And then Elian was freed. The text of the unanimous decision is already online (CNN has the page scans with footnotes, and FindLaw has a PDF):

We have not the slightest illusion about the INS’s choices: the choices — about policy and about application of the policy — that the INS made in this case are choices about which reasonable people can disagree. Still, the choices were not unreasonable, not capricious and not arbitrary, but were reasoned and reasonable. The INS’s considerable discretion was not abused.

I’d love to think that Dubya recommending a reprieve for a Texas death row inmate isn’t political pandering, but I know I’d be wrong. (Of note, the recommendation in this case comes in the face of the Texas Parole Board voting 18-0 against commutation of the sentence and 11-7 against a one-time 30-day reprieve; this is only important because Bush has claimed in the past that he doesn’t intervene in death cases precisely because the Parole Board, not the governor, has ultimate authority over such things.)

Another big company unable to deal with a little parody.

An interesting twist in the constant battle between pharmaceutical companies and patients: a federal district court has given consumers individual standing to sue drug companies which illegally obstruct generic drugs from coming to market and competing. The drug at issue in this case: warfarin sodium, marketed as Coumadin by DuPont, which came off-patent in 1962 and is one of the most prescribed drugs on Earth.

I know this is being logged elsewhere, but I just wanted to express my own happiness about Salon jettisoning much of their recent redesign, keeping some of the visual niceties but also bringing back some of the functional niceties. Editor David Talbot has also written a letter to readers about the re-redesign, which is a great move.

A sad day — yesterday, NewsWatch ceased operations. NewsWatch was a website, run by the nonprofit Center for Media an Public Affairs, that was devoted to keeping a watchful eye on the mainstream media — they took looks at the media’s reporting of everything from the election to the AOL/Time Warner merger to Elian. The site will be missed. (Wired is covering the closure, as well.)

Wow — Jon came up with some pretty damn amazing links to things sport-related. To name a few: I had never seen the Nike soccer ad (“football” to all non-Americans), which I think is just friggin’ beautiful; he found the article about Dion Rayford getting stuck in a Taco Bell window after demanding his chalupa; and he uncovered the official sport of Maryland.

Linux Weekly News took a look at the webcam that powers QuesoCam2, and liked what they saw. I really like it; it’s a plug-and-play network device, trivial to set up, and has pretty damn great picture quality. What’s not to like?

From Dan: there’s a way to get pure digital output from DVDs, unencumbered by scrambling or MacroVision. It turns out that the DVD gurus thought about banning FireWire ports on DVD players, but neglected to ban SDI (serial digital interface) ports, the ports used by high-end big digital displays like plasma screens and projectors. I wonder how long it’ll be until the masters of DVD amend the rules…