Absolutely awe-inducing. Sublime. Awesome. Powerful. Transcendent. Majestic. Terrifying.

Whatever adjectives you can conjure neither they, nor these photographs by Sean Heavey (Glasgow, Montana) can do justice to the power and majesty of nature's fury unleashed. These images are of the phenomenon known as a "supercell", a tornadic strength thunderstorm that drop out of the sky and wreak untold damage and horror.

Having lived through a few of these in the South, they are terrifying and awesome to behold. Mr. Heavey's photos, and the subsequent story in the Daily Mail (UK), are splendid.

Click for full-size pants-wetting.

Anyone else reminded of Nivens' classic "Mote in God's Eye"?

Seriously, go check out the Daily Mail's full story and many, many more images. Well worth your time.

Pants-wetting doesn't even begin to describe this...

Ever wondered what it would be like to service antennae towers that are 800-900 or more feet above the ground? Acrophobic? Wonder what it would be like to look down on the unforgiving earth 1000 short feet removed from you and a misstep?

Wonder no more.

Tip 'o the Black-Felt Windsor to Leanne Rose a/k/a the hottest Canadian I know.


The Feds are tracking you...in real time.

Without a warrant.

The DOJ, without a warrant or court order, have been utilizing a system known as "hotwatches" to track individuals of interest. The only time, upon administrative approval of this domestic spying, that a court is involved is not to safeguard the privacy interests of American citizens, but to issue a gag order to the Banks and Credit Card issuers for non-disclosure.

Really, I shouldn't be surprised at this point.


Check out the DOJ presentation obtained through FOIA requests by privacy advocate Christopher Soghoian

DOJ powerpoint presentation on Hotwatch surveillance orders of credit card transactions                                                                

Lest anyone think the damages wrought by the Bush Administration (and sadly, still continued by the Obama administration) simply don't affect anyone but foreigners and terrorists, let this be a warning to you. Our civil liberties have been eroded so terribly over the past decade, that we may never fully get them back. And, don't count on courts to help you either; the federal courts have turned into one huge rubber-stamp for the creeping surveillance society that is a very real threat to us all. Police state? Not yet. Getting there? Bet your ass, we are.

Remember when the boys in blue were your neighbors and "protected and served", and were not militarized thugs who treated every citizen as a potential enemy.


Friday got a new secretary...

Mr. Shadow had to go hiring in this buyer's market. So, that minor stress is alleviated, and, making matters better, it's Friday.

All in all, a good end to the week, the fiscal quarter, and the calendar year, I must say.

Take it away Lonely Island. 
Just another Friday at da' office for Der Schatten



Hot n' Horny with the TSA

Anyone familiar with this blog knows I take several pet projects on, and then beat them like a drum; especially policing tactics which are burdensome/dangerous/lethal. The latest rants are naturally focused on the TSA's aptly-named "Rapiscans" and the junk-touching called "security".

Luckily, Andy Samberg and crew are here to provide me a little comic relief. It's that or peasants n' pitchforks, if ya' know what I mean.

Via Hulu (c) 2010 to some entity(ies), I'm sure.


Today's Sexy Nerd: Jessica Rabbit Cosplay

Besides Esmarelda's deliciously sinful pole-dance in "Hunchback", has there been a more delectable, sensuous Disney character that tops Jessica Rabbit? I think not.

Fans of the Gingers, and you cartoon dorks out there, will all be pleased, I'm sure with today's Sexy Nerds, featuring all Jessica Rabbit Cosplay ladies!

 I'm not sure that Rabbits are supposed to purr like this...

 Bonus points for filling out the hips on this, dear :)

Lethally sexy.

Damn. Just....damn.
Thank you.


Daaaaaaamn: Justice Stevens goes bezerk

Old school Ice Cube says "Damn, Justice Stevens. Daaaaaammmmmn."

I know in this day and age of pea-brained Tea-baggers that it sometimes gets obscured that you can be both liberal and a patriot and still serve your country. Case in point, Justice John Paul Stevens. World War II veteran. Devout patriot. Raging lefty. Supreme Court Justice for over three decades.

Among Justice Stevens' many recent contributions to the rule of law in America are his scathing criticisms of an Executive Branch gone amok, deploring the politicization of the Bench, the influence of money into electoral politics (his dissent in Citizens United will stand the test of time in terms of both correctness and rhetorical skill), defending an organic notion of Constitutional interpretation, and absolute defense of habeas corpus, The Great Writ.

Lesbian Vampire Killers give Justice Stevens two Fangs Up for his vociferous critique of Bush v. Gore.

Add to the list of things Justice Stevens has now begun to champion: The death penalty, as applied in 21st Century America, is unconstitutional per the 8th (and presumably 5th and 14th) Amendment. The New York Times previews an excellent essay forthcoming by Justice Stevens on December 23rd, in the most recent Sunday online edition.

You will need to go check the entire substantive story out (and it is very well worth your read), but here are some excerpts

Justice Stevens defended the promise of the Supreme Court’s 1976 decisions reinstating the death penalty even as he detailed the ways in which he said that promise had been betrayed. 

With the right procedural safeguards, Justice Stevens wrote, it would be possible to isolate the extremely serious crimes for which death is warranted. But he said the Supreme Court had instead systematically dismantled those safeguards.

Justice Stevens said the court took wrong turns in deciding how juries in death penalty cases are chosen and what evidence they may hear, in not looking closely enough at racial disparities in the capital justice system, and in failing to police the role politics can play in decisions to seek and impose the death penalty.

Amen, JP. Amen.

Food for thought, people.


Thursday can't be mocked by Siouxsie anymore...

Ok, well, she may still mock me in the comments for some of the morning tubes not being up to gothic snuff.

BUT, it will not be this day.*

This day, is Bauhaus, and one of my all-time favorite tracks by them, in fact.

She's in Parties...
Checkmate, Siouxsie Law. Checkmate.


* * *

*You gotta' admit, "Bela Legosi's Dead" would have just been overkill...just like this ASCII bat!


Wikileaks: One in picture and one sentence...

Like everyone else, I'm still trying to digest the incredible diplomatic fallout from Wikileaks.

It's been interesting watching the roaches scurry now that the lights have been thrown on. So far, nothing seems to damaging: typical diplomatic name-calling, and our duplicity actually revealed. Although, even as far as the latter are concerned, anyone paying attention could tell you 3/4ths of the unstated policy aims of the American Empire without these cables.

For the nonce, until I can more fully ponder it, this lil' cartoon sums up Wikileaks detractors within the U.S. the best...

Yep, that pretty much sums it up...


Wednesday had an unsettling blast from the past...

One of my old homies from the band I was in posted pictures up on facebook of one our Nashville shows. Therein, one of my now-deceased friends was chilling by the speakers, drink in hand, wearing a Prong tee-shirt. Blast from the past, and memories of better days.

Dave, this one is for you, man. Requiem Aeternum

"I Beg To Differ" by Prong, one of the oddest prog-metal/rock groups of the last 20 years.


TSA screenings are likely unconstitutional...

Or, at the least, pretty hot.

These damn things give me the creeps, the "backscatter, full-body x-rays" employed by the TSA. There is absolutely no discernible reason for using these, much less the punitive sexual assault by private, TSA employees when one refuses to be fully irradiated.
The boo-birds have chirped in on this one ad nauseum. However, the best explanation, for the layman and lawya's, is Jeffrey Rosen's Op-Ed in the WaPo on Sunday.

FWIW, I think he nails the "tailoring prong" on this perfectly. The below excerpt pretty much sums up the argument, but the entire piece is worth your read.

Courts evaluating airport-screening technology tend to give great deference to the government's national security interest in preventing terrorist attacks. But in this case, there's a strong argument that the TSA's measures violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Although the Supreme Court hasn't evaluated airport screening technology, lower courts have emphasized, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that "a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.' 

BTW: Sorry these are coming out a day or two late, but after 8 days off, I absolutely got hammered back at the office...and not in that "holy shit, my paralegal is really hot and wore me out" sort of hammering. Alas.



Monday is looking for a

Hope you and yours had a good holiday, and enjoyed spending time with the boils and ghouls of your choice. Besides spending the last week sleeping for 8 hours a night (unheard of for the last eight years!), I went bodysurfing, swimming, shopping, sight-seeing, cooking, hanging out with the meathead, and all-in-all, just enjoying life.

That said, it was a busy week in the law, particularly for the civil liberty end of things. Let's let old school Anthrax take it away...

"I Am The Law", live at the Hammersmith-Odeon in 1987.
Absolutely one of the finest live videos I've seen, "Nice Fuckin Life".