merkel on the cover this week — blouse open, breasts exposed and Poland’s governing Kaczyski twins sucking away.

The headline: Europe’s Step-Mother. Imagine Newsweek with former President Bill Clinton on the cover, trousers down around his ankles and Monica Lewinsky on her knees, noshing on the First Member, or current President George W. Bush with his pants down and Tony Blair kissing his naked butt.

Supremes side with special interests

The Supreme Court Monday loosened campaign finance restrictions in a ruling on free speech that will give lobby groups a louder voice in television ads for next year’s presidential election.

In a 5-4 ruling, the nation’s highest tribunal found that the rights to free speech of interest groups had been unfairly curbed by a law that limited their influence in the final stretch of electioneering.

Bong hits for the first amendment

In 1969, the Supreme Court ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” It was a good ruling with exceptions that allowed school officials to bar speech that advocated dangerous or illegal conduct or was substantially disruptive.

NBC News losing more viewers than CBS

One of the small indignities of a high-paying television job is rising after getting home from Texas at 3:05 a.m. for a conversation about why your ratings are going south.

Brian Williams dutifully does it, weary voice and all, even if he and NBC can’t fully explain why after two years on top his “Nightly News” broadcast has suddenly been eclipsed by ABC and Charles Gibson.

Michael Moore’s latest scam

What’s the difference between art and propaganda? The artist wants to communicate and share and the propagandist wants to manipulate.

Michael Moore is a talented filmmaker, a great marketer, and a superb propagandist. Those skills have now been invested in his latest film venture about health care, “Sicko.”

Part of the shtick, of course, is the portrayal that he’s a man on a mission. A social crusader — a kind of Ralph Nader whose medium is film.

How many more Americans must die?

As President George W. Bush continues to claim success in his failed Iraq war, the death toll of Americans dying in that “success” continues to increase.

Eight Americans, along with a British soldier, died Saturday — bringing the four-day death toll for U.S. servicemen to 25 (including one death the Pentagon called a “non-battle” related casualty).

Yet with American military deaths rising at alarming rates, the Bush White House still preaches the fallacy that the “troop surge” in Iraq is working.

In fact, violence in that civil-war ravaged nation spirals out of control and American men and women die for nothing.

Many more Americans will die in Iraq

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday US forces face more tough fighting in Iraq and his top military adviser said the rising level of violence was the “wrong metric” for judging the surge.

The comments by Gates and General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came as the US military reported 14 US soldiers killed in three days of fighting in Iraq.