Friday, June 16, 2006

Quote of the day: Europig bosses learn from their U.S. counterparts how to hog the trough—plus Fratboy George and Nino Scalia are, er, themselves


This was a tough one.

• For starters, I'm still thinking we need to talk about an item I already passed over yesterday: fratboy bully Georgie Bush's imbecilic "God, I'm so hip" hectoring of the reporter in "shades" who turned out to suffer from a degenerative eye disease that causes blindness and involves extreme sensitivity to sunlight. Yeah, the asshole apologized, but this still seems to me a vivid example of the crippling dysfunction of a fundamentally defective brain.

If at any time in your life you have any thought of paying even occasional visits to reality, you're supposed to begin to learn early on—I don't know, like when you're seven or eight?—that what's right in front of your eyes is often not what you at first think it is, and in fact is often quite the opposite of what the brain assumes when it's either totally blank or guided only by unprocessed prejudice and "common sense"-based misinformation.

This is the beginning of the journey toward basic human awareness. As the inspirational educator John Holt put it, "A child has no greater desire than to make sense of the world around him." Unless, apparently, something has happened to override or derail that desire.

• Then there's the Supreme Court's Alito-abetted decision to dismantle the police knock-and-announce rule. But Howie has already covered that, so it slips to honorable mention. (See below.)

• Which leaves us with the report by Geraldine Fabrikant in today's NYT: "U.S.-Style Pay Deals for Chiefs Become All the Rage in Europe."

"For decades," writes Ms. Fabrikant, "Europeans were far more restrained than Americans when it came to rewarding the boss." While they still have a long way to go to catch up, she reports that executive Europigs have made large strides:

"European bosses are increasingly winning pay packages that were unimaginable just five years ago.

"'Here in France, greed has been legalized,' said Pierre-Henri LeRoy, who heads the French advisory firm Proxinvest. 'Executives compare themselves to the market in the U.S., not India, when they plan their compensation.'"

Upholding no-knock police entry, Nino Scalia says: So sue!

Still, for sheer groanworthy, "Is this how it begins?" pit-of-the-stomach horror, I don't think you can top the New Imperial Supreme Court Majority's 5-4 decision that the old rule requiring police to knock and announce their presence before entering your premises is for sissies.

At issue was the question left unanswered in the 1995 ruling by Justice Clarence Thomas—on behalf of a unanimous Court, in Wilson v. Arkansas—which held that the centuries-old knock-and-announce rule, grounded in English common law dating back to the 13th century, is indeed enforceable as part of what makes a search "reasonable" under the Fourth Amendment but ducked the question of what exactly the remedy for violating it should be.

Now No-Brain Nino Scalia, writing for the New Imperial Majority, says hey, the rule was never any big deal, and anyway now, unlike in the old days, police are so well trained that they always respect everyone's rights. (Apparently, it seems, our Nino doesn't decide everything based on the original intent of the framers.) And while yeah, the ya-gotta-knock rule is still on the books officially, if you're some whining crybaby who thinks the cops have done you wrong, well, you can always sue. Heh-heh.

I think today's NYT lead editorial, "The Don't-Bother-to-Knock Rule," got it right:

"If Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had stayed on the court, this case might well have come out the other way. For those who worry that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will take the court in a radically conservative direction, it is sobering how easily the majority tossed aside a principle that traces back to 13th-century Britain, and a legal doctrine that dates to 1914, to let the government invade people's homes."


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