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Wager update

A little over a month ago, I made a bet with Oyster of Your Right Hand Thief about how the nation will fare with President Bush winning a second term. It's been long enough that I think it's time for an update.

The terms, in brief, were whether or not the economy would tank, the draft would be reinstated, and there would be a major terrorist attack against the United States. As a "healing gesture," I forced Oyster to take the side that these things would not happen, and I took the side that they will. It's been a month, and here are the results:

Unemployment over 6%: No
Legislation introduced to reinstate the draft: No
Major terrorist attack against the United States: No

It's looking good for Oyster to collect and get a free posting here at Wizbang... and I couldn't be more pleased to be losing.

But I think I've found a loophole in the terms of our bet. I specified "'a major terrorist attack' shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week." But this week's attack on a United States Consulate in Saudi Arabia got me thinking.

Embassies and Consulates are considered sovereign territory of the nation they represent. They are, literally, "American soil," even though they are in a foreign country. When I wrote the terms of our bet, I intended "within the 50 United States." But by my careless wording, it could also mean these embassies and consulates.

I am literally of two minds on this matter. It is a perfect example of "letter of the law" versus "original intent." I can't decide which argument should hold, so I thought I'd toss it out to the Wizbang readers and see what those made of it. And later, Oyster and I can hash it out.

J.


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Comments (29)

Strict constructionist here... (Below threshold)

Strict constructionist here, sorry, JT. The text of the agreement must be the final authority. If you inadvertently win because you neglected to word the agreement properly, that should just be a lesson learned.

Well, did the text of the w... (Below threshold)

Well, did the text of the wager specify "if Bush wins a second term" or "during Bush's second term." Bush's second term really hasn't started yet, you know ...

--|PW|--

in contract law if ambiguou... (Below threshold)
HRYK:

in contract law if ambiguousness arisses it is interpreted in favor of the non-drafting party.

And there weren't 200 Ameri... (Below threshold)

And there weren't 200 Americans killed in the Saudi blast, either.

I say your intent was a... (Below threshold)

I say your intent was actual American soil, and that should be the criterion.

I'm delighted to be winning... (Below threshold)

I'm delighted to be winning, Jay. Um, I'm sure we can agree on some specific terms if an attack occurs. However, if you wish to do it in advance, please have your legal team contact my legal team at their leisure.

Oh, and thanks a load for linking to my humble blog after I write a high-toned post about whores, champagne, politicians and testicles.

Not my proudest submission, I must say. Sensitive Wizbangers beware.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeks! You would... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeks! You would do Daschle proud with all that meandering around the rules, looking for a loop hole round the next winding road, grasping at straws in the ole bale a'hay. Dan Rather, are you listening to all this supposin?

Is Oyster countin his chickens yet?

On this one I sure hope he wins big time! :-)

Embassies and consulates ma... (Below threshold)

Embassies and consulates may be American soil, but they are not "within the borders of the United States." No issue or ambiguity here.

Above all, you gotta play f... (Below threshold)

Above all, you gotta play fair. Take me, for instance. Last night, my excellent blog had 177 votes taken away, dropping me to second place. Hey, these things happen. But you don't hear me crying in my beer and demanding a recount. No sir, I'm resolutely and manfully TROLLING FOR VOTES!! For the love of all that is holy, I beg of you, PLEASE, vote for The Gleeson Bloglomerate right this very instant! (And tomorrow too!)

See, that's how to handle these sorts of situations.

I had a thoughtful discussi... (Below threshold)

I had a thoughtful discussion of the issue ready to go, but Tom settled it: "within the borders of the United States" is not the same as "on American soil." Since the terms of the bet uses the former language, embassies and consulates would not be included.

That's strict constructionism, Sean. Extending the borders of the U.S. to include embassies and consulates would be judicial activism.

Nope...gotta be within the ... (Below threshold)

Nope...gotta be within the definted borders of the United States.

you're betting about americ... (Below threshold)
disgusted:

you're betting about americans dying??? what the fuck is wrong with you people??? you're monsters...

So if this is Bush's first ... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

So if this is Bush's first term, pennynitwit, that means he can run again in 2008!!! Good thing I saved my yard signs.

Master of None,Act... (Below threshold)
Cybrludite:

Master of None,

Actually, he can't . The amendment that term-limits the President specifies time serving as president, not the number of times they've been elected. Now if he were a cabinet official for President Rice in '08 and a terrorist nuke took out everyone else in the line of succession, he could serve again as President for 2 years.

Surely, Pennywit meant that... (Below threshold)

Surely, Pennywit meant that his second term doesn't start until his second inauguration on January 20.

"'a major terrorist attack'... (Below threshold)
Bill M:

"'a major terrorist attack' shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week."

--------------
The language appears specific enough -- "within the borders of the United States" clearly does not include consulates and embassies. However, the follow-on language (..."or a series....that kill at least 200 Americans...") does not limit the geographical area. Therefore a series of coordinated attacks around the world which would cumulatively kill 200 Americans would fulfill the conditions of the bet.

I hate to disagree with you... (Below threshold)

I hate to disagree with you, McGehee. If I even do disagree with you. I'm not sure if our opinions are compatible or not, you tell me:

"[A] major terrorist attack" shall be defined as

1) a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or

2) a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week.

Since definition 2 does not delineate any territorial restrictions whatsoever, any attacks that kill Americans anywhere in the world would count towards the "major terrorist attack."

(That particular attack on the Saudi embassy would not count however, but only because no Americans were killed, only Saudis.)

Despite my affinity for JT, I will be glad to see Oyster win. Just as you will be glad to see The Gleeson Blogomerate win! But it won't happen by itself! You've got to get out there and VOTE! Please, don't make me beg! (Again!)

Bill M made the same point ... (Below threshold)

Bill M made the same point as I just did, while I was writing my comment. Thanks, Bill.

Actually, it's even broader... (Below threshold)
CrowScape:

Actually, it's even broader than you may realize:

"a major terrorist attack' shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week."

See? There's no mention of human intent or action. A bad earthquake or hurricane or severe heat wave/cold snap could meet this criteria. Similarly, a dramatic engineering faliure would qualify. Ditto for a mass suicide. (I see a couple hundred PEST sufferers drinking a special brand of kool-aid)

disgusted: Please read the... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

disgusted: Please read the three items in the bet.

Unemployment rising, draft legislation, attack on our soil

They probably should have added taking Social Security away from Seniors

Maybe then you would "get it".

Wow, Crowscape, Scott Peter... (Below threshold)

Wow, Crowscape, Scott Peterson could have used your skills. If human agency is not required, and "related" is understood to mean related in kind, JT has won already! "Incidents" have to include murders, car wrecks and heart attacks, yes? And surely there have been 200 American fatalities of one of those sorts in the past six weeks.

Actually, it's even broa... (Below threshold)

Actually, it's even broader than you may realize:

"a major terrorist attack' shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week."

See? There's no mention of human intent or action. A bad earthquake or hurricane or severe heat wave/cold snap could meet this criteria. Similarly, a dramatic engineering faliure would qualify. Ditto for a mass suicide.

I think it's even broader than that, Crowscape.

a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week."

It could be argued that this could include anything from 200 deaths from the flu, 200 from motor accidents - hell, even 200 from just plain old age.

They'd all be related incidents, as all the victims died from the same cause.

one last swack at the "Amer... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

one last swack at the "American soil" clause, though I think Tom and others ably took that down: embassies abroad can at any time be redefined by the host country, meaning that at any time the embassy could be closed and its occupants sent packing. not terribly sovereign, that.

I think the spirit of the a... (Below threshold)

I think the spirit of the agreement and clause construction makes it clear that "a major terrorist attack" shall be definied as a single [terrorist] incident. It's evident that was the intent, because you have to read the sentence as a whole.

But I don't think embassies are included because they aren't "within the borders of the United States" as that is commonly understood. Canons of construction dictate that you go with the commonly understood meaning of the term first. Only a non-lawyer would try to make a straight-faced argument that "within the borders of the United States" includes an embassy techincally "on American soil" but in another country!

Honestly, MoN, do you have ... (Below threshold)

Honestly, MoN, do you have anything better than name-calling? I want you to think about this for a minute. The president is sworn in in January. Until then, he is merely the president-elect.

President Bush is a sitting president, but he is also the president-elect. His second term does not begin until after his first term expires ... which is not until January.

--|PW|--

The "contract" to bet is nu... (Below threshold)
norespecterofpersonages:

The "contract" to bet is null and void because you "forced" the Oyster to "take" an option!

My apologies to pennywit. ... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

My apologies to pennywit. In my quick first reading of your post, I thought you were making reference to the belief by some that Bush wasn't elected to his first term in 2000. I am sorry, and I will be more careful in the future.

MoN:Thank you very... (Below threshold)

MoN:

Thank you very much.

--|PW|--

My sister and her family - ... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

My sister and her family - her husband is an electrician for the State Department. She's been all over but very unfortunately now in Uruguay. The properties for the American Embassy and it's employees and family, is considered "American Soil" so your bet answer is going to have to be decided by Oyster. I'm sure you both meant on American Soil; the embassies are considered American Soil but not in the same context as the continent of the US.

Cindy




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