Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Veil Slips . . . Again

The other day, DNC Chair (tee-hee) Howard Dean squarely blamed the Kelo decision on “the President’s right-wing Supreme Court.” This despite the fact that the Court’s conservative block – Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas – joined by the squishy O’Connor, was in dissent. A self-respecting Kos Kid was troubled by the idiocy of Dean’s comment, and the deeper idiocy of which it was symptomatic:

There's simply no way that Dean's comments can be spun to make them even remotely defensible. Dean's tendency to shoot his mouth off was endearing to us Deaniacs as a matter of pride during the campaign, but as DNC chair it's been a constant embarrassment.

A comment to that diary entry reminds us we are in the Land of Koz:

I'm 100% behind [Dean's statement]. Why? Because it resonates, and I'm perfectly willing to go for a false statement that illustrates a truth.
In other words, people are mad about Kelo, so we'll blame it on the other side and hope the people are too dumb to question us. Typical Democratic tactic and yet another striking example of the contemporary left's obsession with the "fake but accurate" mode of argument . . . err . . . make that assault. I suppose I should be glad that they bother to tell us when they're lying. In the end, though, the political left's lies are pretty easy to spot.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Parody of Itself

Scrappleface again takes parody to new heights of subtlety:
. . . This is why the United Nations is so desperately needed in today's world. We will continue to take bold action in producing reports on the rape and abuse of Sudanese women. The U.N. exists to fearlessly monitor tragic violence against oppressed people by government forces in our U.N. member states. . . .
I would not have been surprised to read this in AFP. It's getting harder to parody these people. I have no doubt, though, that Scrappleface will perservere.

Hollywood, Where Art Thou?

VodkaPundit wants to be William Powell, but only because he doesn't have the chops to pull off Cary Grant. If I could have been born a Star from Hollywood's Golden Age, I'd have been Jimmy Stewart just to have Grace Kelly around in Rear Window. (Though, in fairness, Myrna Loy or Audry Hepburn are both equally stunning . . . and Cary worked with all three, anyway).

Relatedly, this Tuesday (August 2), Warner Home Video will release the complete six-film cycle of Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy. Although the franchise had its ups and downs, each film is precious in its own way. And don't forget Asta!

Would that Hollywood could remember how to make great movies. Oh well, thank heavens for DVD.

Stem Cells and Presidential Power

Allow me to ramble a bit on Frist's change of heart concering stem cells. I'll start by noting that, by and large, I am ambivalent about federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. My ambivalence is the product of the conviction that, as a practical matter, the issue will be moot in the very near future -- every day we read about adult stem cells being coaxed into ever more therapeutic behavior and new techniques of stem cell creation that are not embryo dependent. That said, I do hope that the President has the good sense to sign any bill the Congress presents, even if ithe bill is inconsistent with his most fundamental beliefs about the sanctity of life. Unlike issues of national security and foreign policy, Congress is the institution that, in the end, is -- and should be -- the place where momentous decisions such as this are taken. The President's view is legitimate, but it is also just that -- the President's view. And the President has no more right to impose his view on this issue than I do.

The President could (and perhaps should) sign the bill with a heavy heart, but sign the bill he should. Otherwise, all the President's well-chosen rhetoric regarding judges who uphold their own personal views at the expense of those the people express through their elected representatives would ring hollow indeed. Simply stated, on issues lying within the scope of Article I power, it is no more the President's place to make law than it is the place of the courts (for purposes of this discussion, we'll leave the intricacies of delegation doctrine and ageny power to one side -- you get my point). That job is exclusively reserved for the Congress. An honorable man would, in such circumstances, do his constitutional duty and give effect to the expressed will of the people.

In the end, this decision is not -- and was never -- the President's decision to take. That Congress abdicated its responsibility in this area for so long reflects poorly on the institution, revealing an unflattering timidity. The President was right to fill the breach. But, once Congress steps in, the President must withdraw. I'll say again that I don't have much of a dog in this fight and believe it is a fight that science will shortly moot (in the interest of disclosure, if forced to take sides I suppose I'd favor the research). Whichever way Congress comes out, though, that should be the law. In short, that's democracy.

Update: And then there are crushingly arrogant shitheads like this, who blithely mock others' deeply held convictions.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Privilege and the Roberts Documents

There's a very interesting discussion over at the Conspiracy regarding the precise nature of the privilege being claimed to shield John Roberts's work in the Solicitor General's office from Senate review in connection with the upcoming confirmation hearings. Eugene is wondering whether the White House is specifically claiming that the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege. I can't add much to the discussion, but I will say that when I heard the White House was releasing the White House Counsel documents and not the SG documents, I thought the reporter must have had it backwards.

It seems to me that if there is a privilege to be claimed -- especially an attorney-client privilege -- it would more naturally extend to documents prepared in the Office of the White House Counsel, which is, by definition, counsel to the President. In other words, the Presidency is the client and, hence, the party entitled to assert the privilege. I think there's a marginally better case to be made for release of the SG documents, where the "client" is the government as a whole (or, perhaps, the executive branch), and not just the Presidency.

That said, I tend to think the better privilege argument for both categories of documents is two-pronged. First, there is an executive privilege. Second, and closely related in purpose, there is a deliberative process privilege. Both privileges, as I understand them based on my time in the OEOB culling documents from productions to Congress on the basis of the privileges, are intended to protect the unfettered exchange of views with the executive branch and its agencies. In other words, it's not good policy to have advisors worrying about having their words thrown back in their faces during an unforeseeable investigation many years down the road.

I think it's a mistake to release either category of documents, not because they may provide fodder with which to scuttle a confirmation, but simply because of the precedent it sets. Admittedly, I have not had the opportunity to think about this very deeply -- unlike the guys at the Conspiracy, I have cases that occupy most of my time ;) -- but, based on my experiences in the White House, I just think this is a plain old bad idea. People won't think as far outside the box if they have to worry about being compelled to justify their every thought by folks whose vested interests lie inside the box.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Michael Graham Suspended

I am a huge fan of Michael Graham and, for the seven years I lived in D.C., was a loyal listener of 630 WMAL. I am flabbergasted that WMAL has now suspended Graham for comments regarding the inarguable link between Islam and terror. Sure, Graham's comments were highly provocative, but that's his job. Although not everyone will reach the same conclusion based on the facts, Michael's conclusion that Islam is a terrorist organization is far from illegitimate. Of course, the grievance machinery at CAIR kicked into overdrive and now, Allah Be Praised, CAIR has succeeded -- for the moment -- in silencing Michael Graham.

I'd write more and detail the whole miserable episode, but, as usual, Michelle's post cannot be improved. Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Spelling Whores at the NYT

You've seen them on the internet since its inception -- the spelling and grammar whores. They are the folks whose posts to Usenet and other message boards meticulously point out mistakes of grammar and spelling in other peoples' posts. They insult the maker of an innocent mistake and rely upon the mistake as irrefutable evidence of a lack of basic intelligence. Spell "millennium" with one "n" and you're surely a knuckle-dragging dolt incapable of coherent thought. Argument over.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the New York Times -- ever on the cutting edge of social corruption -- today stoops to the level of a bottom-feeding Spelling Whore. In an article concerning recently (and, I'll add, inadvisedly) released documents authored by John Roberts during his tenure in the Office of the White House Counsel (my old OEOB stomping grounds), the Times notes:

The papers reflect that Mr. Roberts was a stickler for legal and semantic accuracy. In his review of proposed presidential remarks at the signing of a bill to end discrimination in housing, he asked that "from Maine to California" be changed to "from Maine to Hawaii," because the fair housing bill applied to all 50 states.

Mr. Roberts was asked to analyze numerous issues, though, often under very tight deadlines, and while he was a careful thinker and writer, the time pressures occasionally led to minor blots.

In a proposed response to a letter from Gov. Bob Graham of Florida about the disposition of Cuban refugees from the Mariel boatlift of 1980, he repeatedly misspelled Marielitos (writing "Marielitoes") and rendered the capital of Cuba three times as "Havanna."

HA! The stickler for accuracy misspelled (repeatedly misspelled) at least two words during his time as counsel to the President of the United States. Perhaps the authors of this strange piece -- John Broder and Carolyn Marshall -- will quickly come to realize how poorly these remarks reflect upon them as "journalists." I'm not holding my breath, though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Somber Prelude

Fifteen years ago today, I heard the bad news on the way home from work. I found a payphone, called the hotline, and listened as the voice on the other end confirmed that the band had indeed "lost a brother in music." I then called a friend to commiserate.

In retrospect, this was the day that marked the beginning of a long and gentle decline. Sure, there was plenty of greatness left in the boys, but true greatness -- the transcendent evenings -- would henceforth arrive only in spurts. The spurts were longer at first. By the end, they were as a first kiss -- unforgettable, but fleeting.

Brent's whisky-soaked voice and angry Hammond B3 would be sorely missed for the remaining five years. Hornsby was great, but never quite blended as seemlessly as Brent. It never seemed (to me, at least) as though Hornsby cared too much about the band, as opposed to fulfilling some of his personal fantasies. He remained an outsider on the inside. (My feeling here is also informed by the many knives Hornsby has since thrust into the back of the Dead's legacy). And, as much as I tried to like him, Vince was a terribly poor choice -- he was at his beginning what Keith was at his end, at least in terms of presence. He too would act out in very strange ways after the wheels came off for good.

In any event, 15 years today. We all have terrific memories though. Brent sure could fuck up the henhouse (d1t02).

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Of course, this is prelude to another gut-wrenching anniversary that is fast approaching.

. . . And the wind began to howl . . .

Monday, July 25, 2005

Nothing Is Sacred

As a resident of the Great State of Pennsylvania, I feel compelled to comment on the follies of our Lt. Governor, Catherine Baker Knoll, who crashed the military funeral of a fallen serviceman to make anti-war remarks and hand out business cards (i.e. troll for new Democrats). No, I'm not joking:
The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war.

* * *

In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives." Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll." She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

There's not much more to do than state the obvious -- this is a most shameful display. I'll only add that to the extent Baker Knoll held aspirations of higher office, she can now give them up. Pennsylvania may have voted Blue in the last Presidential election, but a vast majority of the state will neither forgive or forget this manner of idiocy.

The latest is that Governor Rendell has apologized for the Baker Knoll's noxious intrusion. Baker Knoll unsurprisingly continues to lay low, proving that she is indeed a gutless wonder.

The honorable Sgt. Goodrich's story can be found here.

Along with others, Ryhmes with Right, BlackFive and LargeBill are disgusted.

Baker Knoll also makes an appearance in today's Day-by-Day (the strip can also be seen today, and every day, at the very bottom of my blog). Although now corrected, Muir really botched the facts. But I love him anyway.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


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Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Ending of an Era

The photo below is of Lance Armstrong about 25 meters past the finish of today's final individual TT in St. Ettienne. Armstrong is captured in the photo coasting after the last pedal strokes he will ever turn in anger. (OLN posts video of the final minute here). Sure, there's a final stage into Paris tomorrow, but the stage is a processional, not a contested race (well, at least as far as riders other than McEwen, Hushovd, and O'Grady, who will battle over the last handful of Green Jersey Points, are concerned). And if the peloton is in the mood to make tomorrow even more memorable, the line will be ceded to Armstrong (provided the intermediate sprints settle the Green, which is likely) in respect of the greatest Patron the Tour has ever known (do note I say the Tour -- Merckx is far and away the greatest champion the sport has ever known), and may well ever know.

I've been a rabid fan of the Tour for as long as I can remember. My first recollection is of watching, as a 6-year-old, tape-delayed footage of the Cannibal Eddy Merckx winning his last of 5 Tours in 1974. Since then, I've seen Hinault and the Big Mig each win 5 Tours. I watched as LeMond won 3 Tours, including perhaps the greatest Tour ever in 1989, defeating Laurent Fignon by all of 8 seconds. I also saw Fignon win 2 Tours in his own right, as did Bernard Thevenet. And I've seen Joop Zoetemelk, Lucian van Impe, the Irishman Steven Roche, Pedro Delgado, the Great Dane Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich, and the Pirate Marco Pantani, each win a single meeting of the most grueling sporting event in which humans dare compete.

Tomorrow, Armstrong will run off his seventh straight Tour victory. And during the 146 days in the saddle so far -- spanning 141 Stages & 5 Prologues -- I never saw him bonk, not even when he dehydrated so badly during an individual TT virtually any other competitor would have died . . . quite literally. A very far cry from his abandon on a miserable wet day in July 1996, mere months before he would be diagnosed with testicular cancer that had metastasized into his gut, lungs and brain.

I cannot begin to express the strange mix of emotions that I will experience tomorrow, and that I experienced throughout today's TT, especially as Lance charged to the line marking (perhaps . . . ) the final victory of his career. How many times has Lance done things on his bike that have made the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight? I can't begin to count. I can't even list them. Simply stated, it is impossible to put into words the shape of the thrill his determination over the past seven years has given to me. I will miss him next year. But the Tour goes on. For there is always room for another champion. Viva le Tour.

Thanks, Lance!

Falling Box Office

Hollywood has recently experienced a protracted and unprecendented box office slump. Some suggest the problem is the result of the increasing affordability of terrific home theater setups and the historic ascendency of the DVD. Although that explanation certainly accounts for my absence from the over-priced, ad- infested mileiu that is the modern movie theater, it may be that Wizbang has hit on the real problem. Seems everyone's seen it all before. A little originality might go a long way . . .

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Chait Hate

The author of "The Case for Bush Hatred," pulls himself from the septic tank long enough to pen a column taking the POTUS to task for exercising. Chait hyperventilates that Bush's penchant for working out actually "borders on the creepy."
Given the importance of his job, it is astonishing how much time Bush has to exercise. His full schedule is not publicly available. The few peeks we get at Bush's daily routine usually come when some sort of disaster prods the White House Press Office to reveal what the president was doing "at the time." Earlier this year, an airplane wandered into restricted Washington air space. Bush, we learned, was bicycling in Maryland. In 2001, a gunman fired shots at the White House. Bush was inside exercising. When planes struck the World Trade Center in 2001, Bush was reading to schoolchildren, but that morning he had gone for a long run with a reporter. Either this is a series of coincidences or Bush spends an enormous amount of time working out.

* * *
My guess is that Bush associates exercise with discipline, and associates a lack of discipline with his younger, boozehound days. "The president," said Fleischer, "finds [exercise] very healthy in terms of … keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind." The notion of a connection between physical and mental potency is, of course, silly. (Consider all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood — or, perhaps, the president himself.) But Bush's apparent belief in it explains why he would demand well-conditioned economic advisors and Supreme Court justices.

Bush's insistence that the entire populace follow his example, and that his staff join him on a Long March — er, Long Run — carries about it the faint whiff of a cult of personality. It also shows how out of touch he is. It's nice for Bush that he can take an hour or two out of every day to run, bike or pump iron. Unfortunately, most of us have more demanding jobs than he does.
Funny, but I remember the press falling all over itself to cover Clinton's morning jogs and coveting Presidential running invitations. Clinton, after all, is the fellow who installed the Presidential running track. Seems that, as ever, what's good for the goose is creepy for the gander.

Oh well, I suppose it is heartening that this is the very best the Left can come up with these days. Would that someone could attack me for being able to run seven minute miles and bench press 185. Gone are the days, so very gone . . .

And She's a Chubby Bitch

Today's WaPo contains a disgraceful Robin Givhan column in the Style section wherein Givhan attacks John Roberts's wife and kids for the sin -- get this -- of wanting to look nice on the biggest day of Mr. Roberts's life.
There they were -- John, Jane, Josie and Jack -- standing with the president and before the entire country. The nominee was in a sober suit with the expected white shirt and red tie. His wife and children stood before the cameras, groomed and glossy in pastel hues -- like a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers.
Well, Ms. Givhan, judging by the atrocity you poured yourself into for this photo, one might be tempted to forgive your criticism of Mrs. Roberts. After all, it's hard to take too seriously a fashion columnists that runs around with her slip dangling beneath a dress that appears a size too small around the paunch.

See Michelle's piece, too. Michelle links to this skanky photo of Alexandria Kerry flaunting her tiny tits . . . if one could be said to "flaunt" something so, well, let's just say that Alexandra's tits weren't made for flaunting. One wonders if Givhan would have preferred Mrs. Roberts to dress herself and her children like pole dancers. It was certainly good enough for Alexandra.

I wonder if she whinnies in bed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday Morning Sing-a-Long

To the tune of Land of Hope and Glory:
We Love Nottingham Forrest,
We Love Liverpool, too . . .
We Love Leeds & Everton
Even Manchester Will Do
God Save the Queen. And if he don't, the lads might just give it a go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Did it strike you that Bush was smirking, indeed, trying to keep from laughing out loud, as he introduced John Roberts last night? Well, he most certainly was. You go, boy -- represent! My kids have embarassed me in all sorts of circumstances, but never (at least not yet) in the White House . . .

Anne's Rovian Strategy?

Anne Coulter may or may not think Judge Roberts will make a good SCOTUS Justice. She sure says she doesn't think so. But who really knows? One thing's for certain, if her complaints are taken at face value, Roberts's confirmation has perhaps become even more certain. Surely, many folks -- the Moveon Left for instance -- are likely to view Anne's complaints as an indication that, as bad as the Roberts nomination might seem at the moment, things could be worse. Better, they might conclude, to confirm Roberts than to give Bush a second bite of the apple -- a shot at nominating a replacement judge who would pass Anne's test. Of course, heavily figuring into this calculaus would be the fact that Borking a second consecutive nominee in a Republican Senate would be even harder than Borking the first. Especially so with the so-called 'nuclear option' in play.

So what's Anne really up to with this piece? Is she greasing the skids for Roberts's confirmation by attempting to goad the opposition into concluding the enemy of their enemy must be their friend . . . or at least a bit better than any likely alternative? Or does she have a legitimate beef with Roberts? Given Anne's level of smarts, her respect for certain individuals who strongly recommend Roberts (e.g., Starr), and her willingness to look a bit frothy at the mouth in the service of her principles, I wouldn't at all be surprised if she's running some sort of interference. It's all so very Rovian. And by that, I mean tactically flawless.

Of course, there's always the possibility that we're looking at a strategy spawned by the Evil One himself. Forward a loss-leading nomination and grudgingly allow the nominee to be Borked by filibuster. Follow up with a nomination of Edith Jones or other so-called extremist nominee and couple the nomination with a threat to this time use the nuclear option if an up-or-down vote is again refused.

Now I see why DailyKos is so popular -- tin-foil hat theories are kinda fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Justice Roberts

I do very much like the sound of that. This is a great nomination -- one that is sure to cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth in large part because there is virtually no way to stall confirmation. Roberts is a lawyer's lawyer and, for a change, truly is the best candidate for the job. Further, there is little chance that this nominee is another Kennedy in Bork's clothing; Roberts is, as Ken Starr atests, the real deal. In the end, the Court will shortly become much more representative of the country. Funny that it took the nomination of a white male . . . (and here's a tip of the hat to POTUS for having the balls to nominate a white male -- despite the stated expectations of his wife(!))

I'm very much looking forward to the fools that those on the left will assuredly be making of themselves over the coming months. As the folks at Polipundit is fond of saying, elections do matter (and, as fate would have it, they say so in the post linked below). Background on Roberts here (SCOTUSBlog) and here (AP). Michelle weighs in here. The puppy-blending Instapundit's instathoughts over here. Some general discussion at the Conspiracy. Poli and crew also can't wait for the wailing.

More: NARAL has already posted a form letter by which you can let your Senator know that:
If Roberts is confirmed to a lifetime appointment, there is little doubt that he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. As Deputy Solicitor General under the first President Bush, he argued to the Supreme Court that "Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled…."
Snooze. In any event, the language NARAL quotes as evidence of Roberts's views on abortion are drawn from a brief he signed (as the sixth lawyer) while working in the Solicitor General's office. In other words, he was stating the administration's position, not his own (but here's hoping!). But then why should anyone expect a measure intellectual honesty from NARAL.

AP attributes the following quote to Roberts, which, I suppose came up in either the 1991 or the 2001 confirmation process:
Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. ... There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent.
Of course, unlike seats on the D.C. Circuit, seats on the SCOTUS are not necessarily restricted to applying "fully and faithfully" SCOTUS precedent . . .

Schumer's comments (as summarized by Michelle Malkin) are, in large measure, contemptible. But so is Schumer, so no surprise here:
There is no question that Judge Roberts has outstanding legal credentials. [But] only 2 years on the D.C. Circuit court...many of his personal views "unknown." It is his obligation during the nomination process to know those views. The burden is on the nominee to prove that he is worthy. I voted against him [ed -- for the D.C. Circuit] because he did not answer questions openly.
Why, one is tempted to ask, are a Justice's "personal views" relevant? Answer: They're not, unless one naturally expects a judge to decide cases based on personal views instead of legal requirements. I guess we know where Schumer is on that issue . . .

FYI: Hewitt is on until midnight eastern tonight talking about the nomination. Listen live by hitting the "listen live" button at KSKY.

Still more: Here's an AP roundup of immediate reaction.

United States v. Philip Morris, et al.

Today, the United States asked the Supreme Court to overrule the D.C. Circuit's conclusion that the limited equitable relief provisions of the RICO statute (a statute originally enacted to combat organized crime) withholds from district courts the otherwise ordinary equitable remedy of disgorgement. Based on RICO's structure, language, and history, the D.C. Circuit concluded that only RICO's criminal provisions provide for such a remedy. Of course, in the criminal context, such a remedy may be imposed only after the requirements of the criminal law, such as guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, have been satisfied. The government's cert. petition, and a brief discussion can be found here.

As a rule, I generally do not blog cases in which I am or have been involved. Even though I have been in this case on behalf of one of the defendants (but am not currently involved), I will bend that general rule just far enough to say that, in my view, the question presented on this petition is terribly important -- not only for the current defendants, from whom the government seeks to extract $145 billion, but also for other industries who, given the virtually limitless malleability of the RICO statute, may easily find themselves in similar circumstances. I tend to think the Court is somewhat likely to hear this case, and anticipate that, if it does, the decision will prove to be one of the more interesting of the October 2005 Term.

And Good Riddance

Today's feel-good story comes from the Tampa Tribune, amusingly headlined "Patriot Elects to Move to France." A side-slapping snippet:
REDINGTON BEACH - Bobbi Bowman is chucking it all and moving to France today.

She's doing what celebrities such as film director Robert Altman and the late Kennedy-era press secretary Pierre Salinger vowed back in 2000 when they said they would move to the country that inspired "freedom fries" if voters put George W. Bush back in office.

* * *

Why are you leaving the United States?

After the election, I just felt very depressed. ... I was suddenly mad at the United States -- or the 51 percent of the United States that voted for Bush.

When did decide to go?

It was in the middle of November. I thought, "Maybe I need to do this," because I didn't want to watch the news and I didn't want to read the papers. ...

Before, I felt kind of responsible, because I always felt kind of like, if you're a citizen, you should try to do something. But I did really try hard to do something, and now I don't feel like there is anything meaningful I can do.

Did it encourage you that almost half the population voted against Bush?

No. It seemed to be that those Bush's views were such radical, strange views, that 10 percent, possibly, of the population would have been what I would think would be in this right-wing fundamental, crazy mode.

How long will you stay in France?

I could possibly come back in three years and see if I think there's something worthwhile to try.
Would that more who made the promise to leave the country upon Bush's reelection would have the determination to stand by their words. Bye-Bye, Bobbie. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Feel it? This great country is an even better place to be.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Now that's Governance!

The federal jury hearing parts of the Cheetah scandal in San Diego today returned convictions for two city councilmen. I have searched past news stories and city webpages, but have yet to definitively establish the party affiliation of either interim Mayor Michale Zucchet or Councilman Ralph Inzunza. The lack of evidence on this point can only be treated as conclusive evidence that they run with a (D) after their name. Their records (err, voting, that is, not criminal) provide confirmation.

Funny, but Zucchet is, for the moment, serving as interim Mayor because the previous Mayor, Dick Murphy, stepped down in view of another federal probe into handling of the city's pension fund. The article openly frets over the prospect that Murphy's grand "accomplishments" will be forgotten with the probe into how $1.4 billion went missing from the city's pension fund. Ya think?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Oh Dear Lord

Now the U.N. -- yes, the organization that brought you the $6 Billion Oil-for-Food scandal -- wants to exercise control over management of the internet. $100 to the first person who can come up with an idea for internet management that is legitimately worse than handing off control the the U.N.* Anyone think I'll have to pay off? Didn't think so. Criminy, what next?

*The relative "badness" of any given idea to be determined in my sole discretion . . .


Mike Rosen reprints an interesting discussion conducted via the letter-to-the-editor section of the Arizona Republic (via Lucianne). Although I am sure that Mr. MacRae's humiliation is complete, I do wonder what on earth inspires someone to spend his time writing such a petty letter in the first place. Sure, it's the kind of thing one might think about for a second or two while taking offense at something or another, but one usually concludes (rightly) that it's simply not worth the time or effort. Indeed, I used to fantasize about bringing a class action lawsuit against the self-important idiots who cut into the long line for 395 South in D.C.'s 9th Street tunnel. Unlike Mr. MacRae, I never sat down to draft a complaint, though. In any event, consider this something of a humorous send-off into another muggy July weekend. God, I can't wait until October . . .

Here's My Question

For all CAIR's handwringing and doomsaying in the wake of the September 11 and anthrax attacks about the alleged anti-Muslim backlash in America, does anyone remember a story even remotely akin to this one out of Britain?
Plans by an alliance of rightwing extremists and football hooligans to exact "revenge" on Muslims after last week's bomb attacks are being monitored by police.

The Guardian has learned that extremists are keen to cause widespread fear and injury with attacks on mosques and high-profile "anti-Muslim" events in the capital.

Football hooligans communicating over the internet have spoken of the need to put aside partisan support for teams and unite against Muslims. Hooligans from West Ham, Millwall, Crystal Palace and Arsenal are among those seeking to establish common cause.
Of course not. Why? Because, of course, there was no such backlash, despite the best efforts of the professionally aggrieved to make things appear otherwise.

Although unpopular (which, by the way, doesn't make it any less true) my take is that until Muslims and their leaders act to condemn these atrocities in clear terms that brook no ambiguity, this is what things will come to in the end. Crap like this isn't going to cut it. I'd comment on the "sassy" terrorists, but Scott at the Daily Ablution has already done the work. Don't miss the interesting update concerning the life's work of His Inimitable Sassiness -- hint: it unsurprisingly concerns exhortations to "kill [Jews] wherever you find them."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8

Another pretentious confabulation where millionaires (and billionaires) will relentlessly dun our governments to cancel Africa's mammoth (and squandered) debt and generously subsidize its fiscal debauchery via the IMF. Of course, the IMF to be funded by -- you guessed it -- tax increases on people like you and me. Lost in all the pomp is the simple, yet intentionally unasked, question: Why should anyone do anything to help Africa? It's not like Africa has fought to help itself. No, with Mugabe earning the international 'peace' community's praise for his unchecked racism (let us not forget Mugabe fancies himself, as he says, the African Hitler); with the ethnic slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan, etc.; with the limitless corruption of Nigeria; with an AIDS epidemic born of rampant stupidity; ad infinitum, why should anyone give a dime to further enrich and embolden the hopelessly sinister kleptocrats of the African continent? Good grief. Live 8 -- you've got to be kidding me.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Let the Battle Begin

Sandra Day O'Conner has officially stepped down after nearly 24 years on the high court. Based on the record of the last ten years, one could say, without much hyperbole, that the United States Supreme Court has retired. Indeed, O'Conner's vote was, in more high profile cases than one can count, the only vote that mattered, and practitioners before the court's bar worked until the wee small hours honing their arguments in an effort to capture that single vote.

For conservatives desirous of a court that can finally throw off the mischievious tendencies of the Warren Court -- a legacy whose dead hand has guided SCOTUS jurisprudence for nearly half-a-century -- it is vitally important that the President nominate a jurist who does not believe in the unerring efficacy of the "balancing test." Although we will surely hear much about the future of that constitutional abomination, Roe v. Wade, to my mind, the future of the balancing test is far more important. Although well suited for certain types of judicial inquiry, e.g., abstention, procedural matters, etc., it is a test that is perfectly pernicious in its application to substantive constitutional questions such as establishment clause and cruel and unusual punishment cases. In short, the balancing test (or factor-based analysis) is an invitation, if not a command, for Justices to supplant the will of elected officials with their own opinions of how civil society should be structured and regulated.

O'Conner's retirement removes from the picture the ostensibly "conservative" Justice perhaps most prone to falling prey to the intellectual laziness inherent in application of the various balancing tests. It is duly noted, though, that, during the course of this last term, Justice Kennedy has given O'Conner quite a run for her money and, going forward, may well prove an even greater impediment to the renewed ascendency of rigorous judicial inquiry.

I respect O'Conner and, in the main, believe she has aquitted herself well on the Court. That conclusion, though, is premised on the fact that the vast majority of cases reaching the Court do not implicate the constitutional issues that so capture the attention of an ill-prepared public. With regard to that small subset of the Court's work, O'Conner's tenure has been marginal at best, and a disaster at worst. With any luck, the President will nominate a successor who will be as effective as O'Conner with regard to the real core of the Court's work, and far more effective with regard to the high-profile constitutional cases.

Lastly, do note that, just before the end of the October 2004 Term, the Court accepted for review Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (04-1144), a case in which the issue presented is whether the 1st Circuit erred when it struck down New Hampshire's parental notification law as unconstitutional . . .

Ongoing discussions at:

How Appealing
The Conspiracy
The Corner

Follow the battle at the SCOTUS Nomination Blog and Confirm Them.