Remains Of A Three Legged Stool

Dear Members of Congress,

Thank you for taking the time to fight over the renewal of the terrorist surveillance law. You know, the one that gives all oversight for executive branch spy agencies eavesdropping to the executive branch (seems a bit circular, no?). The Senate guys among you have decided to agree with the Exec that it takes too long to get an emergency court order to spy on people in the U.S. Despite the lack of any real examples that support that assumption. Maybe just a gut feeling?

We know that the executive branch thinks this is a good idea–heck, they proposed it! And the judicial branch doesn’t have a say. So, it’s up to you in the legislative branch to do your job and provide a check and balance to the executive branch by letting the judicial branch do their job.

I know, when the President says TERRORIST the knee-jerk reaction is to buckle to whatever formula he proposes. But you guys need to remember that the Prez is not boss over you.

According to the first three articles of our nation’s founding rules, there are three equally powered branches of our government. And, through the separation–and interleaving–of powers as conceived by James Madison and Co, there exists a precarious balance of power.

I believe Madison when he says it’s pretty important to have judicial oversight of the executive branch. It’s the legislative branch can see that this happens. My dearest Members of Congress, any abdication of your constitutional role–to the manipulations of an increasingly imperial president–means that you are weakening the judicial leg of the stool, as well as your own.

Our government can’t stand on only one leg. So stand up yourselves and prop up the wobbly judicial checks on the executive before the stool collapses.

Doc Think


Turns out that the 12-year old isn’t allowed to touch the snow while at school. Even when they are on the playground for recess. Even when there is wonderful packing-style snow all over the place.

No snow touching.

Now I got the other touching thing, and watching out where the huskies go, but no touching snow?

“Why?” you ask.

Well, because you might put your eye out, of course!

We have really become a very scared people. And not just terror-wise. We have adopted these zero tolerance modes to protect ourselves and our kids–and the insurance premiums of schools, government, stores, etc.

We warn people that coffee is hot. We don’t allow kids to bring in sunscreen to pre-school without a waiver. We make toddlers take off their shoes and coats and take them out of their mom’s arms before being screened for explosives. And we don’t let them touch snow.

Yet, there is no shielding from pictures of Britney’s privates (sorry, no link to that). Or from the graphic violence in video games marketed to kids. Or from the sexualization of little girls. And we are still afraid to protect kids from sexually transmitted diseases.

This seems squirrely. Do we want our kids’ in a plastic bubble to keep them safe? Do we give up control of our kids to the “media”?

Wait, I am losing track–should I be afraid? Should I be strong? And where on this spectrum is yellow snow?

BeanTown Keystone

It’s not so scary. That lite-brite image with the raised middle finger under the overpass.

Wasn’t so scary in New York where 41 of them caused no stir. Philly removed 56 without fanfare. Not so scary for the past few weeks in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, according to Cartoon Network. And Portland police said they are leaving them up as long as they aren’t on municipal property. No investigation either, since they don’t see a crime being committed.

But somebody on Wednesday saw the lite-brite from a bus in Boston and reported it as a “suspicious” object. Makes sense. They saw something ductaped to a bridge and were concerned. Then the Boston police came in. And made such a ruckus. Blew some of the signs up. Closed roads and the Charles River. All because nobody in the investigation watches Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. If there was a twenty-something cop, they might have recognized the Mooninites. Try Flickr for some images, even images of the actual signs like this one from San Francisco uploaded Jan. 13.

But rather than admit that they went spaz, Boston and Mass. authorities are now trying to blame the two hapless local guys that were hired by some marketing firm to place the lite-brite promos.

The 15-year-old was a bit disturbed.

“I don’t think that I like that they got so worked up.”

He’s right. It wasn’t a terror threat. It was a marketing ploy. And it wasn’t a problem except that someone didn’t put the breaks on the frenzy–or didn’t take a step back to investigate the image. Don’t blame the slacker-type guys making a buck for the Boston over-reaction. Let them go! My advice to Beantown, back down quick and as quiet as you can.

Here’s the funniest part. The locals want to charge Turner Broadcast–parent of Cartoon Network–for the investigation. Given all the free word-of-mouth advertising, I think it’s a much better value than a Super Bowl ad. Going rate for one of those? $2.6 million for 30 seconds. Cost of the Boston police frenzy, more like $500K.