« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

April 24, 2006

Story of the Day

AP: "Police Arrest Nude Man Stuck in Chimney"

Oh, your Monday just got better, didn't it. And here's your quote of the day:

"We get him up, and he's naked as a jaybird," said Hayward police Lt. Gary Branson. "He tells us he took his clothes off because there would be less friction going down the chute. We did find his clothes. So that part checked out."
Now that's just good old-fashioned police work.

Posted by David Mader at 07:25 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Bin Laden

Are we wrong to assume that Bin Laden's recent audio message was a trigger for the latest attack? Could such an attack have been pre-planned such that it could have been executed within days of the airing of the tape?

Posted by David Mader at 03:12 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Speaking of Taking Tyrants Seriously

Once we've given Hu the cold shoulder, maybe we can start taking Ahmadinejad at his word:

In wide-ranging remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Israel was an artificial state that could not continue to exist.

"Some 60 years has passed since the end of World War II, why should the people of Germany and Palestine pay now for a war in which the current generation was not involved," Ahmadinejad told a press conference.

"We say that this fake regime cannot not logically continue to live," he said. . . .

"Open the doors [of Europe] and let the Jews go back to their own countries," the president said Monday.

He added that Europeans should jettison their "anti-semitism" to enable Israelis to "return" to their continent, and "allow Palestinians to decide their own fate and live freely."

Ahmadinejad also hinted that Iran would consider withdrawing from the United Nations nuclear agency if membership produced no benefit.

"What has more than 30 years of membership in the agency given us?" he asked rhetorically at a press conference.

"Working in the framework of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the agency is our concrete policy," he added. "(But) if we see that they are violating our rights, or they don't want to accept (our rights), well, we will revise."

I don't know what to do about Iran. I hope by now y'all have read Mark Steyn's opus on the issue. Whether you are a fan of Steyn or not, his treatment of the issue will, I think, come to be adopted by a substantial portion of the right. Those who would oppose it, in time, would do well to read and understand it now.

Whether or not military action is necessary or possible, I think it's clear that we should be working towards the overthrow of the current regime. MaderBlog has long supported a free Iran, and I believe it's in our own interest as much as the interest of the Persian and Iranian people that the current theocratic regime be overthrown.

Posted by David Mader at 03:05 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Terror Attack in Egypt

Three bombs have exploded at a resort on the Red Sea in Egyptian Sinai, killing at least thirty and injuring 100:

One blast hit a hotel, a second a restaurant and the third explosion rocked the resort town's market area about 7:15 p.m. local time (1715 GMT). Egyptian authorities said the blasts were likely not caused by suicide bombers but rather bombs that had been planted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Stay tuned.

Posted by David Mader at 02:36 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Hear Hear

The National Post has an excellent editorial to day on the subject of whether to lower the flag in mourning for our war dead:

On Sunday, it was reported that the Conservatives would not lower flags to half-mast on Parliament Hill, as had been the practice of the previous Liberal governments. Said Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, "we have returned to the 80-year tradition of remembering all casualties of war or operations on one day -- November 11."

Set amid news from the front, a debate about the placement of our flag may seem trivial. Yet it is a debate worth having, for it symbolizes the larger discussion taking place in Canada about our role in Afghanistan.

That debate may be defined thus: Are we at war against the Taliban, or are we at peace? If the former, then military casualties are an expected, if tragic, consequence of our deployment. If the latter, and our soldiers are to be seen as peacekeepers, not combatants, then every death should be regarded as an aberration and, therefore, an occasion for national anguish and soul-searching.

We believe the answer is clear: Canada, like the rest of the civilized world, is at war -- not only against the Taliban, but also against every other entity that seeks to pervert Islam into an excuse for senseless slaughter. It is also a war to bring stability and freedom to Afghan society. In this war, as in all wars, people will be killed. And sometimes, those people will be Canadian.

Indeed. It's funny how something so seemingly trivial could represent so very much - as if the flag were, you know, a symbol. The objection, I imagine, is that this trivializes the lives and deaths of the soldiers killed. The counter-argument is that lowering the flag trivializes the magnitude of the soldiers' mission. I'd love to hear from serving soldiers on the matter.

Posted by David Mader at 11:15 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Good Quetion

Reader Dave M. (no, I'm not pulling a Hiltzik) e-mails:

Just curious, has anyone uncovered the name of the man who died in the Tim Horton's washroom?
Anybody know? I haven't seen anything. I'll do some sleuthing, though, and if anybody knows anything more, I'll post it here. My understanding is that the police have ruled the explosion a suicide, but I may be making that up.

UPDATE (11:05 CDT): Here's the most recent story on Google News:
Police say the explosion that killed a man inside the bathroom of a downtown Tim Horton's was a suicide. The man walked into the coffee shop around 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon armed with a small gas container. Inside the bathroom, he reportedly poured gas over his body and lit himself on fire.

Police believe they know who the man is but are not releasing his identity as they have had difficulty notifying his next of kin.
His immediate family is believed to be out of the country. Ontario's Deputy Chief Coroner said dental records or DNA analysis will be required to formally identify the man because he was burned extensively.

So there you have it.

Posted by David Mader at 10:58 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 23, 2006

Jintao Who?

So as I'm sure everybody's heard by now, Chinese President Hu Jintao was at the White House last week, where he met a warmer than anticipated welcome:

A White House arrival ceremony for Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday was interrupted by a protester who appealed to President Bush to stop the Chinese president from "persecuting the Falun Gong." [. . .]

The woman began shouting from the top of a camera stand that was located directly in front of the two leaders so that news photographers could record the arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

She shouted in heavily accented English, "President Bush: Stop him from killing" and, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered a comment to the Chinese leader, who paused briefly when the shouting began and then resumed his remarks.

The protester was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service uniformed agents were able to make their way to her position at the top of the camera stand. They dragged her off the stand.

The CW is that this is an embarrasment for Bush. Is it, though? Just what does Bush have to be embarrased about? Oh, sure, it suggests that somebody dropped the ball at the press accreditation office, failing to notice that the Epoch Times is strongly anti-regime. But should we really feel bad about that?

ABCNews' Jake Tapper, who puts out a regular podcast, wasn't too impressed by the White House reaction. Here's what he had to say about it (note: MP3 link).

And you know what? I'm with Tapper. I had a lot of reading time over Passover, and I dedicated a good deal of it to reading the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. Now it's true, as the Wikipedia entry suggests, that the Nine Commentaries are rather unsophisticated and obviously one-sided. But that criticism only goes so far. When the allegation is that the Communist Party, for instance, orchestrated the murder of millions of people between 1965 and 1975, the 'other side' has two viable lines of argument: no they didn't, or it wasn't that many people. Anything other than that is prevarication and forgiveness, and I have no patience for either.

The bottom line, I think, is that you don't have to be gung ho about falun gong to believe that the Communist Party of China are an extremely despicable bunch. But, as Tapper himself notes, there are other interests at play. None can deny Chinese economic growth. If the Communists are successful in their attempt to introduce market economic principles while maintaining totalitarian social control, China will be ascendant by mid-century.

Despite the fears of the protectionist left (and right), an economically robust China will be good for the United States. But I hope we can agree that economic benefits for Americans will be worse than hollow if they are constructed on the backs of a tyrannized Chinese people. The real question should not be whether the Chinese Communists will, in becoming rich, make us better or worse off; the real question should be whether the Chinese people will be better off rich and Commnunist or poor(er) and free.

That's a close question, and I don't think anybody has an easy answer. Many will certainly say that the decision is not ours, and I'd be more willing to credit that opinion if the Chinese people had an opportunity to decide for themselves. In any case, if we aren't sure of the answer, why is our government acting like we are? Why, in other words, was Hu Jintao feted like some champion of the new world order, rather than tolerated as the inevitable current leader of an awful and tyrannical regime - a leader who, unlike Saddam, we aren't in a position to do anything about?

For it's clear, at least to me, that Hu holds us in nothing but the lowest contempt. The charade the Chinese play, refusing to address the matter of human rights or attempting to turn the tables on the subject by drawing outrageous comparisons between Chinese tyranny and past American malfeasance, evinces nothing but a smug satisfaction that all the west can do is talk.

Maybe they're right. But if all we can do is talk, do we really have to talk so sweet? The reception Hu received in America last week seemed to be far too much about Bill Gates, and far too little about the men and women Hu's regime tyrannizes every day.

That's a shame.

Posted by David Mader at 10:51 PM | (2) | Back to Main


While we're on the subject of the Star, has anyone else noticed those "Click Here for Copyright Permissions" boxes that are appearing at the bottom of many of their web articles? You know, these things:

Click on that and you get the following menu:

Hmm. "HTML version you can link to." I thought that's what URLs were for. Click on that option and you get this:

Ummmmmmmm. Now I've been away for a while, so I'm a bit rusty at this whole blogging thing. But unless I'm mistaken, the TorStar is asking me to cough up two hundred bucks for the privilege of linking to their story . . . for three months. I presume your run-of-the-mill URLs will now explode after a certain amount of time, requiring those who want to link in perpetuity to pay.

This may not make much of a difference; many publications (including the NYTimes) don't use static URLs, preferring to time-limit accessability to articles and then charging for access to the 'archived' pieces.

But the TorStar setup isn't framed as an 'in perpetuity' scheme; rather, it's framed as a copyright regime. Is the TorStar saying that I'm infringing copyright when I link to a temporary URL without paying? Or am I misreading the new restrictions?

Posted by David Mader at 10:17 PM | (1) | Back to Main

April 21, 2006

Is This News?

Susan Delacourt has an article featured on the Toronto Star's website that appears to be a news article. But I'm not convinced. Here's the closing paragraph:

It's Harper himself who's been out drawing Canada into those lines this week — you either like his government or you're part of the problem. And if you don't like the way things are, you can either "get used to it," or just try to challenge him.
I'm not knocking the analysis, which I think is legit. I'm just wondering whether this isn't more of an opinion piece - or what the Post sometimes calls a 'news-analysis' piece - than a news report. There's no indication on the Star's website that the piece is opinion, and Delacourt is the Ottawa Bureau Chief. Has anyone seen today's print edition? Is there any indication in print that it's not straight news?

I could well be wrong, of course: have a look and let me know if you disagree.

Posted by David Mader at 11:55 AM | (2) | Back to Main

April 18, 2006

Confusing Headline of the Day

ABCNews: "Palestinians Sanction Tel Aviv Suicide Bomber"

Black's Law Dictionary:

sanction (sangk-sh<>n), n. 1. Official approval or authorization. Cf. RATIFICATION 2. A penalty or coercive measure that results from failure to comply with a law, rule, or order.
The Palestinians, you see, sanctioned the suicide bomber, as evidenced by their failure to sanction the bombing.

Makes sense to me.

(Incidentally, the OED attaches the following cryptic note to the definition involving punishment: "A use of doubtful acceptability at present.-R.W.B." Don't know who R.W.B. is, but he sounds authoritative.)

Posted by David Mader at 11:06 AM | (1) | Back to Main

Quick Question

Do the folks at the National Post realize just how much their webside sucks? The Toronto Star's website doesn't suck. The Globe and Mail's website really doesn't suck. But Canada.com is just about as un-user-friendly and un-visually-attractive as a professionally-designed website can be.

Somebody should tell them, maybe.

Posted by David Mader at 10:12 AM | (2) | Back to Main

April 12, 2006

This is the Bread of Affliction

Chag Sameach and a happy Pesach to all my Jewish readers; have a festive and meanignful Seder, and remember: the fundamental message of Passover is Liberty - and what to do with it.

To my Christian readers, best wishes for this holy week. And to all my readers who are neither here nor there, have a great long weekend!

Posted by David Mader at 05:07 PM | (0) | Back to Main

I Love This Place

Who has time to file taxes the week before Passover? Not me. Had to file for an extension tonight, which, thankfully, was quick and painless. Most satisfying part of the process:


Posted by David Mader at 12:45 AM | (1) | Back to Main

April 11, 2006

A Little Perspective

I'm listening to the Telegraph's daily podcast, and the Jerusalem correspondent has just made the point that if Jesus lived in Israel today, he would not be able to take the path through Jerusalem that the Gospels describe.

Folks, if Jesus lived in Israel today, he wouldn't be crucified.

Injustice indeed.

Posted by David Mader at 01:57 PM | (9) | Back to Main


I haven't posted on the current immigration debate (have I?) since I'm a bit torn about the whole thing, and since, as Mark Steyn says, it'd be a bit chutzpadik of me to comment on the immigration policies of a nation in which I'm a guest. (Not that being chutzpadik has stopped me before.)

But despite the context, this is a post about politics. I'm all for liberal immigration and the free movement of people; it's a free market thing. But if the Republicans are smart, these will be all over the state leading up to the November elections, and Kay Bailey Hutchison - and a lot of Congressional and state Republicans - will win.

The Democrats are between a rock and a hard place here. As a party (which is a ridiculous generalization, but that's the nature of the game) they support the principle of easy movement of people from Mexico (predominantly) into the United States. Yet as a party they must be sensitive to the interests of their base, which includes a labor movement that is skeptical (to put it lightly) of the presence of non-unionized efficient workers. (See Volokh for more on this point.) They also have to be sensitive to the mood of the swing-voters, whose support they will need if they are to knock off the GOP in the fall. And yet this middle-ground is pretty solidly against amnesty, and would be strongly against the sentiment expressed in the flyer above.

What's a Democrat to do? They ought to have gotten out in front of the issue, co-opting the demonstration movement as their own; and yet that had its own significant threats, and might not have been received well by the protesters themselves. But having not gotten out in front of it, they've left themselves open to some pretty easy political demonization on the basis of the actions and language of a more radical element of the protest movement.

That's not a policy analysis; that's a political analysis. A Democratic Texas just got that much more unlikely.

Posted by David Mader at 09:48 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 10, 2006

Typekey Comment Help

Ok, time for a bleg. Currently, after you successfully post a comment using Typekey, the pop-up loads the main blog page rather than loading the comment page itself. Does anybody know a) why this is happening and/or b) how to fix it? I suspect it has something to do with the Typekey code, and I can't locate anything in my own comment templates that would cause a link back to the main page, but I just can't figure it out. Help/advice would be appreciated.

Posted by David Mader at 03:45 PM | (0) | Back to Main

When It Rains It's Awesome

Right, right, this is why I voted Conservative:

Ottawa has added the Sri Lankan separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to its list of terrorist organizations, calling the move “overdue” and citing the group's “repeated use of violence” for the decision. . . .

“The decision to list the LTTE is long overdue and something the previous government did not take seriously enough to act upon,” Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said.

And just when the Liberal Party is facing a financial crunch.

(Is that defamatory?)

Oh, but wait - that's not all:
As greenhouse gas emission levels in Canada climb, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose says it's time for the federal government to scrap its Kyoto plan and think about something new.

"We're looking at all options," she said yesterday, making it clear the Conservatives think it will take a lot longer to clean up the air than the deadlines adopted by the previous Liberal government.

High-level discussions among officials in the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources since the Conservatives took office in February conclude "that it is impossible, impossible for Canada to reach its Kyoto target," Ms. Ambrose said.

Gotta love that intro line, eh? "As greenhouse gas emission levels in Canada rise . . ." Wonder if the reporter feels a bit sheepish today:
Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase . . . .

n response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh.

It doesn't prove anything, of course. But that's the point. None of it does. And to run our economy into the ground based on irrational ideologically-motivated mischaracterizations of climate change is no way to run a government. And the Tory's, God love 'em, know it.

(Unavoidable disclaimer: this doesn't go to the question of whether the climate is changing; it goes to the question of whether modern climate-change is driven predominantly or even to a substantial degree by human factors.)

Posted by David Mader at 01:07 PM | (4) | Back to Main

Insanity and the Free Exercise Clause

A Texas woman who cut off her baby's limbs has been found not guilty by reason of insanity:

The judge relied on evidence he had heard during the first trial. Among other things, psychiatrists said [the defendant] suffered severe mood swings and religious hallucinations. One doctor said Schlosser told him she wanted to cut off her baby's arms and her own limbs and head and give them to God.
The judge hasn't disclosed why the insanity standard was met. Insofar as the judgment depends on the defendant's "religious hallucinations," though, doesn't it raise a Free Exercise problem? In other words, isn't it problematic for the state to say that certain sincerely held religious beliefs are insane? Why can the state say that this defendant's religious beliefs are manifestations of insanity, when it will not (and indeed cannot) say that, for instance, communion-as-transubstantiation is not?

We just (as I was typing) had a great discussion about this in the office, and I wish I could have recorded it and posted it. My position comes down to this: the state should not be making determinations of insanity solely on the basis of sincerely held religious belief. Other factors may suggest or demonstrate insanity, but religion cannot. That approach respects sincerely held religious belief but nevertheless imposes legal culpability for generally applicable criminal laws designed to protect the fundamental liberties of third parties. In other words, such an approach would tell religious adherents that they are allowed to believe whatever they want, but they aren't allowed to murder children. Period.

The jury question would therefore be whether the defendant knew (or constructively knew) that the action was against the law. Religious motivation would never enter into it. Under such an approach, the defendant in the case highlighted above would, absent other proof of insanity, go to jail. She can believe whatever she wants about whether God told her to cut her baby's limbs off. As far as the state is concerned, she may be right. But the state prohibits killing of babies, regardless of motivation.

This standard differs from the current insanity standard, as I understand it, in one key respect: there is no inquiry into whether the defendant was able to distinguish between moral right and wrong. Such an inquiry necessarily goes to things like religious belief. Instead, the inquiry only goes to knowledge - or constructive knowledge - of legal wrongdoing. By constructive knowledge I mean to address the fact that ignorance of the law is no defense; if the inquiry only went to legal knowledge, a defendant who could prove as a factual matter that he or she did not know that a certain action was illegal would not be found legally culpable. Constructive knowledge depends on the assertion that certain actions are understood to be against the law: a defendant could not claim that he or she did not know that killing a child was illegal. Note that because we've disregarded motivation, it would be no defense to claim that he or she did not know that it was illegal to kill a child when instructed to by God. As long as the defendant knew or constructively knew that the conduct was illegal absent divine command, legal culpability would lie.

Sorry, I know this is a particularly poorly written post. But I'm intruiged by the idea, and I'd love comments.

Posted by David Mader at 09:16 AM | (2) | Back to Main

April 07, 2006

The Thing About Public Schools

Guest-blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy, George Mason law prof Ilya Somin notes the extremely troubling nature of public-school curriculum choices:

It seems to me that running a public school necessarily involves choosing between different ideas on the merits, and excluding at least some of them. We cannot teach all conceivable viewpoints in, say, a public school history class. Therefore, schools will probably teach the Holocaust without much (if any) consideration of the views of Holocaust deniers. Similarly, they will teach science courses without including the views of the Flat Earth Society. To say that this is unconstitutional is to say that public schooling itself is unconstitutional. . . .

To my mind, the best solution would be to get government out of the business of supplying education (though it could still fund it through vouchers or tax credits).

Here's what I wrote in my write-on application for the Law Review:
A syllabus promulgated by a public university represents a prior restraint on the speech of those subject to its control. A student whose classroom expression deviates from the subject matter of the curriculum risks academic reproach – even expulsion. The point is illustrated by Sunstein: "a student who defends fascism or communism is unlikely to receive a good grade. In many economic departments, sharp deviation from the views of Adam Smith may well be punished." A curriculum, which necessarily denominates boundaries of acceptable speech within the classroom, places affirmative limits on the ability of students to exercise their free speech right. . . .

Any state-promulgated curriculum necessarily represents an endorsement of one idea or perspective and a consequent disapproval of another. The American Association of University Professors, in resisting efforts to legislate ideological balance within the classroom, protests that "no department of political theory ought to be obligated to establish 'a plurality of methodologies and perspectives' by appointing a professor of Nazi political philosophy." Yet a refusal to hire such a professor – and the underlying refusal to entertain serious discussion of Nazi political philosophy – represents, at a state school, a government endorsement of one opinion over another. This is contrary to "our absolute right to propagate opinions that the government finds wrongful or even hateful," for "[t]he Constitution forbids the state to declare one perspective right and silence opponents." [. . .]

This leads to the final and perhaps most challenging question: are public universities truly necessary for the furtherance of the state’s interest in making higher education available to those who could not otherwise afford it? The necessity of public universities to the realization of that interest stands as the only strong justification for the suppression of free speech that occurs in the state school’s classroom. To the degree that the state school is not necessary to that end, the justification for its First Amendment violations is undermined.

If a service is necessary to a state interest, it makes sense for the state to provide the service. But public provision is not necessary where public financing will suffice. If a subset of Americans cannot afford education at a private university, the establishment of a public university serves to make higher education available to that subset. Public financing, however, may achieve the same end.

A complete discussion of school vouchers is well beyond the scope of this paper, but the idea is important to consider: insofar as the state can realize its interest in making education available to those who could not otherwise afford it by providing the necessary financing, its provision of the education itself becomes unnecessary. If public provision of education is not necessary to the furtherance of the aforementioned state interest, the justification for classroom restrictions on free speech disappears. A public university must be necessary, not simply sufficient, in order to remain constitutional.

Citations omitted. Glad I'm not the only wacko in this regard.

Posted by David Mader at 10:24 AM | (3) | Back to Main

April 05, 2006

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It was a gorgeous day in Austin yesterday, and I used a trip to the UT post office to snap some pictures of the campus. For the benefit of my dial-up customers I've put the photos in the extended entry below, with commentary.

One of the many lovely things about the UT campus is that what would otherwise be alleys between buildings are spruced up and maintained as tidy thoroughfares. The post office fronts onto such a thoroughfare, an alley that actually has a name (I've forgotten it, alas) and that used to be a regular haunt of undergraduates. Across from the post office is Goldsmith Hall, pictured above, which houses the school of architecture. But the Hall fronts on the West Mall; what's pictured above is the side-entrance. No real reason to have a portico leading to the court yard - no reason, that is, except it makes for a lovely alleyway.

Turn right outside of the post-office and you come to a flight of stairs. If you noticed the building in the background, you've probably realized that the UT campus has a remarkable level of architectural uniformity. Or rather, aesthetic uniformity - the architecture itself has changed (though not substantially) over the years, but certain elements remain constant. In particular, buildings continue to be constructed of light stone with red clay tiled roofing. In that, the aesthetic mimics the Spanish Colonial style (particularly the revivalist style), with one important difference: whereas Spanish Colonial architecture generally involves stucco finishing, the UT campus employs stone. It's a subtle difference, but an important one, I think, giving the buildings a more solid and imposing look and feel. The result is a style I call 'Texas Imperial.'

Anyway, head on up those steps and you arrive at . . .

The West Mall, the main student thoroughfare on campus. Students set up tables to distribute literature and advertise goings-on; at the far end of the Mall, the west stairs of the Main Building host your typical student rallies and demonstrations. I think today some fraternities and sororities were advertising some charity-related benefit.

Along with their tables and stands, student groups hang banners. Did you notice the banners hanging this week?

Islam... Islam... definitely rings a bell... I mean, at this point, it would be pretty hard not to be aware of Islam, wouldn't it? I bet these guys are aware of Islam, anyway:

Maybe that's not fair; the Young Turks were a secular regime, but a number of sites on the Armenian genocide trace the persecution back to the late nineteenth century Ottoman regimes. In any case, some students take to the West Mall not to agitate or debate, but just to, you know, chill out.

That's the life. If the far end of the Mall is political territory, the near end is dominated by the Student Union.

It took me a while to understand the idea of a Student Union; as I pointed out to my classmates, at McGill the student government actually is a union, and so I assumed the Student Union was one and the same as the student government. It's not. The Union houses a food court, a bowling lane, a movie theatre, and similar recreational facilities. In fact, it's all the things a student government should be, rather than a collection of self-important blowhards passing resolutions against the war in Iraq.

(Except for Conter!)

The Union has all sorts of great details, but I didn't capture enough of them to make a run-through worth while. Another time.

Continue down the West Mall, and glance up, and you see this:

Now tell me that's not a sight. I mean, wow. Just gorgeous. The Tower was put up in the mid-thirties, and it has New Deal written all over it. In fact, much of the campus was basically a make-work project, and the Rooseveltian quasi-fascist sentiment is pervasive. That's the 'imperial' part of Texas imperial. Again, I don't have enough pictures to make an unassailable case on this, but take my word for it for now. (You can learn more about the Tower here.)

The view from the front steps of the Main Building (the structure from which the Tower rises) looks down another long mall towards the Texas State Capitol, which was designed to be fifteen feet taller than the national capitol. Because everything is bigger in Texas. (True.) The first George Dubya keeps watch.

General Washington has two neighbors; you'll enjoy learning who they are, but I'll wait to tell you till I can present them in picture.

On the other side of the Tower there's an East Mall - though I've never heard the term used. It strikes me as a perfect place to hold rallies, particularly since the east side of the main building has a great second-storey balcony. But becuase of the layout of the campus, nobody congregates on the East Mall. This picture was taken just after lunchtime on a Tuesday. Keep in mind that the University of Texas at Austin has fifty thousand students.

Picturesque, no?

That'll have to do for now. I'll keep adding to this, and may export it to a sort of Lileksian gallery. Just wanted to show y'all where I go to school. Why'd I spend an hour taking photos of campus? Well, you need to stop and smell the roses every now and again. It was a gorgeous day yesterday, as I said: low eighties, just warm enough to be entirely comfortable, not hot enough to make you want to get out of the sun. A few summers back we had a day like that in Ottawa, and my dad said, off-hand, that it was just about the most perfect day he could imagine. Days like that will always remind me of him.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He would have been fifty-eight.

Posted by David Mader at 02:02 PM | (2) | Back to Main

April 03, 2006

Hey, Check it Out!

It's a Texas Book Depository!

Man, I crack myself up.

Posted by David Mader at 04:29 PM | (2) | Back to Main

April 02, 2006

Explosion at Toronto Tim's Kills One

An explosion at a downtown Toronto Tim Horton's coffee shop has killed one. The Canadian Press reports:

The heart of Toronto's trendy Yorkville shopping district was shocked to a standstill Sunday after an explosion killed one man at a Tim Horton's outlet. Police would not confirm early reports that a man had entered the washroom shortly before the blast with explosives strapped to his body.

Police Insp. Nick Memme confirmed that an explosion occurred in the washroom at the rear of the restaurant, but said few other details were immediately available.

Here are the stories from the CBC, CTV, the Globe and Mail, and the Star.

A second Tims was evacuated and the bomb squad called in after a suspicious package was discovered later in the afternoon.

Again, the assumption is that a bomb was detonated at a Tim Horton's location in downtown Toronto at about 13:00 EDT today, killing one man - possibly the bomber himself.

More as it comes.

UPDATE (18:35 CDT): More from Reuters:
Staff Sergeant Don Cole said the blast took place just after 1 p.m. EDT in the washroom of a Tim Hortons shop, a coffee and doughnut chain that was recently spun off from parent company Wendy's International Inc.

One man was killed.

"It appears there was a device, but we don't know whether the person brought it in with him, or it he was an innocent party, or if he was a suicide, we just don't know," he said.

"It's not something that just blew up by itself, it was some device."

Reuters also reports that the suspicious package that caused the evacuation of a second Tims turned out to be harmless.

Posted by David Mader at 06:24 PM | (0) | Back to Main