Don’t Mess With Pooh

LOS ANGELES (Reuters): A California judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit that could have cost Walt Disney Co. (DIS) hundreds of millions of dollars from Winnie the Pooh product sales, saying Disney’s foes lied and stole evidence.
Stephen Slesinger Inc., the family firm suing Disney, “is dishonest and shows no remorse,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy wrote in his decision. He ruled that Slesinger’s actions threatened the integrity of the legal system and the 13-year-old case should be dismissed as punishment.

I’ll give you the straight scoop here: Pooh knows where the action is, and despite Eisner being unable to find his backside without assistance of the Hubble telescope, Disney is where the Benjamins are at. And Pooh is one bear who knows how to look out for himself.
So a bear whispers a word here, a suggestion there, and whamo — a friendly judge issues a ruling, and its bye-bye Mr. Slesinger, hello penthouse suite at the Grand Californian.
I’m tellin’ ya: don’t mess with Pooh.
PS – Yah, I know the Ecosystem is foobared. No, I don’t know what’s wrong. Yes, I know your details page shows one thing and the rankings shows another. No, I haven’t fixed it yet.

Iraq CPA on the Web

If you haven’t already done so, you should take a few moments to check out the Coalition Provisional Authority web site, which has tons of interesting information on the reconstruction of Iraq.
You can check out all the official “regulations” and “orders” of the CPA, which are the de facto law of the land in Iraq. Download day-by-day Excel spreadsheets full of data on power production and consumption. Or check out images of the new Iraqi currency.
Good stuff, all, and pretty impressive transparancy for an “occupation” government.
One recent order, though, leaves me wondering. Order 62 (PDF) was published on March 1st — just a few days ago — and states in part:
“When determined necessary for security and public order within Iraq, the Administrator of the CPA may disqualify an individual from participating in an election as a candidate for, accepting a nomination to, or holding public office, at any level, if that individual:
a) Has engaged in, ordered, or publicly incited violence against Coalition Forces or CPA personnel;
b) Was a full member of the Ba’ath Party holding the rank of `Udw Qutriyya (Regional Command Member) `Udw Far’ (Branch Member) , `Udw Shu’bah (Section Member) or `Udw Firqah (Group Member), as determined by the Higher National De-Baathification Commission;
c) Is an agent of a foreign government;
d) Has been convicted of a serious offense;
e) Is reasonably suspected of having committed, participated in, ordered, or permmitted war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, atrocities, or gross violations of human rights; or
f) Has publicly espoused political philosophies or legal doctrines contrary to the democratic order and rule of law being established in Iraq.”

This is obviously a pretty broad power. And I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, particularly given that the order explicitly states that it “shall remain in effect only until the CPA is disolved.
The odd thing to me, though, is that I had assumed that the June 30th handover of power would disolve the CPA as well. So why publish an order like this now, a mere four months before that happens? Does Bremmer expect to actually use this power? And if he doesn’t, why bother with the order?
I would certainly hope that if he does plan on using it, he has an ironclad reason for doing so — because clearly, even if this order gives him the authority to do so, the political fallout from using this power could be catastrophic if it were abused.
Yet again, I don’t have answers here, but am asking the questions. Anybody else have thoughts on what, if anything, this might mean?
Update: Well, I’m not crazy on one point at least. The November 15th Agreement (PDF) explicitly states that June 30th is it for the CPA: “By June 30th, 2004, the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly will elect it’s leaders and assume full sovereignty for Iraq. The Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority will be dissolved.” So clearly Bremmer could only use this power between now and then.

Andrew Masters The Obvious

Andrew Sullivan, 3/2/04: “It seems clearer and clearer that the religious right amendment to ban civil marriage rights for gays is not really intended to pass any time soon. The point is to use the issue electorally – threaten the civil rights of some Americans to get a few percentage points in a few Senate races and possibly against Kerry…”
Good morning, Andrew! Glad you could join us!
We’ll let you slide just this once, but next time, you’ll be marked as “tardy” on your class report…