Dec. 15th, 2003

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if Hemingway wrote A Visit from St. Nick, by James Thurber
...The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.

“Father,” the children said.

There was no answer. He’s there, all right, they thought.

“Father,” they said, and banged on their beds.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“We have visions of sugarplums,” the children said.

“Go to sleep,” said mamma.

“We can’t sleep,” said the children. They stopped talking, but I could hear them moving. They made sounds.

“Can you sleep?” asked the children.

“No,” I said.

“You ought to sleep.”

“I know. I ought to sleep.”

“Can we have some sugarplums?”

“You can’t have any sugarplums,” said mamma.

“We just asked you.”

There was a long silence. I could hear the children moving again.

“Is Saint Nicholas asleep?” asked the children.

“No,” mamma said. “Be quiet.”

“What the hell would he be asleep tonight for?” I asked.

“He might be,” the children said.

“He isn’t,” I said.

“Let’s try to sleep,” said mamma...
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It’s not entirely clear how the Winnie the Pooh lawsuit became a modern epic. The facts of the case seem straightforward. In 1930, a literary agent named Stephen Slesinger acquired the merchandising rights to the Pooh story from A. A. Milne, who created the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood to entertain his real-life son, Christopher Robin Milne. In 1961, Shirley Slesinger, Stephen’s widow, signed those rights over to the Walt Disney company in return for four per cent of the revenues that Disney received from Pooh merchandise. Thirty years later, the Slesinger family sued Disney for breach of contract, claiming that the company had stinted on the royalties. Now, twelve years into the litigation, the case is said to be the oldest one on file in Los Angeles Superior Court, and it has recently earned another dubious distinction, as a kind of postscript to the O. J. Simpson case...
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This is, is it not, the same court that decided that the minor matter of running the country wasn't enough to balance Paula Jones' interest in having a her case thrown out of court two years faster, right?

I never got the impression that executive privilege meant all that much to them.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Vice President Dick Cheney's challenge to a court ruling that would force him to disclose details of meetings between his energy policy task force and the industry.

The high court Monday accepted Cheney's appeal and will hear the case sometime after February, with a ruling expected in June.

Cheney has balked at turning over documents relating to the controversial energy policy task force that he headed for the Bush administration. A lawsuit claims he had made improper contacts with the energy industry when developing government policy.

Cheney is appealing a federal court's order that he release internal files of the task force. The White House has argued the courts and Congress have no business making inquiries, even limited ones, into the decision-making power of federal agencies and offices. Cheney has said executive power needs to be increased in such confidentiality cases...


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