The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

UPDATE: The Dainty Knife

Hi, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any news articles. I’ll be coming back to The Deaf Claque sometime in the future, probably when the general elections begin to near; all of this “drama”–if you can even call it that–of the primaries is just too ridiculous and doesn’t deserve real coverage. UPDATE: I will be covering other news over the summer, as there is plenty going on in the world, especially Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the meantime, please visit The Dainty Knife. This is another blog I just started on which my friends and I post all different kinds of media that we find entertaining or uniquely useful in some way.

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April 19, 2008 Posted by | Blogs, Nathan Schmitt | 1 Comment

Barack Obama Speech: “A More Perfect Union” on Racism

By Nathan Schmitt

Barack Obama speaking on race in Philadelphia, PA at the Constitution Center on March 18, 2008.

I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet as this campaign has been ridiculous, on all sides, to say the least. However, I very much appreciate Barack Obama’s willingness to talk about race in a mature manner. There hasn’t been much maturity in politics or the news media lately.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Race Issues, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Signing Statement: National Defense Authorization Act for 2008

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Searchable) (H.R. 4986) along with a signing statement effectively giving himself the power to ignore sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222. Here is a quick summary of these four sections:

§ 841 “established a commission to be known as the `Commission on Wartime Contracting'” that is essentially in charge of investigating defense contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

§ 846 Provides “protection for contractor employees from reprisal for disclosure of certain information” relevant to violations of law regarding such defense contracts.

§ 1079 States that the various heads of Intelligence must deliver requested Intelligence information, within 45 days of such a request, to one of the congressional Committees on Armed Services.

§1222 Prohibits the use of alloted funds for the creation of permanent military bases in Iraq or for the U.S.’s “control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

I’m not quite sure from whence the President claims this authority because he does not explicitly (or implicitly) state why he thinks he has such power. There are however three constitutional provisions that speak directly to this question:
Art. I, § 8, ¶ 12: Congressional Enumerated Powers:

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years[…]

This provision vests the power of Military Appropriations specifically in Congress.

Art. I, § 8, ¶ 18: Necessary and Proper Clause:

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution [the powers] vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States […]

This provision states (along with Art. I, § 1, ¶ 1) that Congress is the sole legislative body and that it has the power to make laws that it deems necessary and proper to uphold the Constitution.

Art. I, § 7, ¶ 2 & 3: The Presentment Clause:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated […]

This clause lays out the process which a bill must go through to become a law.

The first provision clearly implies that the President does not have the power to overlook Section 1222 of H.R. 4986. It really doesn’t get any more black and white: the power of military appropriations was vest explicitly and distinctly to Congress and the President’s signing statement is therefore in direct conflict of the Presentment Clause.

As far as the other three sections that the President posits to negate, the language of the Presentment Clause is very clear in stating “If he approve[s of the bill] he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections.” This is not a debate of any kind, I’m simply at a loss. The President assumes the power he does on the basis that he wants it, and not on any Constitutional provision, law, statute, case, precedent, etc…

Wow…

February 13, 2008 Posted by | Bills, Committee on Oversight, Congress, George W. Bush, House of Representatives, Impeachment, Iraq War, Jon Stewart, Nathan Schmitt, Presidential Vetos, Video | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Common: “A Dream”

By Nathan Schmitt

“A Dream” by Common

January 14, 2008 Posted by | music, Nathan Schmitt, Video | , , | Leave a comment

The Primaries

By Nathan Schmitt

I thought it might be helpful, since I haven’t posted in awhile, to show that I’m alive and give a little bit of useful information at the same time.

As you probably know, the 2008 Presidential Primaries have begun and the processes in Iowa and New Hampshire have already taken place. Here are two helpful sources for Primary data that may help keep you informed in this lengthy process.

CNN has a very well organized page on the Primary results. If you click the states in the picture under the headline “Follow the Primaries and Caucuses,” you will be taken to a data summary of that state.

MSNBC’s page is less organized with respect to hard results but it is better for keeping up with current stories relating to the Primaries.

P.S. The headline picture is intended to put the whole process in perspective. Interpret it as you’d like.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Nathan Schmitt | , | Leave a comment

Another Possible Mayor of the United States?

By Theo O’Brien

There is some talk of a possible run for president in 2008 by Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s current mayor and founder of Bloomberg L.P. Earlier in the year, Mr. Bloomberg switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independent, which drew a great deal of attention from the media. Though he denied any intention to run next year, numerous people that have talked to him insist that he had not stopped considering it, and with his billionaire status he is quite capable of waiting it out, even past the primary elections.

At No. 142 on the Forbes list of the word’s richest people, Bloomberg is worth at least $5.5 billion. He controls a private company that provides real-time financial data to money managers and others around the globe. And he has built a news-gathering organization that employs more than 1,000 reporters.” (1)

The most recent signal that the mayor is moving toward entering the race for the Whitehouse is his reported meetings with a previous United States ambassador to the U.N.

The sessions, which were confirmed by multiple sources, have been conducted with Nancy Soderberg, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a Clinton Administration foreign policy adviser. One source described her as “Bloomberg’s Condi.”

A range of topics have been discussed, from non-proliferation to the defense budget, with a specific focus on the war in Iraq.

These sessions dramatically contradict Bloomberg’s denials that he is planning to run for president. The one aspect of his possible candidacy that is considered missing is foreign policy experience. These strategy sessions with Soderberg seem clearly designed to fortify that weakness.” (1)

Bloomberg, himself, has not admitted publicly to having any plans to run next year but with his vast financial resources he poses an interesting possibility and a plausible threat to the candidates currently leading in the polls.

November 24, 2007 Posted by | 2008 Election, Theo O'Brien | , | Leave a comment

Somalia Is Still Down

By Theo O’Brien

The eastern African country has continued to struggle finding stability after the United Nations’ forces withdrew in 1995. The government’s military—with aid from its ally, Ethiopia—has attempted to suppress a strong insurgency, but is suffering heavy casualties and fierce resistance. The insurgents are suspected to be mostly composed of the former government in Somalia: the Union of Islamic Courts. The Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has asked his citizens to aid the troops countering the insurgency.

‘My government is doing all it can to save lives but people in the neighbourhood must also fight the al-Shabab militants hiding among them,’ President Yusuf told a news conference in Nairobi.” (1)

The conflict has created a large amount of refugees and a huge problem for the humanitarian aid organizations attempting to stave off more civilian casualties.

The worst humanitarian crisis in Africa may not be unfolding in Darfur, but here, along a 20-mile strip of busted-up asphalt, several top United Nations officials said.

A year ago, the road between the market town of Afgooye and the capital of Mogadishu was just another typical Somali byway, lined with overgrown cactuses and the occasional bullet-riddled building. Now it is a corridor teeming with misery, with 200,000 recently displaced people crammed into swelling camps that are rapidly running out of food.” (2)

Somalia has seemed to receive far less aid and attention than the similarly tragic crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan—though U.N. officials are claiming that Somalis in a worse situation.

Top United Nations officials who specialize in Somalia said the country had higher malnutrition rates, more current bloodshed and fewer aid workers than Darfur, which is often publicized as the world’s most pressing humanitarian crisis and has taken clear priority in terms of getting peacekeepers and aid money. (2)

The reason for the inattention to Somalia’s on-going disaster is that the country has been in crisis for many years, compared to Darfur’s relatively new tragedy, says Eric Laroche, the head of United Nations humanitarian operations in Somalia.

If this were happening in Darfur, there would be a big fuss. But Somalia has been a forgotten emergency for years.” (2)

I am not contending that either crisis is more important—obviously, both are incredibly disturbing situations—but simply attempting to draw awareness to the alarming circumstances facing the Somali people.

November 20, 2007 Posted by | Humanitarian Crisis, Theo O'Brien | , | Leave a comment

Oregon Football: Dennis Dixon out for the Season

By Nathan Schmitt

Star quarterback and first pick for the Heisman (even as I’m writing this, after the post-loss update) went down Thursday at Arizona with a torn ACL. Dixon will be out for the season, a truly tragic turn of events not only for University of Oregon but all of college football.

And there wasn’t a more telling moment in the stadium than watching his expression change from a kid who was home free — paydirt — to a player who was now going to have to explain to America how he felt about fading out of the Heisman Trophy race.

So how does Dixon feel: “I don’t really care about that; I never really cared about it.”

Then he talked about being a good teammate, and cheering for his friends.

It was perfect. And succinct. And telling. But after you looked around Tucson, absorbing the evening, there was one clear thought — is there really a college player worth more to his team anywhere in America?

Consider that Oregon’s beautiful offense was turned into a stumbling, sputtering mess on Thursday. Not because Arizona stopped it. But because Dixon left the field in the second quarter.

[…]

In the end, though, the kid capable of winning this game despite all the mistakes was out of uniform in the second quarter. He was ushered into the locker room. His father, Dennis Sr., followed. Inside, there was some shouting, and crying, and later, the father said, “He’s really taking it hard.”

Yet, in the second half, here was Dixon on the sideline, smiling. Cheering. Clapping on third down. He was rooting for Brady Leaf, the guy who stole Dixon’s starting job last season.

When it was done — and it feels done — Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said: ‘When a guy like that goes down, it’s very difficult. I feel bad for Dennis.’” (1)

I would just like to point out the amazing level of maturity and the equal amount of respect he deserves for how he has handled this extremely unfortunate situation.

This is truly a tragedy, no matter how you look at it. I guess in some sad way you could say “Well, it’s good for the other teams.” But is it? What good is a win against a disorganized, emotionally distraught team who is without their leader and half of their explosive offensive line? Quantitatively, it gives the other teams a better chance at winning a national title. But where is the glory, or even the respect, in winning a race against a crying kid on crutches?

Here is the list of the seven injured players i referred to:

Dennis Dixon #10

Jonathan Stewart #28 (Status questionable)

Jeremiah Johnson #24

Brian Paysinger #19

Cameron Colvin #3

John Bacon #40 (Defensive Line)

A.J. Tuitele #34 (Defensive Line) (2)

Dixon, we all wish you a quick and full recovery and thank you for the amazing season. It’s not even a question of how Oregon will do in the BCS, we just wish you and the rest of the injured players a good recovery.

November 17, 2007 Posted by | College Football, General Discourse, Nathan Schmitt | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush Vetos Spending Bill

By Nathan Schmitt

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed a $600 Billion spending bill after its passing through congress. Here is a summary:

The bill Bush vetoed Tuesday includes about $150 billion to run those departments and more than $450 billion in mandatory spending on Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health care programs for the elderly and poor, according to the House Appropriations Committee.” (1)

This is the text of “Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.”

The President was very critical of congress to the point of resulting to ad hominem name-calling:

The majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility, but so far, it’s acting like a teenager with a new credit card.” (1)

I think this next part speaks for itself:

At the same time, Bush signed a $459 billion annual Defense Department spending bill that increases the Pentagon’s budget 9.5 percent to fund operations other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although that legislation also includes what he calls unnecessary spending, he said he considers it important to deliver money to the military in a time of war.” (2)

I don’t think something like this can go without mention. This is blatantly trying to create a causal connection between two things where it is really a correlational relationship.

If i were to donate money to a school’s athletic program, I wouldn’t claim to be helping the academics. Both serve their purposes but are not effectually equivalent.

November 14, 2007 Posted by | Economics, George W. Bush, Nathan Schmitt, Presidential Vetos | , , | Leave a comment

This is Just Absurd but Funny (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Nathan Schmitt, Video | , | Leave a comment