Posts tagged ‘Last Friday’

Executive Power Only A Problem When Someone Else Has It

On the day of Obama's inauguration,  I wr0te:

I will be suitably thrilled if the Obama administration renounces some of the creeping executive power grabs of the last 16 years, but he has been oddly silent about this.  It seems that creeping executive power is a lot more worrisome when someone else is in power.

I want to highlight two recent stories.  First, via Popehat:

The White House is considering endorsing a law that would allow the indefinite detention of some alleged terrorists without trial as part of efforts to break a logjam with Congress over President Barack Obama's plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday.

Last summer, White House officials said they had ruled out seeking a "preventive detention" statute as a way to deal with anti-terror detainees, saying the administration would hold any Guantanamo prisoners brought to the U.S. in criminal courts or under the general "law of war" principles permitting detention of enemy combatants.

However, speaking at a news conference in Greenville, S.C., Monday, Graham said the White House now seems open to a new law to lay out the standards for open-ended imprisonment of those alleged to be members of or fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

That is a really, really bad idea.  What would J Edgar Hoover had done with such a law?  Would Martin Luther King have been declared a terrorist.  And speaking of King, who the FBI kept under illegally deep surveillance for years, we have a second related story via Disloyal Opposition:

Last Friday, federal attorneys told the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals that government officials should be able to track the location of Americans by following their cell phone transmissions -- without having to get a warrant. While the FBI and state and local officials have already obtained logs from mobile phone companies that reveal the locations of customers' telephones, the practice has never formally been endorsed by the courts. The latest federal arguments -- and rebuttals by civil liberties organizations -- give the courts the opportunity to either support or repudiate federal claims that Americans have no "reasonable expectation of privacy" so long as they carry cell phones.

Yes, I blame Bush for getting the ball rolling on both these fronts, but wtf did we elect Obama for?  Many libertarians held their nose at his interventionist economics in order to try to thwart what they saw as a scary trajectory for executive power and civil liberties.  If we had wanted populist economic machinations combined with limitations on individual liberties, we could have voted for Pat Buchanon.

New Floor for the Atrium

As promised (threatened?) here is a report on my home improvement project from this weekend.

We have a small (about 10x15) atrium area in the center of the house.  We have never really been happy with this area, and wanted to develop it as a sitting area when the weather is nice out.  We put in a ceiling fan and ordered some relatively inexpensive furniture, which of course won't get delivered for decades.  However, we were dissatisfied with the floor.  The original owners had a dirt floor, but the plants all apparently died.  They then laid in brick paving stones in the atrium.  Today, many of these paving stones are cracked and water stained, but I did not really have the energy or the money to dig them up and start over.

Last Friday we were at the Phoenix home show and saw a 12"x12" outdoor wooden interlocking floor tile advertised (they are called "interlocking keruing floor tiles").  The tiles have strips of finished wood that looks like teak (but are keruing, whatver that is) attached to a flexible rubber mat.  See the pictures below for the top and bottom respectively (click on any picture to get a larger version):

Pr_top  Pr_bottom

They can be laid with all the strips running the same way, or, as we did it, alternating for a parquet look.  The tiles were $3.25 each, not cheap but less expensive than alternatives, so we purchased enough to cover the area.  They look pretty good, but not perfect - you can see the plastic milk-crate pattern through the wood strips if you look at the right angle.

Here is the area before - note the water stains and the sand which is filling in big cracks and dips in the pavers:


Here is the floor after about 15 minutes -- they do go down fast.  They just lay on the ground with no adhesive.  The design of the bottoms keeps them from sliding around. 


And finally, here we are mostly done.  The company offers edge pieces that are designed like little ramps so a mat of these tiles can stand alone, but we did not need them since I was filling a depressed space wall-to-wall.  Here is the final effect:


We love the result.  I am just finishing a few diagonal cuts to finish off the last side - these were really the only hard part of the job.  I made them with some careful measuring and a circular saw (got a new one with a laser guide - awesome!)


Anyway, this is not really the kind of thing I normally blog, but this product was something I had never seen before and came out so well and was so easy to put down, I had to share.  Besides, if VodkaPundit can share this (which made me really jealous by the way), I thought I could show my weekend project too.